Food Turkey

9 reasons why you should join an Istanbul Food Tour

typical turkish breakfast kahvalti istanbul food tour

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

  1. 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.

assortment of marzipan at sekerci cafer erol kadikoy turkey

too pretty to eat marzipans at one of the oldest confectionery shops in Kadıköy

Istanbul on Food is one of the top culinary tours in Istanbul. 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.

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.

making tantuni in kadikoy istanbul

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.

baker making turkish pide kadikoy istanbul

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.

honey and kaymak for turkish kahvalti

my newfound breakfast favorite: honey with clotted cream from water buffalo milk

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!

assortment of pickles at Orcan Tursulari at Kadikoy fishmarket

pickle juice pickled vegetables meshur ozcan tursulari kadikoy

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.

seagulls along the bosphorus strait istanbul turkey

the fastest transcontinental ride from Asia to Europe: on a ferry along the Bosphorus

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.

kokorec on the grill kadikoy istanbul turkey

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!

turkish coffee in a white cup served with baklava

Turkish coffee: an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Turkey (UNESCO)

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.

istanbul food tour iskender kebap kadikoy

Iskender Kebap: thin savory and buttery goodness

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.

midye dolma at Mercan shop kadikoy istanbul turkey

Craving for this every day

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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.

turkish lavash puff bread istanbul food tour taste of two continents

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

Contact details: Istanbul on Food website | Email: info@istanbulonfood.com | Phone number: +90 544 585 9851

chicken breast pudding mado istanbul turkey

the proof is in the pudding!


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. 


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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Teresa
    February 4, 2018 at 3:11 am

    This looks amazing! I’ve only recently become a fan of food tours and I wish I’d known about them when I visited Istanbul a few years ago. I’m making a note of this for when I come back! 🙂

    • Reply
      Darlene
      February 6, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Me too! I thought back then I could always DIY it. But food tours really do have their advantage.

  • Reply
    Stella
    February 3, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    How dare you post about these gorgeous looking food (that I bet are delicious too) and make me read about it in the middle of the night! OMG!

    • Reply
      Darlene
      February 6, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Hehe! I got hungry too while writing this post! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tracy
    February 3, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    This sounds like an amazing food tour. “You will use all your senses” cracked me up as I hear that on the streets of NYC all day when walking to work from tourists eating different foods.

    • Reply
      Darlene
      February 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      Hehe, glad it made you laugh. My senses were definitely overwhelmed while on tour.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    February 3, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    I actually love Turkish food, I remember how every time I went to the seaside when I was little we used to have some, as in my home country there is a strong Turkish community in that area. The Turkish delight, the braga and the kebaps were to die for. I would love to take this tour if I go to Istanbul. Is definitely great value for money!

    • Reply
      Darlene
      February 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      Oh wow, you’re definitely lucky. I’m a recent convert of Turkish food thanks to the Taste of Two Continents food tour!

  • Reply
    Faith Coates
    February 3, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    You had me at food tour – anywhere I go I make sure I take a food tour as it is the best way to learn about a new place, and its culture. I can’t wait to get to Turkey to take one.

    • Reply
      Darlene
      February 6, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      That is so true! Hope you get to do it soon!

  • Reply
    Chantelle
    February 3, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Oh my goodness! I need to do this – I am a massive foodie and love to combine travel with food. Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Reply
      Darlene
      February 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Oh you’ll love it for sure! 🙂

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