Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Market in Ürgüp.


I
woke up this morning in Ürgüp to see a light dusting of snow on the ground outside my hotel window. The mountains in the distance were snow capped. Seeing the view reminded it is winter.

I had no real plans for the day; I was just going to play by ear.

After breakfast, I headed out - walking towards the town center which was probably about 6 km away. It was a beautiful day - sunny with a slight chill in the air.

While I was doing some window shopping, a man walked up to me - what started as the the usual tourist/local chit chat ended with him giving me very rough directions to the local Saturday market. Without a map to guide me, all I had were my instincts and vague recollection of the "left here, right turn after....? two blocks past....?" directions the kind gentleman had given me to try and figure out how to get to the market. And then I saw them.....bunches of people walking with bags of stuff in the hands. I walked in the direction they were coming from and sure enough, I eventually stumbled on the market. First up were all the household goods and clothing. Nothing that really holds any interest for me....at least not the foodie in me :-)




























I quickly scurried past all the household stuff and was rewarded with the view of fresh veggies and fruits piled high atop wooden tables.















The sights and sounds of the Saturday market Ürgüp were a typical of many an open air market I've been to. Vendors were shouting out what they have for sale; buyers were wandering among the tables clutching bags of produce. I was in heaven...this is my kind of place.




























Alongside the stalls selling fresh vegetables, there were a few selling dried vegetables. I learned that the Turkish use dried vegetables in their cooking - the vegetables are rehydrated and are often stuffed with some sort of a filling. I've never eaten a dish made with the rehydrated veggies but I can imagine that they lend a very intense flavor to the dish. Every now and again, one of them would offer up a sample.....of course, I indulged. This charming boy tempted me with dried berries. I had no idea what they were but they were mighty tasty and I ended up buying a half kilo from him. When I got back home, I found out from my friend Serra that what I had bought were dried mulberries or dut ("doot") in Turkish.





















And what would a market be without food. Even though I had already had breakfast, I could not resist buying a simit. The first time I tasted one was in Istanbul with Lei. That simit tasted like a day old bagel that had been left out to dry. This simit was the perfect mouthful of freshly baked bread warm and soft tasting every bit like it had just come out of the oven.




I munched on the simit as I walked through the market, soaked in the atmosphere and got lost in my thoughts about how I was going to spend the rest of my day. Along the way I picked up some spices from one the vendors. I wish I could start every Saturday morning like this.