You can always find Turkish products abroad or, due to the confluence of different cultures throughout history, you’ll find variations of them in different countries. However, there are a few items from specific shops that you can only find in Turkey.
Hand-Painted Iznik Ceramics
If you’ve ever been to any of the imperial mosques around Turkey, it’s likely you have seen the beautiful dark red and turquoise hues of the famous Iznik tiles. Even though the Iznik tiles lived out their heyday during the Ottoman Empire, the tradition still continues and there are only a few places that sell real hand-painted Iznik ceramic. Definitely drop by Iznik Art in the Grand Bazaar to get your hands on some genuine hand-painted ceramics.
Baklava is a dessert that is popular in many Middle Eastern cultures and can therefore be frequently found outside Turkey. However, Bilgeoğlu’s amazing kuru baklava, made with pistachios from Gaziantep and clarified butter can only be found on Istanbul’s Asian side. You’ll know you’ve come to the right place when you see the large stack of baklavas in the window. Caferağa Mahallesi, Nailbey Sokak No.3/C, Kadıköy, Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey is not the only country in the world that is famous for its beautiful textiles, but only Turkey has Tulu, an amazing shop with a myriad of exceptionally colorful goods. From bedding with swirling and curling prints of brightly-colored flowers to soft and beautiful kimonos and pijamas, Tulu is a haven for people who love color in their home décor.
Turkish coffee is another product that can be found in many other countries, however, it’s only in the vicinity of the Grand Bazaar that you can buy the Turkish coffee of Nuri Toplar. Established in 1890, not much has changed in terms of the excellent Turkish coffee that Nuri Toplar roasts with wood fire, giving it that exceptional taste.
Fes Cafe- Abdulla Natural, Istanbul | Courtesy of Abdulla Natural Products
The Turkish bath has also become quite ubiquitous all over the world, and products such as the thin hamam towels (peshtemal) or the special olive oil soap can also be found all over. However, it’s only in the Grand Bazaar that you can find the all-natural products of Abdulla, including hand woven pesthemal from a mix of raw silk, linen, and cotton, and handmade natural soaps.
Speaking of amazing towels, Jennifer’s Hamam in the Arasta Bazaar is another stop to buy beautiful fluffy towels and peshtemal that are made from organic cotton. Established by the Canadian-born Jennifer Gaudet, the store is proud to work with some of the last families that continue the tradition of Turkish hand-weaving.
Turkey is one of the countries in the world that is famous for its carpets, and Ethnicon and Dhoku are two stores (under the same management) where you can find some of the best examples. Whether you want a traditional design or something a bit modern, the two stores right across from each in the Grand Bazaar have been around for years, adding a very Turkish touch to homes all over the world.
Turkish Delight can be found all over the world, but it’s only at Hacı Bekir that you get to travel back in time, because the store in Sultanahmet hasn’t changed much since its opening in 1777. Decked out in deep mahogany and with classic displays of Turkish candy, get a bag of mixed Turkish hard candy (Akide) as well as pistachio or almond marzipan, and, of course, a nice box of Turkish Delight.