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Istanbul Food Tour: Spice Bazaar and Kadikoy Market

Uncover hidden flavors on both sides of the Bosphorus
From US$421 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Spice Bazaar
  • Bosphorus Ferry
  • Kadikoy Market
Photos & Highlights
  • Gain an understanding of Istanbul's culinary traditions through market offerings complete with tastings of local specialties
  • Led by local culinary expert
Tour Description
The vibrant Markets of Istanbul, brimming with fragrant spices and crisp vegetables, are a gem of the eastern Mediterranean. The local fertile agriculture and a tradition of market-oriented shopping can be experienced in historic covered bazaars and modern neighborhood street markets. During this 3-hour Istanbul Food Tour, we will explore the 17th-century Spice Bazaar before hopping across to the Asian side to the lively food markets in Kadikoy.

Bazaar Sights, Scents, Tastes

We'll start off by immersing ourselves in the sights, scents, and tastes of the Spice Bazaar. Heaps of mint tea, fragrant saffron, and smoky Urfa pepper sit next to silk pashmina scarves and copper coffee pots while vendors call out and offer samples of Turkish Delight. We’ll sample the distinctive flavors of the bazaar from shops selling spicy pepper and aromatic herbs, fresh-roasted nuts, and dried fruit. Meanwhile, our docent will explain the connections between the history of the market and Turkish cuisine, providing a greater perspective on the aromatic wares on display.

Markets and Gastronomy Across the Bosphorus

Crossing the Bosphorus Strait by ferry to reach Kadıköy, we’ll explore this neighborhood’s bustling market street. Bursting with briny air and color, this market pulses with the throaty hum of fishmongers, gourmet food shops, butchers, fruit vendors, and more. Here is where we’ll dig into the intricacies of Turkish gastronomy. We’ll linger at a few of the more unusual stops, including the pickle shop, where anything that can be is pickled. We can also visit local delis and bakeries, perhaps tasting tart pomegranate sauces, syrupy Turkish sweets, cake-like cheese helva, and sour sumac juice.

Dig deeper into the Anatolian side on our Istanbul Asian Side Tour.

Istanbul Food Tour

Having tried new tastes, we wrap up with a cup of Turkish coffee done the traditional way. At the end of this walk, we will have a basic understanding of the richness of Turkish cuisine, and will easily be able to select among diverse restaurants of the city and order meals. By learning about the abundance of Turkish cuisine and the communities of markets and bazaars, we will come away with a better understanding of the rhythms of life in this complex city.

Note: The cost of this tour includes tastings from different stores in the markets. There is ample opportunity to buy food to take home, some of which can be vacuum-packed for travel. 


Can this tour be adapted for vegetarians or celiacs?
Yes, please indicate any dietary restrictions in the tour notes and your expert guide will adapt the tastings accordingly.

What is included in the tour?
Various food tastings are included during the tour from sweet to savory. Ferry tickets to cross over to Kadıköy are not included. Your expert guide will help you purchase these during the tour.

Where does the tour begin and end?
The tour begins at the Spice Bazaar (on the Historic Peninsula) and ends at the Kadıköy Market. Your expert guide will provide you with instructions on returning to the Historic Peninsula or to another destination at the end of the tour.

Is this tour suitable for clients with mobility issues? 
This tour is not walking intensive. The Spice Market is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs, however, the ferries and the Kadıköy Market are more challenging. If you have mobility concerns, please contact us to discuss the best option for your needs.

Where You'll Start
106 Reviews (4.66)

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Banu was terrific! She brought the city to life for me through food - I enjoyed listening to her stories and fitting together a few of the seemingly limitless puzzle pieces of Turkish culinary traditions, trying out some of her favorite foods and touring the markets, randomly running into one of her old school teachers, and closing it all up with a satisfying cup of Turkish coffee at a relaxing café. I'd highly recommend this tour to anybody looking to expand their knowledge of Turkish cuisine.
What a grand experience we had with our guide .. from cheese, meats, and pickles to wonderful treats. To top it off with spent time in a spice shop sampling the different and extremely aromatic spices. Thank you! This is a must not miss on your trip to Istanbul!
Hulya was so knowledgeable and interesting. She went above and beyond with no prior notice, finding us at the wrong meeting point, adjusting the pace and making accommodation for one of us who had injured her leg the day before, and extending the time for us due to our slow pace. This tour is a magical experience especially if this is your first visit to Istanbul!