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Shopping for Pork and Pork Products in Turkey

Since Turkey is a Muslim country, Pork isn't always easy to find. But some stores which sell pork can be found in the tourism cities and towns along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. There, the Migros and Kipa grocery stores, among others, keep gammon ham, bacon, and sausage in refrigerators separate from the non-pork meats. Unfortunately, pork is more expensive in Turkey than it probably is in your home country, and the bacon is usually higher in fat.

Some tourism towns have specialty shops where you can buy much higher quality (and cheaper) pork meats. Since their clientele is almost exclusively foreign, they also have a good assortment of imported cheeses and sauces. Their prices are also better than those at the big supermarkets.

See our listings of pork shops in various locations to help you find one near you.

The Bacon Run to Greece

A fun alternative for buying high-quality and less-expensive pork is to take a ferry, on a day trip, to one of the Aegean or Mediterranean Greek Islands. The ferries usually depart at around 9:00 AM and return at around 5:00 PM.

When you land in Greece, enjoy the day. Eat and drink at the restaurants and tour the town. A couple of hours before your ferry departs for Turkey, go to a Greek grocery store, which will have an abundant selection of high-quality pork of all kinds. They'll also have cheeses which are hard to find in Turkey, such as cheddar or Emmental (Swiss) cheese. Don't forget to browse the sauces as well.

Bringing Home the Bacon

According to Turkish customs, you can bring back into Turkey pork which is in a vacuum-sealed bag, which will cover you for the bacon, but perhaps not for other pork which is not in vacuum-sealed bags. Customs officials have been generous to foreigners who do this bacon run in the past, but is a chance you won't be able to bring back pork in bags which are not vacuum sealed. Ask around about this before you go, or while on the ferry, since doing the monthly bacon run on the ferry is a routine part of expat life in the coastal towns.

After you clear customs, take your pork home, break it down into portions, and put it in the freezer until you need it. You can do the same with cheese.

See Also

Shopping Forum: Have a question or comment about shopping in Turkey? Post it in our shopping forum.
Turkey Pork Shop Directory: Contains contact info, descriptions, directions, maps, and photos of  all of the pork shops in Turkey (that we know about).


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