In recent years, renting a flat from platforms such as Airbnb has become increasingly popular. There is nothing more comfortable than having a larger space and more privacy to yourself which also includes a kitchen, with the added benefit of being able to cook your own food. This is a great option for families, people who are budget or health-conscious, and travelers who enjoy experiencing a country through its food. It comes with the added benefit of saving money on costly restaurants in tourist areas.
Visitors who are planning a longer stay will find that renting an apartment is a better option for saving money. When staying in a hotel, breakfast is normally included but there aren’t always facilities for cooking even basic meals. Plus, room service comes with steep fees and there may not be many dining options nearby. If you have a place to cook, you can easily prepare meals in advance and it saves you the hassle of trying to figure out where to eat and how it fits into your traveling schedule.
Where to Go Shopping
In Turkey there are various grocery shops to choose from. The largest are Migros and Carrefour, but there are also smaller and cheaper chains such as BIM, A101, and Şok. In addition to these supermarket chains, you will also have tons of little local shops, called bakkal. There are similar to a corner shop or bodega. Though they are easily found in every neighborhood, they have less of a selection of items and at higher prices, much like a convenience store.
To get the freshest fruit and vegetables and to have a quintessential local experience, the best place to go is the pazar, or the bazaar. Similar to a farmer’s market, there are a variety of sellers to choose from and each marketplace has its own day. Especially if you plan a longer-term stay in Turkey, you can plan ahead for your weekly vegetable or fruit shopping. The prices are incredibly affordable and continue to decrease towards the end of the day. You can even find sellers who give you extra goodies for free. Besides going there for shopping, if you have never been to such a marketplace, I would highly advise you to go there just to sense the environment. If you are staying for a shorter time, you can still find many fruit and vegetable stands that offer seasonal produce.
If you enjoy collecting items from smaller and more specialized stores, it’s also possible to find shops specific to your needs. For example, you may find a store that only sells honey and another type that specializes in olives, cheeses, cream & other dairy products. There are also stores that sell only herbs, spices, and natural remedies. They offer a more personalized experience by giving recommendations and will often let you sample products before you buy.
What's on our grocery list?
Before going shopping, it’s best to plan some easy recipes you can make for the week. We recommend trying baba ganoush as a simple, easy, and affordable dish. You don’t have to be precise with your grocery list, but it will be easier if you have a little something in mind already. There will be some days that you will want to eat outside and try some local eateries, so it’s best to be flexible. Try to do your shopping for the whole week at once so you don’t need to waste time making many return trips.
I would recommend making larger meals that can last 1 or 2 days, so you can save time by having leftovers. For lunch, as you will be traveling and walking around constantly, making a sandwich is the easiest and best option to go for.
Now, let’s come to our grocery list. Every traveler might have different dietary preferences/needs or allergies, which is why I tried to make a general list. You may even try experimenting with making a local dish or two.
- Sliced bread
- Chocolate spread/Nutella
- Baking powder
- Energy bars, crackers, cookies, chips - SNACKS (optional)
- Seasonal fruit such as peaches, cherries, figs, quince
- Canned beans, chickpeas, lentils
- Burger patties
- Chicken nuggets or frozen patties
- Salt, pepper
- Olive oil
EXTRA (if your rental hasn’t provided them)
- Plastic bags
- Toilet paper
- Cleaning products
Before You Book Your Accommodation
Keep in mind that not every vacation rental comes with basic supplies for cooking or kitchen cutlery. Before you book, check what is included. It makes more sense to choose a place that is well stocked with kitchen utensils, pots, pans, plates, etc. Some apartments may even come with oil and some basic spices. After you've checked the supplies, it’s time to make a shopping list. Keep reading below to find our recommended grocery list.