Tuesday; Fethiye market day and one of our favourite pastimes. How can food shopping ever be a chore when you’ve got a weekly carnival of seemingly endless rows of stalls packed with the current produce of the season intermingled with the regular staples? The colours, the aromas – citrus in winter, the sweet scent of strawberries in springtime – the calls of the stallholders, shoppers jostling for space at their favourite stalls. Fethiye market is the daddy!
It might all be about the foodie excitement for us, but Fethiye Tuesday market is not just about the fruit and vegetables. No, it’s a cacophony of all things for sale that can keep the determined shopper entertained for most of the day. So let’s take a look around: This is our gigantic guide to the Tuesday market in Fethiye…
Fethiye Market – The Gigantic Guide
We’re approaching Fethiye Tuesday market (Salı Pazarı) from the harbour by Popeye’s fish boat and following the canal along the shaded, tree-lined walkway. Foot bridges criss cross the canal at intervals, and, as we approach the first of the canvas awnings, we’ll cross the bridge towards them and delve into the covered world of the Tuesday market.
In winter, we share this walkway with fellow shoppers and teenage school kids sitting along the fences, some having sneaky cigarettes, on their break. The summer months exchange the school kids for coachloads of tourists on day trips from elsewhere in Fethiye and nearby towns and resorts. They’re here in the hope of bargains galore, ready to hone their haggling skills.
Let’s go in…
Are you a shopper just itching to spend, spend, spend? In summer, we walk through this area just to enjoy the shade. We share the oft crowded space with local ladies wading through piles of fabric – flower print şalwar, woollen waistcoats, fleecy pyjamas, table cloths, end-of-line curtains and curtain fabric, bedding.
We also share that same space with holidaying families, determined to bag a bargain, kids in tow; sometimes lapping up the shopping challenge, sometimes looking like they wished they’d stayed round the pool.
“Hello, yes please. I am here. Genuine fake football shirts. We have big size for you, Rambo. Cheaper than shoplifting.”
Handbags, shopping bags, backpacks, purses, wallets.
“Yes, this is Armani. Yes of course real leather. I’ll give you cheap price.”
We’re not big on shopping, this is not our scene and we never did perfect the art of feigning shock at the price offered to us before suggesting a much lower number. We keep walking, eyes straight ahead…
“Hello nice couple. Would you like pashminas?”
The pashmina and scarf stalls at Fethiye market are one place where I do allow my eyes to avert and our pace of walking to slow down a tad. The colours and the patterns tempt and, should you buy a few, the stall holder is usually willing to knock a few lira off the already cheap price. They’re also useful – great winter scarves, a wrap to take away the chill for the cooler evenings of spring and autumn and a good head covering if you’re travelling around Turkey and find yourself wanting to go and explore religious sites like Süleymaniye Mosque.
You can continue your journey if you like. Weave up and down the aisles and cross over the road by the Fethiyespor football stadium. More bags, belts, high heel shoes, flat shoes, pumps, trainers, slippers, games, toys, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery, dish drainers, washing up bowls, bins, washing baskets, plant pots, watering cans, mops… Get the picture?
But we’re stopping at the end of that first aisle – our thoroughfare – one aisle is more than enough for us and we’re now getting back to our favourite topic; food. It’s time to eat…and Fethiye Tuesday market knows how to get those taste buds going!
Gözleme & Kebabs At Fethiye Market & More Besides
Shopping centres have food courts. For hungry shoppers and browsers, Fethiye market has a street of mobile cabins and plastic chairs and tables set up by different families all offering Turkish classics; gözleme with various fillings, bazlama bread filled with cheese and hot butter (sharing is recommended for this one – and don’t count the calories), döner kebabs and spicy kokoreç. A trip to Fethiye market just isn’t the same without a stop off for a bite to eat!
Every Tuesday, shoppers, workers on their lunch break, schoolchildren and tourists descend on this area to replenish expended energy. During the hot summer months, thirsty customers slurp on hot çay, ayran, freshly squeezed fruit juices, lip-numbing kar şerbeti, cans of fizzy drink and bottles of water kept just off cold in buckets of iced water.
‘Greeters’ welcome you to their establishment, whether you’re going to sit there or not. Everyone has their favourite place to sit – gözleme at Fethiye market is a regular for us. Same stall, same filling for our gözleme (minced meat and shredded potato), same drink…a big glass of icy cold frothy açık ayran. Delightful! We’re big kokoreç fans but nothing beats the Galata kokoreç for us and eating gözleme is a favourite market experience. Why change?
