JennifHsieh is a space for my rambling thoughts and snaps of my everyday style. I'm based in Astoria, Queens and I share a home with my two derpy cats and my equally derpy fiancé.

The Turkey Diaries: Spice Bazaar & Grand Bazaar

Our second day in Istanbul, Jeremy and I decided to take some time to expore the Fatih District, which encompasses much of historic Constantinople. We wanted to save all of the touristy stuff for our last day in Istanbul (everything was closed due to the New Year's Eve holiday) so we decided to explore the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar.

To get to our destination, we had to walk across the Galata Bridge which spans the Golden Horn. Walking along the Galata Bridge itself is an adventure. If you walk underneath the bridge you pass by a plethora of seafood shops. I highly recommend you stop at the last restaurant and pick up a fish sandwich for 5 TL. Completely worth every single lira (and it makes for great hangover food). If you choose the main upper level walkway, it's always crowded with fishermen at all times of the day. No matter which pathway you choose, if you're walking toward the Fatih District you get the most stunning view of the New (Yeni) Mosque.

After filling our stomachs with our delicious fish sandwiches, we headed toward the Spice Bazaar. I really wish I took more pictures inside (instead of just the entrance) but I was too distracted by all the Turkish men trying to wife me. Being Asian, I was obviously a tourist, which resulted in a lot of shop owners yelling out "Konichiwa!" in order to attract my attention. It doesn't matter that I'm not even Japanese. If I ever need to find a husband quickly, I'll be sure to return to the Spice Bazaar and make my rounds.

The Spice Bazaar was definitely my favorite of the two Bazaars in Istanbul. It's way smaller with only around 88 shops but it was still bustling with various spices, teas, and dried fruits to lend some vibrancy to the atmosphere. It's still currently the center for spice trade in Istanbul

Our next stop was the Grand Bazaar, which is one of the largest covered markets in the world with thousands of shops and hundres of thousands of daily visitors. Construction of the bazaar began in 1455 and was finally completed in 1730. I loved looking up at the ceiling to see all of the old architecture which included beautiful brickwork and tile-covered ceilings. It's said that the Grand Bazaar was built to reduce the possibility of theft since they could shut the gates to the shopping center when it was closed.

I was incredibly tempted to buy almost everything I saw except for the fact that, being a tourist hot spot, everything is overpriced.  Jeremy convinced me to wait until we got to the shops in Malatya, which is in the east of Turkey, an area far from being a tourist attraction. He actually knows a guy who used to work in the Grand Bazaar for a few years in a rug shop. Apparently they used to lay out rugs, wait for tourists to walk all over them, and then sell them as "antiques" to other customers. A clever, but extremely dishonest business tactic.

H&M Sweater (similar)
Vintage Patterned Skirt
Ruffle Loafers c/o Pink & Pepper

We spent the rest of the day wandering the surrounding area before settling down in a cafe for some Turkish coffees. I'm more fond of Turkish tea, but I love that you can read your fortune using the leftover residue from Turkish coffee. Once you finish slurping down your coffee, you turn the little cup upside down on the saucer and let it dry for a few minutes. Once everything is relatively dry, you can flip the cup right side up and have a friend "read" the coffee splotches on the inside of the cup. So much fun, although I always get too silly with the ones I tell. 


  1. Man, I would love to visit and
    shop at that Grand Bazaar! I
    love these kind of lamps, it
    gives such warmth and mystery!
    When I was in Istanbul, people
    over there asked if I was
    Korean or Japanese but never
    asked if I was Chinese... odd
    Anyway, lovely pictures!


  2. Ohmygoodness these photos are gorgeous! And your skirt! Love it all. :)

  3. What amazing photos of Istanbul! And love your vintage skirt :)

    The Other Side of Gray

  4. you guys looks super cute together :) looks like an amazing time. i would have wanted to buy everything there too!! :)

  5. so wanna hear something funny? my husband's family is armenian but grew up in turkey. so they always have turkish coffee after dinner. my husband and i have been together for almost 8 years...and i STILL have issues with drinking the coffee down far enough so i can flip it and have his mom try to read my fortune. i always end up with a mouth full of sludge...

    1. I totally feel you there! I always end up with so much sludge on my saucer after I flip it over (which my boyfriend strategically reads as "you'll have lots of wealth in the future"). :P

  6. Beautiful pictures, as always. I've been dreaming of going to Turkey for years!

  7. Those are amazing pics! So lucky to be traveling. Since I just graduated a semester early, I wanna travel too! But I have no money haha. Hope you are having lots of fun. =) Love the new header of your blog too!


  8. OH MY GOSH! These posts are to die for. I just take my time looking at all your little detail shots and the beautiful scenery. I try and imagine you walking around taking this photos, how great it must have been to be with Jeremy in this place! Ah! You look so happy in these photos, and I love love love your skirt and loafers.

  9. Beautiful pics. I love your outfit too

  10. omy.. your outfit here is perfect for the backdrop!!! it's like you fit right there! lovely lovely! :D
    i love how your photos always looks so rustic. plus, it seemed as if there was always something happening all around!! i love it! :D

    Click me for my NEW BLOG

  11. hahaha that's horrible! people just yelled konnichiwa at you and tried to wed you... well, in that case, let me woo you, Miss Jen. Konnichiwa... marry me? ;) DID IT WORK DID I WORK?

    Bahahaa. I love hearing about your adventures! These pictures are just so stunning (as usual, right?! yeah duh, you're amazing). Also, I love that skirt. It definitely puts you a bit into your Turkish environment. ;)

  12. Ahhh I love looking at all of your photos from Turkey – the architecture is really so beautiful! It sounds like you both had so so much fun, thank you for sharing about your adventures there. Also, I've never had Turkish tea -or- coffee, but you do make it sound appealing (:

  13. Loving your photos,always look so perfect! <3

  14. These photos of Turkey are stunning! I love the one with the lights. Stirring up the wanderlust in me :)

  15. Chanced upon your blog and enjoy reading it!

  16. This is aaaamazing, I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog! My cousin was just in Istanbul actually, but her pictures weren't half as gorgeous as yours. That Grand Bazaar sounds so cool, I'd just be wandering in there for hours

  17. Omg I can't tell you how much I love this post. The second picture with the fishing rods is stunning. And all the crazy trinkets! It reminds me of wandering in one tried to marry me there, but they did try to barter for ALL my clothes!
    Your new tag line should be:
    Jennifer Hsieh, MBA International Jet-Setting.

  18. What an adventure!!

    I feel like this whole setting is from a scene in a Bond/ Bourne movie :-)

  19. wow that's an amazing trip.. you're so lucky.
    i love those photos parade.


  20. Love your blog ! What about following each other? Also on bloglovin and fb if you want...just let me know :3 <3


  21. Hahaha it's funny how they are trying to get your attention by greeting you in Japanese! :P The Grand Bazaar looks really nice and festive! :D


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