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As an expat in Turkey, grocery shopping was a wholly unique adventure. Read my guide to navigating bazaars, apps, supermarkets, and finding the best deals on Turkish groceries as a foreigner.
With this guide, you’ll have the know-how to shop for groceries, cheeses, and spices to stock a Turkish pantry befitting a local gourmand.
As an expat who has lived in Turkey for over 6 years, I’ve mastered the art of grocery shopping here. From lively bazaars to modern supermarket chains, I’ve discovered the best places to buy fresh food, groceries, and local delicacies. Let me share my insider knowledge to help you shop like a local.
Most Popular Supermarkets and Grocery Stores
There are several go-to supermarket chains and stores across Turkey:
- BIM offers the overall best prices on groceries. Their selection is limited but has all the essentials. Ideal for budget shopping.
- ŞOK and A101 have great prices with wider selections than BIM. More imported and gourmet products.
- Migros is one of the largest chains with the widest selection. Higher prices but frequent discounts. Quality produce and imports.
- File Market is my personal favorite. Their own brands are high quality and they have the freshest produce and dairy. Lovely bakery section too.
- Çağdaş is similar to Migros with wide imported selection. Higher prices but amazing quality.
- Metro is a wholesale store great for bulk purchases of staples like rice, oil, pasta etc. Has an impressive selection of global foods.
Local Street Markets and Bazaars
- Every neighborhood has a weekly bazaar selling seasonal fruits, vegetables, spices, dairy products, Turkish street foods and sometimes clothing for cheaper prices.
- The weekly bazaar which is called in Turkish (Hal Pazar) takes place is streets as vendors come from villages and everywhere to sell their products, they make stands on both sides of the road and it usually starts from 9 AM to 6 PM.
- Go early in the morning, around 9 a.m; otherwise, it will be really crowded. Prices are wholesale and bargaining is not common; the prices are already set.
Online Grocery Delivery Apps
- Apps like Getir, Migros Hemen, İstegelsin etc. deliver groceries and essentials usually within 30 minutes.
- Prices are 5–10% higher than shopping in-store, but discounts are common. Super convenient!
- You can order anything from eggs and milk to detergents and pet food. Some apps have ultrafast 10-minute delivery.
Prices of Groceries in Turkey
- Prices are around 50% higher than Egypt, especially for meat, poultry, and tomatoes.
- Dairy, breads, oils, and staples are priced lower than in Europe and the Gulf countries.
- Produce, chicken, and eggs can be very affordable in season at weekly markets.
- Bulk grains, legumes, and nuts are cheaper at Metro Wholesale MarkeTh
This is an approximate list of the prices of groceries in Turkey:
|Item||Price Range (USD)|
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||2.70 – 10.80|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||14.40 – 54.00|
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||4.97 – 7.20|
|Domestic Beer (1 pint draught)||1.44 – 4.32|
|Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)||2.16 – 5.40|
|Cappuccino (regular)||1.08 – 3.24|
|Coke/Pepsi (12 oz small bottle)||0.68 – 1.80|
|Water (12 oz small bottle)||0.18 – 0.72|
|Milk (regular), (1 gallon)||2.73 – 4.35|
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)||0.23 – 0.95|
|Rice (white), (1 lb)||0.48 – 0.90|
|Eggs (regular) (12)||1.01 – 2.16|
|Local Cheese (1 lb)||2.12 – 4.90|
|Chicken Fillets (1 lb)||1.31 – 3.07|
|Beef Round (1 lb) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)||4.90 – 7.35|
Tech Innovations in Grocery Stores
- Self-checkout kiosks available at Migros, Carrefour, and Macro Center stores for quicker checkout.
- In-app personalized offers and e-coupons from Migros, Carrefour etc based on past purchases.
- Digital receipts via email replacing paper receipts to save paper. Still not widely adopted yet.
Essential Turkish Ingredients
I’ve discovered many indigenous ingredients that are crucial to Turkish cuisine:
- Isot pepper, sumac, pul biber, pomegranate molasses add unique flavor.
- Tahini (sesame paste), kaymak (clotted cream) and lokum (Turkish delight).
- Yufka dough for börek pastries, bulgur wheat for salads.
- Nar ekşisi (sour pomegranate syrup), pekmez (grape molasses), tahin pekmez (tahini-grape molasses).
- Pastırma (cured spicy beef), sucuk (Turkish sausage), beyaz peynir (Turkish white cheese).
- Plastic bags cost 0.25 TL so most people use reusable bags. More eco-friendly bags needed.
- Some chains like Macro Center have food waste reduction programs donating surplus food.
- Migros has plastic recycling machines to collect and recycle plastic waste.
Etiquette and Culture
- Weekly markets are a social experience. Greet the sellers and chat – they may give you fruits to try!
- Bargaining is expected at bazaars and street markets. Don’t be shy to negotiate prices.
- Avoid weekends if you dislike crowds. Stores tend to get busy.
- Offer to bag groceries for elderly shoppers – a kind gesture.
- Cash is common at street markets and small shops. Carry small bills for exact change.
- Credit/debit cards widely accepted at big supermarkets. Contactless also used.
- Some shops have QR code payment through apps like PayQR, ininal etc.
- Migros has introduced palm vein scanning payment as an innovative biometric payment option.
Overcoming Language Barriers
As a foreigner in Turkey, I’ve picked up some Turkish grocery vocabulary to help you get by:
- “Meyve ve sebzeler nerede?” (Where are the fruits and vegetables?)
- “Taze mi?” (Is it fresh?)
- “Daha ucuz var mı?” (Is there something cheaper?)
- “1 kilo elma lütfen” (1 kilo of apples please)
- “Poşet istiyorum” (I don’t want a bag)
- “Fiyat pazarlığı yapabilir miyiz?” (Can we bargain on the price?)
- “Çok pahalı” (Too expensive)
- “İndirimli fiyat verebilir misiniz?” (Can you give me a discounted price?)
- “Sağ olun” (Thank you)