They say the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach. I say the same goes for a country. And what better way to get acquainted with the diverse and multi-cultural Turkish cuisine – than through a food tour – specifically, Taste of Two Continents Istanbul Food Tour. Here are the reasons why it should be the first order of business on your first day in Istanbul, Turkey!
Why you should book The Taste of Two Continents Istanbul Food Tour
If you love food, then a food tour is right up your alley
It’s a fact that one of the best ways to know a particular place or country is tasting its food. And if you’re a foodie like me, I’m betting on it that you take the time to research what and where to eat when you’re planning your trips.
But what happens when you don’t have the time to do that? Booking a food tour is a good solution – especially if the company is owned and operated by locals who know best where the great finds are that most tourists know nothing about.
You can also buy your souvenirs along the way. Check this post to find out what are the best Turkish souvenirs to take home for you, your family, and friends!
Istanbul on Food is. It may be a small family business, but it doesn’t mean that it scrimps out on services. As culinary enthusiasts, the owners crafted tours that will best introduce tourists to Istanbul and Turkey in general, leaving everyone with more knowledge, a full belly, and that desire for more.
Since I didn’t have time to plan an extensive itinerary, and frankly I prefer slow travel nowadays, booking the Taste of Two Continents Food Tour was definitely the right decision for me to get a glimpse and taste of Istanbul’s European and Asian side.
Is it safe to travel to and around Turkey? Click the link to find out more.
2. It’s not just a food tour
Rarely is a food tour just about, well, the food. Besides that, you will learn more about Istanbul’s history, culture, and the origin of Turkish cuisine. The best part is, you get to interact not only with the locals but also with newfound friends.
It was fun navigating the streets of Istanbul and seeing the back streets, – while our tour guide Latif, was regaling us with trivia and anecdotes in between food stops. It was also a moment of enlightenment not only on Turkish cuisine and culture but also on the countries of other participants. It was amazing to learn the differences and similarities between cultures, history, religion, traditions, habits, and even politics – of various countries.
3. Don’t worry, there will be lots of walking too
If you’re worried about how to burn all that calories, well, fret not. The amount of walking throughout the tour will certainly take care of that. You will also have ample time to rest your feet and legs during the food stops.
The food tour goes more like this: eat, drink, talk, walk, stop.
4. Istanbul on Food tours usually operate in small groups
Being a small family-run business, Istanbul on Food understands the need for a more personal and intimate tour. Hence, you need not worry that you will be on with over 20 people. Standard group size for the Taste of Two Continents tour is 2 to 6 persons.
5. Meeting new people and making new experiences
Another thing I love when visiting a new place is meeting new people and experiencing new things. After the tour, I certainly had loads of both! We got to meet owners of family-run businesses, which I wouldn’t be able to achieve had I embarked on a DIY food tour.
Although I love eating, I’m not really an adventurous eater. But since Latif and tour mates were encouraging, I got to try food items that I wouldn’t even think of trying on my own.
6. Support family-run businesses
Aside from off-the-beaten food spots, the tour also featured family-run businesses, some of which have become institutions in the community.
Take for example this pickle shop in one of the food markets of Istanbul. It’s a pickle lover’s heaven and the varieties are endless in this shop!
7. See more of Istanbul’s Asian side
I admit I had no intention to exploring the Asian side of Istanbul on my first visit. But thanks to the Taste of Two Continents Food Tour, I got to cross the Bosphorus Strait and explored the streets of Kadıköy.
8. All your senses will be put to use
From the myriad of sights as you walk along the streets of Istanbul, the appetizing look of different foods, to the cacophony of smells along the way, the various textures you can touch and eat, to the sound of that crunch, and the bustle of the crowd – all of your senses will indeed be put to use and to the test in this food tour.
9. Worth the price
Featuring 12 stops that showcase old and new eateries on the two sides of Istanbul, the tour is definitely worth its price. The knowledge and experience you’ll gain after the tour – are invaluable and they surpass the fullness of your tummy. Plus, you get to embark on a journey led by a licensed local tour guide. The cost of the ferry to and from the European side is also covered by the tour.
The $100 (USD) rate per person (adult) is actually cheaper than similar tours operated by other companies. And it runs for almost the whole day, so you won’t be needing to eat dinner afterward!
Taste of Two Continents Food Tour: My favorites
Of course, I won’t write about everything we ate. You have to book the food tour for that! 😉
But as I sit here now writing this, I am transported back to that first bite of Iskender Kebap and how I couldn’t stop putting midye dolma into my mouth.
How I wished I could have crunchy and creamy hazelnut spreads, eggs with sucuk, and honey and kaymak for breakfast more frequently.
And I loved that I was brave enough to eat food made with ingredients that I wouldn’t have guessed just by looking at it.
Authentic Anatolian cuisine is hard to come by outside Turkey and I am counting down the days until I get to eat my way around Istanbul again.
Tips on how to make the most of your food tour
- Check the weather and dress comfortably/conservatively. The tour is still on despite snow or rain.
- Don’t eat before the tour. You’ll be devouring meals the whole day so no need to fuel up.
- Pace yourself. Remember how many stops you have left to go.
- Take note of the foods you liked, so you can come back for them later or another time.
Taste of Two Continents Food Tour by Istanbul on Food: Details
Inclusions: Food, drinks, round-trip ferry ride, English-speaking licensed tour guide
Duration: 6 – 7 hours
Minimum number of persons: 2
Children: Ages 5 and below are free-of-charge
Payment options: Credit card
Cancellation policy: Minimum of 24 hours notice
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Disclosure: We were given discounted rate by Istanbul on Food. However, that doesn’t affect my personal experience and my honest review of the tour.