Two things have the power to get my friends and me up before dawn: the prospect of offal for breakfast and food markets. The former is a custom in Southeastern Anatolia, but we were in Istanbul last Sunday, so it was the latter that got Semsa and I out of our beds and into a taxi bound for Kasımpaşa near the Golden Horn. We met Hande, Theo, Nikki and Oliver along the way and arrived at this special Sunday morning market with empty stomachs and high expectations.

We had all been hearing about this market for ages, but none of us had ever been. It is named for Kastamonu, a town in Turkey’s Black Sea region 250 mi (405 km) east of Istanbul. Kastamonu thrives off its biodiversity and vendors make the weekly trip to Turkey’s most populated city to sell their dairy products, honey, poultry, bread and produce.

The idea of locavore eating in Turkey is an implausible one, as over 16 million people live in Istanbul and communities, like Kastamonu, survive by producing food for the city. 250 miles is a relatively short distance to travel, considering some kebab shops I know import lambs from as far as Antep. So this long-distance commerce is essential to Turkey’s agricultural livlihood and the demand for products from Kastamonu keeps its incredible biodiverstiy alive and well. Here are some of the wonderful things we saw and tasted:

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Istanbul · Travel · Turkish Cuisine


  • MY friend Hande wanted to take me there on Sunday but I had to leave. Now that I have all the tourist stuff out of hte way in Istanbul I can focus on the more important things.

  • Ciao Katie, bellissime foto! noi frequentiamo il Kastamonu pazari da 3-4 anni, speriamo che continui a tenersi anche in futuro!

  • Is this a different to the Beyoglu Sunday Market that starts on Kalyoncu Kullugu Cd. and seems to go on for miles almost as far down as Taksim Sq below Tarlabasi?

    I went to one yesterday evening, but I don’t think it was the same one as the one in the post?

  • hey, this one isnt in beyoglu, it’s downhill, past tarlabasi in kasimpasa

    it’s outstanding. how long are you in IST?

  • I’m here teaching for 3 months and maybe longer, all depends really.

    Cool I’ll have to check it out next week, I basically live on the street but didn’t see it. I went right and looks like I should have gone downhill and left. Is it best to go quite early?

    The other market was incredible too, but seems to finish around 8/9.

  • ah that’s right! good for you! you live in kasimpasa? definitely get there before 8. for the best of the best, go no later than 630/7. pls report back:)

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