Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Exploring Üsküdar's Historic Fish Market

Üsküdar's Historic Fish Market;
Fishmongers shout to the customers
what is on offer.
It adds to the fun.
There were so many kinds of fish,
yet I wanted to use the kind
I was most familiar with.
Where were the salmon fillets?
I saw just one lonely salmon fillet
on display.
When I said what I wanted,
the fishmonger urged me
to go behind the counter.
I did as told, not understanding.
The other fishmonger opened up
the deep freeze and went in.
Will this do?
I almost screamed
it was so fun
to see that giant fish.
A memory of watching
Martha Stewart videos
with my oldest child
came rushing back to me.
It was before Martha
became really big.
We marveled that Martha
would buy and handle
a gigantic salmon
in her kitchen.
She bought the entire fish??
We admired Martha
risking all that money
preparing one gigantic salmon. 
What if it didn't turn out right
when she cooked it?
Martha was thinking big,
obviously.
The fishmonger thought
I was German.
In my imperfect Turkish,
I tried to say,
"I'm not German, I'm American."
But like all language learners everywhere,
it wasn't exactly right.
Apparently, I said:
"The German doesn't exist!"
Custom-cut fillets.
I felt so lucky,
and so full of anticipation
to enjoy my own cooking.
I wanted to take advantage
of Turkey's incredible
nut crop
and make
pistachio-encrusted salmon.
Later, after I had my wrapped salmon fillets from the fish market, I went to the nut shop to buy fresh pistachio meats. I was asking questions in slow Turkish about the various kinds of pistachios.

A Turkish man barged into the shop, shouted out his order, oblivious to the fact that I was ordering. The shopkeeper switched to the new, louder patron. "Men get waited on before women in Turkey, even if the woman was first?" I asked, after the man left.

"Maalesef (unfortunately)," the shopkeeper replied. I said 'no thank you' to placing my order with him and took my small request (1/4 kilo) to the shopkeeper's competitor across the street.

"Roasted pistachio nuts please," I ordered in Turkish. The man reached inside a heated drawer and scooped up the warm nuts into a paper bag for me. It was so satisfying to take my business there. I swear the pistachios tasted better for the lack of sexism!
My meal turned out so well!
Martha would be proud, I think.
My finished dinner
of pistachio-encrusted salmon
and Mediterranean bakla,
pine-nuts & herbs
(Bakla is Turkey's version
of green beans).

Shopping the Üsküdar fish market
was a fun experience.
And delicious too!



Interested in other posts about homemade food in Istanbul?
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9 comments:

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the Uskadar Market! We lived in Uskadar for a month last summer and found the whole area to be charming and so 'old world.' It was like stepping back into time. Your posting made me feel homesick!

Backto Bodrum said...

I'm going to look for a whole salmon too - i sense a month of gravid lax in front of us.

Karen said...

Back to Bodrum, that sounds wonderful!

Karen said...

Unknown (1st commenter), I'm glad you were able to experience Istanbul for a month, although one month would never be enough!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite spots in town---and your pistachio-encrusted salmon fillets look delicious! Thanks for sharing this useful and tasty post.

Turkey Tour Packages From India said...

Beautiful Images Dear... Nice Post….. I Like Your Post…..

Karen said...

Thank you, both!

Joy said...

Wow! I actually never had that happen to me when we lived in Istanbul, but Uskudar is a much more conservative neighborhood. Generally, all the sellers were like "abla, buyrun" all the time. Good for standing your ground! :-) And the fish looks yummy!

Karen said...

Thanks for your comment, Joy! Most of the time that's exactly how Turkish customer service is: terrific.

 
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