Those who feel homesick now have a great alternative when they want the foods and items their grandparents grew up with: hometown markets. Thanks to these markets, you can find anything could you want from around the country.
You probably miss your hometown even though you've been away for quite awhile; you probably remember your town with joy and happiness. Sharing the same roots with others is a unique feeling; it is such a strong sentiment that the first question you may ask somebody you do not know is “where are you from?” People prefer their local tastes, culture, customs and foods when they move to a metropolitan city.
Luckily, there are several shops in this city featuring items and ingredients that will satisfy those who hail from Anatolia. The Malatya Bazaar, Siirt Bazaar, Urfa Bazaar and Antep bazaar, all located in İstanbul, are only a few of such places, where you can find local foods. If you are an expat, however, these will probably be very unique bazaars for you, featuring unfamiliar items that just may become your new favorites. These bazaars give you a chance to explore each region without leaving the city.
Apricots the favorite item at Malatya Bazaar
The Malatya Bazaar is one of the oldest places offering local foods in İstanbul. You may know of it already because of its wide range of products; the market offers 10 types of apricots alone; the prices are between TL 6 and 10 per kilo; apricots are so sought after here because Malatya is known as the home of this fruit. It should also be noted that dairy products are offered at the market as well. A number of different products are brought from Malatya for food lovers in Istanbul. The owner imports a special type of grape from Arapgir because of growing interest from homesick Malatyans. Fall is the best season for the Arapgir grape, whose price ranges between TL 6 to 10 per kilo. People look for it because it is believed to help those suffering from anemia. Hamdullah Aydoğa, owner of the Malatya Bazaar store, notes that his customers are pleased with the products sold at the market. “People get angry when the products are all sold out,” he added. A native of Malatya, Aydoğa said people miss local items and foods.
Pay a visit to Antep bazaar for pistachio sweets
Arzu Adıyaman, owner of the Antep Food Market, says people flow into her store when they notice she sells items and foods from Antep. A native Antepian, Adıyaman has been running this store in the Beylikdüzü district for three years. The product line includes the unique flavors of Antep. Homemade tomato paste is the most sought-after product at the store; people just love it. She says she even brings Antep cookies, if there is customer demand. Because of the extremely high demand for Antep baklava, it should be ordered well before religious festivals and holidays. A former housewife, Adıyaman tells the story of how she started her business: “For years, I have been traveling to my hometown. Every time I traveled to Antep, neighbors and relatives used to ask me to bring local delicacies back with me. Some time later, they told me I should start a business selling local foods. I thought, why not, and decided to open this place. People who are away from their homeland miss local foods. I am here to serve them and soothe their longing for local tastes.”
1,001 different foods at Kilis bazaar
The Kilis Local Food Store is frequently visited by food connoisseurs because of its lengthy list of local foods. The store offers 1,001 different products from Kilis, which is located on the Syrian border. You will be amazed by what is offered inside when you set foot in the store. There are dried eggplant, pepper, squash and gherkin skins dangling from strings for you to purchase. Everyone should note that 50 dried eggplants are only TL 6. But you should also recall that if you consider paying a visit to the store, you should bring much more money than the amount you think will be enough because you will want to buy more. All the products are 100 percent natural and homemade; they are made in Kilis and Antep and then taken to the store for sale. Erdal Başoğlu, who has been running the place for nine years, says he has customers from even the most remote parts of İstanbul. He further adds: “People do not like products sold at supermarkets. We offer the best local foods from Kilis and Antep.”
The Yöresel Food Store in Şirinevler offers a wide range of products from every part of Turkey. The products sold at the store include authentic Erzincan honey, Balıkesir and Gönen cheeses and Erzincan beans. Ahmet Ali Niyazi, the owner, says that most people prefer to avoid imported foods. Arguing that small shops will never go out of business just because of the influence of supermarkets, he further notes that people will continue to seek out local foods because of their taste. Noting that he has regular customers who come from as far away as İstanbul's Etiler region, Başoğlu says: “People don't like products in the markets anymore. We have the most natural and pure products, prepared in Kilis and Antep especially for our customers.”
Local foods are just one click away!
Regional foods attract such extensive interest that it is now possible to order traditional delicacies and local ingredients online. The artvinurunleri.com Web site offers foods from Artvin for those who want the local delicacies of this Black Sea city. The site sells corn flour, authentic chestnut honey, white potatoes and many other local foods. You should not think it is awkward to buy potatoes over the Internet; people love round white potatoes. Osman Albayrak, who runs the site, says that he is in this business to make sure that his fellow migrants have a taste of their homeland. If you are searching for access to your traditional local foods or if you are simply searching for authentic regional foods, flavors and ingredients, consider the following list of Web sites selling regional Turkish food online:
www.karadenizpazar.com and www.yoremstore.com
The Kilis Local Food Store: Çamlık Street. No: 26 C, Bahçelievler/Yayla,
İstanbul Tel: 0 212 539 50 60
Antep Food Market: Marmara Neighborhood, Hürriyet Boulevard, Street No. 1, No:3 Yakuplu/Beylikdüzü, İstanbul Tel: 0 212 879 02 60
Malatya Bazaar: Located across from the Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Education and Research Hospital in Bahçelievler, İstanbul.