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March 11, 2009
The air is redolent of musty walls, mixed with spices from Istanbul’s Egyptian bazaar. Here, we find huge sacks filled with turmeric, sumac, and a myriad of ground black, white, green, and red pepper. My favorite comes from the Turkish town of Urfa. Burgundy in color, this pepper has a sweet spiciness and an oily texture that dissolves on the tongue.
Next to the spice dealers, there are sweet shops: Turkish delight, baklava, and traditional ice cream, stretched and rolled like fudge but thicker.
Men walk around with Turkish sesame-covered bagels called simit stacked on their heads. These are thinner, bigger and more pretzel like (although not in shape) than the kind we’re familiar with.
I quaff a fresh pomegranate juice. Push cart dealers entice passersby with ears of corn and large dill pickles.
How do you like to spice up your life?
We reach our destination, the Chor Bazaar. Literally, the name means “thieves market,” but the merchants insist that it’s a perversion of the Urdu word “shor” which means “noisy.”