But whether you go for the kebab option, the kokoreç, the gözleme or the bazlama, and whichever eatery you choose to dine at, you can rest assured that pride of place on your table will be given to one or two large, plastic tubs of turşu. Well, sitting down to street food snacks without the accompaniment of various Turkish pickled vegetables is just unthinkable. Ask for an extra plate and pile those pickles on there!
Sometimes, we even visit other tables to put some of their turşu onto our plate – this is perfectly normal practice so no one will look at you and wonder what on earth you are doing. It’s all about variety. If fellow diners have pickled red cabbage and you’ve got peppers and carrots, no point in coveting, is there?
Real Shopping At Fethiye Market, Turkey
So, now we’re fed and watered, we’ve got ourselves a bit of energy to do our favourite type of shopping; browsing the scores of food stalls that make up the Fethiye Tuesday market. The fruit and vegetable section of the market is just a joy to walk around and at certain times of year, we actually get excited before we go. This is the celebration of Fethiye market, for us – the seasonal colours and produce.
In spring and summer, even if you don’t like cooking, there must be something in these photos that would tempt you to part with a few kuruş and load carrier bags with apricots, yeni dünya, cherries, watermelon or a juicy galia melon. And if you really wanted to treat yourself (we’ve done this only once or twice over the time we’ve lived here), in early spring, you could splash out on a few kuzu göbeği; morel mushrooms.
The great thing about shopping on Fethiye market as the weather begins to warm up is the tomatoes. Tomatoes in this area of Turkey taste beautiful all year round, but they benefit from the summer heat. Friends who come over to visit us from the UK just can’t believe how tasty they are and talk about them throughout their holiday.
The huge, beefy tomatoes will take on their beautiful, vibrant red colours and sweet flavours throughout spring and we wait patiently. It’s no chore, because through winter and early spring, we just can’t seem to buy enough of the scrumptious little plum tomatoes you can see in the top right of the photo. Cherry tomatoes are super sweet, too. We eat them just as they are with breakfast – and we eat them while we’re walking home from the market, too. Just blissful.
During the colder months, as summer leaves us, we get excited for the arrival of çıntar mushrooms, the bright sunshine colours of citrus fruits and the various shades of green that are chard, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and huge, plump cauliflowers. Many of these foods are available year round, they’re just more prolific at certain times of year, whilst others – well you’ve just gotta grab them while you can. Fill that shopping bag and then go home to get creative in the kitchen.
We have stalls that we visit weekly and others are just for random purchases. The friendly family on the right are our main stop off for peppers and courgettes. And look there, on the left. There’s one of our Fethiye institutions, the local helvacı, selling his honey, nut bars. We’ve made a few purchases from him over the years at random places around town. He certainly covers the miles.
Other regular stalls are our cheese and yoghurt guy. Same conversation every week. He welcomes us, we order our cheese, he cuts us a huge breeze block, we laugh and say we’re just two people and he makes it smaller. Then he goes to his yoghurt fridge, dollops a half kilo of thick natural yoghurt into a tub and then we’re on our way.
Last stop at Fethiye market, about once every three weeks or so, is our dried fruits and nuts guy. We buy an odd mix of small amounts of lots of ingredients to make muesli and he knows just how much we want. That’s Fethiye market, you see. A huge city of stalls, but still room for familiarity. A great way to shop!
On one early summer visit to Fethiye market, I did a little experiment. I hung my camera around my neck, set it to video mode and hit the record button. Walk with us for a couple of minutes through the covered section of the Fethiye Tuesday market; the Salı Pazarı. What would you buy?
Tuesday Market, Fethiye – Useful Information
- Fethiye market opening times are generally from around 9am through to sunset, although some stall holders might not be around early morning. The market is open year round.
- The Fethiye market location is easy to spot, situated between and around Fethiyespor football stadium and the main canal that runs through town. If you arrive by dolmuş, the dolmuş driver will stop to show you were to get off, right at the entrance.
- Haggling for bags etc is expected but fruit and vegetables have set prices that change depending on the season and weather conditions. Different prices for the same food goods are to do with size and ripeness.
- Not everyone loves the Fethiye Tuesday market – some people find its size a bit overwhelming. If this is you, you could also do food shopping at the Friday village market on the same site, or you could head to Çalış Sunday market which is a smaller, more low key version of Fethiye market.
- Fethiye market is open in all types of weather and is both undercover of a roof and tarpaulin sheeting. If you don’t fancy a rainy Fethiye market, there are lots of other things you can do if it’s raining in Fethiye.
- The Tuesday market is part of our list of things not to miss when you’re in Fethiye.