This post is part 17 of 17 of my trip to Istanbul. The series intends to give more than just a I-saw-this-and-did-that review. It aims to share the voice inside my head as I explore a world I’ve only read in books.
The Grand Bazaar is a maze that expands over 58 streets. The shops inside are filled with jewelry, pottery, spices, carpets and restaurants. The Spice Bazaar is the second oldest bazaar and shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. You would think that shopping in these two bazaars would consume most of the day but it didn’t for JC and I.
We saved our visit to the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market for our very last day in Istanbul. We’re not big on shopping but we made an attempt to buy souvenirs. It was a failed attempt. The hawking turned me off and made not want to buy anything. Like any popular tourist attraction, it was overcrowded and swarmed with shoppers. Plus, it was raining that day so many people decided to visit the markets to escape the rain.
After a hectic stroll through the bazaars, our last day in Istanbul ended with dinner at Changcheng, a Chinese restaurant! “Chang cheng” literally translates to “long wall.” That’s what we call The Great Wall of China in Chinese. The restuarant was so close to where we were staying, the Hali Hotel. We had no idea it was right around the corner until the day we took a cab to the Chora Church.
We were one of the first customers to arrive for the night. Our Turkish waiter spoke a few Chinese phrases and we complimented his pronunciation. After we placed our order, there was a flock of Asian tour group that came and quickly filled up three large tables. We said hello as they walked by and their tour guide actually came over to introduce himself to us. We chatted for a little bit and learned that many of the tourist in his group were professors from Taiwan and Singapore.
Our hostess was from mainland China. She told us that she has been living in Istanbul for about 4 years and that she speaks a little Turkish. We asked her if it was a hard language to learn and she it was easier than she expected. It’s interesting to know where the Chinese diaspora extends to. It was like a little piece of home in Istanbul. It sure felt nice to have some hot fish soup.
If you’re ever in Istanbul and craving some Chinese food, check out Changcheng Restaurant.
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