The Spice Bazaar of Istanbul is a pretty magical place, whether or not you enjoy cooking. Established in 1660, you immediately feel the history of it all. The sights, the smells of all the spices and teas, the sounds of vendors trying to lure you into their shops, all of it’s been happening for hundreds of years. But how does one choose which spicery to frequent among all the choices to be found there?
Saffron, teas, and other spices
There are a variety of reasons I chose Ucuzcular Spices. In no particular order, here they are!
First, the staff of Ucuzcular Spices are wonderful. I had never thought of doing a spice tasting, but now that I have, I can’t recommend it enough. The staff will guide through their products, focusing predominantly on their range of spice blends, for which these knowledgeable people will suggest recipes, uses, and pairings. You get so much more from tasting then you do just smelling the spices, and you’ll get to try ones you may otherwise overlook!
Next, I have to recommend them because of how convenient they make it for travellers! Tell the staff how much of a spice you want, and they’ll weigh it out and vacuum seal it for you for easy transport. That let me buy way more than I had anticipated being able to (clever strategy, come to think of it). For that matter, they also sell a lot of their products online if you’re looking to keep your luggage light.
Most importantly, you should go to Ucuzcular for the products. Walking into Ucuzcular, you are immediately struck at the sheer variety of what they offer. Your senses are almost overwhelmed by it. In addition to all the spices and spice blends, they also carry salts (edible and for your bath), perfumes, oils, nuts, dried fruits, teas, and Turkish delight of all varieties. I can only speak for the spice blends, the vanilla pods, and the cinnamon sticks I bought, but they’re all incredible.
In the end, you don’t even have to take my word for it. The shop is always busy, and Martha Stewart herself has frequented Ucuzcular Spices, among countless others. And ultimately, the product will speak for itself.
Have you discovered a shop that you couldn’t wait to rave about when you got home?