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Feb 14, 2009 09:20 PM

What foods should I ask for from Turkey?

My sis is going to Turkey this summer to visit her bf's family, I wanted to send her with some cash and a list of foods to bring back. I am fairly adventurous with food, but not sure what to request other than cured meats, hard cheeses, and some spices.... any advice would be appreciated. Also I have not traveled a great deal and am unfamiliar with the guidelines of bringing foods into the US.

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  1. Urfa peppers and pomegranate molasses. And rugs and a Turkish coffee pot and jewelry and copper pots. Not saying I'm familiar with the ag importation rules, though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mawrter

      The Urfa peppers and molasses sound good, however the jewelry and copper pots will probably blow my budget...thanks kim

    2. Turkey is no stranger to tourism and they package all kinds of things that your sister can bring back. She will undoubtedly visit the spice market in Istanbul and/or local markets wherever she goes. Just about everywhere you go they sell nifty assortments of spices prepackaged and tons of Turkish delight. All these things vary in quality, but your sister's Bf's family will surely be able to help her make her selections. Actually I thought the best Turkish delight was for sale in the Istanbul airport, and the prices were not particularly high!

      1. You cannot bring cured meats into the US, so you'll have to skip those.

        1. Meats and cheeses can be tricky, in fact all food potentially. The rules are different for every country/region and they change all the time. People on this board can tell you what they have brought back before from Turkey, but that is no guarantee that your sister will be allowed to bring in the same products on the day of her return. And any kind of food has to be declared, so make sure your sister is OK with dealing with CBP agents at the airport and having her luggage searched. (It's usually no big deal, as long as you've declared everything, and you don't have live pigeons hidden in your trouser legs).

          Also, a lot of the good stuff is difficult to transport (rakı, pastes and syrups in glass jars, a giant platter of baklava-type desserts), so again, it depends on how much your sister loves you…

          Do you have any Turkish shops where you live? Because you can probably get a lot of ingredients there already. Then we can try to give you some ideas for the more unusual stuff.

          4 Replies
          1. re: DeppityDawg

            Ever since I moved to a tiny village with limited food and drink offerings, I've had friends bring back raki. (I used to be able to buy in in stores in NYC, but that's another life *sigh*.) It's a pain and not a pain depending: one can just pick it (raki) up in the duty free. And as a person who has transported bottles before, it's a matter of using socks and plastic bags...

            1. re: Lizard

              tell her to use bubble wrap, and empty, clean hard-cardboard "cans" (with plastic lids) that once held planter's nuts.... large and small -- great for packing glass jars!

            2. re: DeppityDawg

              Alas, no Turkish stores near or not so near. I've come to realize that living in Small Town, USA does have some drawbacks.

              1. re: snix

       <-- Paula Wolfert recommends this source for Turkish spices (& other things) in many of her cookbooks. HTH.

            3. a friend brought me back some spices from Turkey one year, and after some months in the cupboard I had a very nasty infestation of mealy bugs - so beware!

              saffron is good, also turkish coffee and teas.