Slideshow: Snapshots from Istanbul: Market Tour with Hande Bozdogan, Istanbul Culinary Institute

Hamsi Season
Hamsi Season
I love these tiny Black Sea fish.
Biber
Biber
Peppers are everywhere in Turkish cuisine; roasted peppers garnish just about every kebab or kofte plate you'll be served, for instance. The sign is an indication as to how spicy they are. (These, çok çok tatli, are "very, very sweet."
Igde
Igde
One of the few things at the market I'd just never seen before. They're a small, wrinkly fruit with a tough skin, and a big seed on the inside. But the flesh in the middle is dry and powdery—literally, it crumbles between your fingers, becoming the texture of pollen—with a faint taste that reminded me of dates and anise. "They're often served as bar snacks," said Bozdogan.
Fruit Leather
Fruit Leather
"Pestil" is essentially a fruit leather. Grapes, or mulberries or apricots or pomegranates, are pureed and sun-dried, studded with walnuts, pistachios, or almonds. (There's also a form that looks more like a sausage, with nuts in the center encased by fruit puree.)
Balkabağı
Balkabağı
These huge, light-exteriored pumpkins are known as "honey pumpkins" (bal = honey, kabağı = squash.) They'e pretty much only used for sweets—roasted in syrup, say.
Firik
Firik
A green durum wheat often made into a pilaf, though its taste is so intense it's generally cut with equal parts regular bulghur wheat.
Bananas
Bananas
Just about everything you'll see at the market is domestic—even bananas, which are grown in warmer regions of the country.
Grapes
Grapes
Some of the sweeter grapes I've ever had.
Pomegranates
Pomegranates
They're everywhere, they're cheap, they're so delicious.
Sea beans, samphire
Sea beans, samphire
Often served boiled and simply dressed with garlic, lemon, and olive oil.
Purple Carrots
Purple Carrots
The popular drink Şalgam is made from these guys—they're fermented with wheat and sugar, then juiced and spiced. A popular accompaniment to kebabs.
Jerusalem Artichokes
Jerusalem Artichokes
Another familiar popular vegetable.
Leeks
Leeks
And the leeks were massive, too...
Leek Transport
Leek Transport
So big you'd have to carry a bunch over your shoulder.
Borek Makings
Borek Makings
So many stores just sell one thing, so why are pastry and eggs? "They're all used to make borek," Bozdogan told us.
Chestnuts
Chestnuts
We saw chestnuts sold in 15 different barrels, with many of them priced differently. Why? When the nut is removed from its hairy burr...
Nuts
Nuts
... it's either removed by hand and polished (giving you the shiny ones on the left) or by machine, which leaves them dustier (right). They're priced according to size, too; bigger ones are more valuable.
Pickle Guy
Pickle Guy
Every market has one.
Spinach roots
Spinach roots
Other familiar vegetables are also served differently. The root end of these spinach bunches, for instance, can be braised and served as a vegetable dish.
Istavrit
Istavrit
Horse mackerel, very popular in Istanbul. "They're so popular," Bozdogan told us, "that Mavi, the jeans company, has a T-shirt with this fish on it."
Fresh white cheeses
Fresh white cheeses
Unaged cheeses are served everywhere, whether for breakfast, stuffed into borek or pide, garnishing salads, or any number of other ways.