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Istanbul has always been a magnet of migration and the city’s rich cuisine is a collection of deposits made by wave after wave of people passing through. Some stayed, some kept going, but often, their foods made their way into the Istanbul diet. The kebab, as ubiquitous as it may be today in Istanbul, is a relatively new arrival, ushered in by Anatolian migrants from Turkey’s Southeast who come in great numbers in the last 4o years. We have these communities to thank for a little part of town where dozens of small kebab shops stand side by side in a haze of grill smoke. There are few areas where you can try so many of the varied kebab styles, often challenging our own conception of kebab, in just a few short blocks. This is kebabistan.
This evening activity is a celebration of the cuisine of Southeastern Turkey, which includes the famous grilling districts of Gaziantep, Urfa and Hatay, tied into one big evening feast. We’ll krawl from kebab joint to bakery to street stand to dessert palace, slowly revealing the complexity of this famous cuisine over five different courses. İsot biberi, or dried Urfa pepper, plays the starring role in the flavoring of this cuisine, so it can be a little spicy sometimes. The Kebab Krawl is “long table” concept, meaning we go as a group of individuals and share in this experience together. Couples, singles and families are all welcome.
What is included in the fee?
In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food and drink consumed on the walk is included in the price.
Why is the Culinary Backstreet tour more expensive than some other walking tours?
Our approach is different than most tour companies. Each of our culinary walks is the outcome of considerable research. We work with academics in the field and our own team of experienced professionals – both guides and local journalists. Our ongoing publishing of articles, from restaurant reviews to features about the intersection of food and culture, constantly feeds new material into the culinary walks, so they evolve and constantly improve. Though costly, we believe that this is how to create the quality experiences we strive for.
We practice honest tourism and would never accept a free lunch or any sort of commission. On the contrary, we are proud to know that the money spent during the culinary walk goes to support businesses that we believe in, helping to preserve the social and cultural fabric of the cities we love so dearly.
What is the payment process?
For the Kebab Krawl, we require the full $75 fee to be paid in order to complete the online booking.
What is your cancellation policy?
100% will be refunded if given 1 week notice prior to walk and 50% will be refunded if given 72 hours notice or more.
Are your walks public or private? How many people are on them?
Our Kebab Krawl is 2-10 people and is open to the public. If you would like to do a private walk, we may be able to arrange one for an additional fee. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Can I get a discount if I join more than one walk?
Yes, we offer a 10% discount to those who join more than one walk. Please email us email@example.com if you’d like to join multiple walks.
Are your walks suitable for people with food allergies?
This can vary based on a number of factors, including the food item in question. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your situation before booking.
Are your walks suitable for vegetarians and pescetarians?
This activity is very meat focused and is never recommended for vegeterians or pescetarians.
Are your walks suitable for a gluten-free diet?
This walk can be suitable for gluten – free diets.
Is alcohol served on the walks?
Is the food offered on the walks halal?
This is difficult to answer. In Turkey the halal certification process is relatively new, so though many butchers are halal they may not be certified and though many restaurants use halal products they may not advertise or even recognize it. Because of this, we cannot confidently say that all of the food is halal.
How physically demanding are the walks?
This activity has some walking, but is mostly sitting and eating and would not be considered strenuous. The streets and sidewalks of Istanbul can be a bit unpredictable so we recommend good walking shoes.
Can children join the walks?
Of course! But please note that Istanbul’s streets – narrow, uneven and often lacking a sidewalk – can be challenging with a stroller.
We offer a 50% discount to children 12 years old and younger. We do not charge for children 6 and under.
Do you offer walks during Ramazan?
We do not offer this activity during Ramazan or local holidays.
Can you pick me up from my hotel? How will I return, once the tour is over?
Our tour prices don’t include transportation. If you book a tour, you’re responsible for arriving to the pre-arranged meeting spot on your own.
Once the tour is over, we will help you get an authorized, safe taxi to your hotel, or provide directions on public transportation, if you’re interested in that.
How much food will I get to try?
This is really up to you. The price includes as much food as you’re open to trying. We offer a suggested portion size at each stop and you can take our recommendation if you’d like. Our walks often involve street food and sharing food.
Still have questions? Please email us at email@example.com.
During the three hour tour, which began with soup and ended with dessert, the enthusiastic and knowledgable Megan took us to seven establishments, all of which are firmly off the well beaten tourist track. Her passion for cultural heritage is contagious and she got me all riled up for my trip to Antep and Urfa, which is coming up next week. If you can’t jet off to southeastern Turkey yourself, a Kebab Krawl with Istanbul Eats may be the next best thing. Read more
Our friends and partners in the city, Istanbul Eats, run some awesome meanders around the markets, lanes and backstreets that would normally elude the first- (or even second- and third-) time visitor. … There’s also a late night “ Kebab Krawl” on offer, if you’re a fan of skewered meat and night-time strolls. Read more
Culinary walks led by locals in the know who have been able to develop close relationships with the traditional food-makers found along the walk’s route are one of the best and easiest ways to learn about a city’s authentic cuisine and also about how its culinary culture shaped its soul,” says Yigal Schleifer, co-founder of CulinaryBackstreets.com. Read more