A Walking Food Tour Of Kadikoy in Istanbul

Most people who travel to Istanbul tend to stay in the historical area of Sultanahmet or, perhaps, visit Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square. The Asian side is hardly ever on tourist’s lists. Despite very modern and developed, this side of the Bosphorus still has charming areas where you can experience real daily life going on without lots of tourists in the way.

After a few years visiting only the European Istanbul, I recently crossed the Bosphorus again and went on very good and informative food tour of Kadikoy on Istanbul’s Asian side, where my knowledge of the city was deliciously challenged.

A Perfect Food Tour of Kadikoy in Istanbul

I met my guide at the Karaköy pier, next to Galata Bridge, on the European side. Call me lucky, but I was the only person who turned up that chilly Sunday morning. Before we took the ferry, he bought a cup of tea and a simit, a pretzel-like bread in round shape, which is a very popular snack among the Turkish.

The ferry crossing of the Bosphorus took about 20 minutes and, despite the cold, we stayed on the deck feeding the seagulls with leftover simit, and admiring the view of the buildings and mosques on both sides of the Bosphorus. From the ferry terminal in Kadikoy, it was only a three-minute walk to Kadiköy Market.

A Perfect Food Tour of Kadikoy in Istanbul

Unlike Sultanahmet, Kadiköy has a more local feel to it, since you’ll see few tourists around. Many of the wealthier Istanbulites live on this side of the water, where there used to be many grand mansions. Sadly, they were replaced by concrete buildings. This side is also where a large Christian population, mostly Armenians, settled during the years.

A Perfect Food Tour of Kadikoy in Istanbul A Perfect Food Tour of Kadikoy Istanbul

A Perfect Food Tour of Kadikoy in Istanbul

We started our food tour of Kadiköy at a local charcuterie. Here we had a light breakfast with different types of local cheese, kaymak (buffalo cream with honey), stuffed vine leaves, stuffed mussels and bread.

The market itself is not huge; it only occupies two streets and has share the space with many restaurants and cafes. But it’s a real feast to the eyes: all shops sell high quality produce, beautifully displayed and at decent prices.

From freshly caught fish to sweets, including cheese, caramelized fruits, pure honey and dried fruits, I had the chance to try a lot of different produce. I must say, I’ve been to many markets in Istanbul, but this was definitely more authentic and pleasant, with no shop owners calling you to buy this or that, no hassle and no haggling.

A Perfect Food Tour of Kadiköy Istanbul A Perfect Food Tour of Kadiköy Istanbul

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After a couple of hours we went for lunch at Çiya Sofrası, a restaurant very popular with locals. Since I had been eating small portions all morning, we had a Turkish dish called lahmacun – a very thin, pizza-like dough topped with minced meat paste and spices. Like any food I’ve ever had in Istanbul, it didn’t disappoint!

A Perfect Food Tour of Kadikoy in Istanbul

Eating lahmacun at Kadıköy market

My guide, always ready to answer my questions, took me to several shops and at one of them I tried the ever so popular pickles juice. Yes, turşu suyu, as it’s called in Turkish, is a local delicacy and, as you can imagine, not for everyone’s taste –  definitely not mine! Yet, it was something I always wanted to try and finally I had that little push I needed.

Walking Food Tour of Kadikoy in Istanbul

Pickles juice, anyone?

To wrap up our food walking tour of Kadıköy, we went to a traditional Turkish coffee house, where we had a very strong coffee, Turkish style. A huge change from my mild cappuccino, but when in Istanbul…

Walking Food Tour of Kadikoy Istanbul

During the tour, I explained to the guide about my interest in street arts. Kadıköy has some of the best murals in the whole of Istanbul, so he took me to a couple of places where I could see some works by local street artists.

Walking Food Tour of Kadiköy in Istanbul

A Walking Food Tour of Kadikoy in IstanbulIt made me realise that, in Istanbul, you’ll find art not only in museums. Art is everywhere, on the street murals, restaurants and on the Turkish tables, too.

Disclaimer: The food tour of Kadıköy in Istanbul was a courtesy of Viator Travel, and is available to book on their website.  The food and ferry crossings are included in the price and no other compensation was offered. As you know, all opinions and long sentences are my own.



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25 Responses

  1. Indrani

    The pictures ignite hunger pangs! Such details… pizza with minced meat toppings is a great idea… I am tempted to try making it. Finally I would love to settle down with that cup of coffee! Great post!
    First time here via Travel Addiction. 🙂
    Indrani recently posted…5 Must See and Do Things in Avila, SpainMy Profile

    • Pedro

      Hi Indrani, I’m glad you liked the pictures! The lahmacun (the paper-thin pizza) is delicious. 🙂

      Thanks for your visit. 😉

  2. Karla

    I love how this not only talks about food but also the street art. I love places like this. This would be a tour I would do.

    • Pedro

      On my last trip I decided to explore the street art scene in the area a bit more. There’s a lot of good stuff.

    • Pedro

      Sia, I have to confess, I got hooked on lahmacun. It’s my favourite fast food in Turkey. 🙂

  3. Katie

    The markets look so colorful, and how nice that you had a private guided tour! The lamacun sounds the most interesting to me, and Ending the tour with a Turkish coffee sounds excellent. Visiting Turkey on a food exploration trip is something I really want to do!

  4. Arzo Travels

    Istanbul has been on my list forever. Unfortunately, I won´t be able to visit now (because of the situation) but it seems like the most beautiful city on earth and I looove Turkish food (even as a vegetarian there are very good meat-free options).

    • Pedro

      Yes, unfortunately things are not great at the moment. But it’s definitely a great place to visit. Fingers crossed it’ll be safer soon.

  5. Elaine J. Masters

    So hungry to visit Turkey and this tour looks wonderful. My heart is with you and the people of Turkey right now. May things calm and democratic reason, peace and brotherhood triumph.

    • Pedro

      Hi Megan, it’s amazing how rich Turkish food is and, sadly, we only know the greasy kebabs we have after a night out. 🙂

    • Pedro

      Hi Dave! It tastes like vinegar – not good at all! Yes, Istanbul is an amazing city, I never get tired of visiting it, even during these difficult times.


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