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Book now    Give as a gift  US$110/ adult
  • 2-7 people Kurtuluş     ~5 hours 9:15am, 4pm 

Quick Bite: After a shopping for ingredients in one of Istanbul’s most food-centric neighborhoods, we’ll teach you how to cook six of our favorite Turkish recipes from all over Turkey in this cooking class– dishes like Circassian chicken, stuffed eggplant from southeastern Turkey, Aegean-style mincemeat pastries and more. 

Behind every great Turkish cook is a neighborhood community – a baker, a third-generation milkman, a greengrocer with fresh seasonal produce, a butcher who’s owned the same shop for decades. Nowhere in Istanbul is this local culture more alive than in Kurtuluş, where our cooking experience takes place.

This neighborhood, once home to religious minority groups during the Ottoman Empire, has maintained its unique, community-oriented soul even as fast food chains and megamalls have started to dominate areas nearby. Before we start to cook, we’ll explore the shops of Kurtuluş as we gather our ingredients. Visiting the simit stand where the neighborhood lines up for a morning snack, the liver butcher favoured by chefs all over the city, a cheese shop, greengrocer, a traditional bakery and a cured meat and maze shop that this neighbourhood is known for, slowly, a vision emerges of a community life that revolves around food. Welcome to Kurtuluş.

Back at the kitchen, we’ll teach you how to cook six of our favorite Turkish recipes from all over Turkey – dishes like Circassian chicken, stuffed eggplant from southeastern Turkey, Aegean-style mincemeat pastries and more. Once lunch is ready, we’ll open a bottle of raki, the traditional liquor of Turkey, and celebrate the food that we’ve prepared. For a sweet finale, we’ll enjoy a pumpkin dessert laced with tahini and walnuts and some revitalizing Turkish coffee.

Fee includes everything consumed on the walk.  Some special features:

Activity in a home in a Residential neighborhood Hands – on activity.
Market visit to shop for ingredients. Samples local alcohol with lunch.
Children Welcome. Can accommodate vegetarian diets.

What is included in the fee?

In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – almost a dozen different edible specialties – are included in the price.

How does the payment process work?

Once you have selected an available walk route or cooking class and date, you will be able to pay the fee or deposit for the walk by credit card.

Our credit card processor, Stripe, is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1, the most stringent level of certification. None of your sensitive data ever hits Culinary Backstreets servers. It is all captured, processed, and housed on Stripes servers.

Our booking system, Bookeo, also meets both Daily PCI Security Scanning and Security Verified Requirements.

If you are registering for a walk that requires approval, your reservation request will need to be approved by an administrator before it is finalized. Once it is approved, you will receive an email directing you to pay your deposit and complete your booking.

What is your cancellation policy?

100% will be refunded if given one 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 walks are 2-7 people and are 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 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 at 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 to discuss your situation before booking.

Are your walks suitable for vegetarians and pescetarians?

They shop,cook,feast activity is very suitable for vegeterians and pescetarians.

How physically demanding are the walks?

The Shop,Cook,Feast activity is probably the least physically demanding walk.  There is a short shopping activity followed by a cooking and eating activity in one location.

Is the Shop, Cook, Feast activity suitable for children?

We have had children of all ages on our Shop, Cook, Feast activity and they seem to enjoy it immensely.

What kinds of dishes are taught in the Shop, Cook, Feast activity?

The menu is determined by your guide, and it is based on what produce is in season.

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.

Is it okay to photograph the food on the walk?

You are welcome to photograph during the walk – but please be respectful of the other guests and remember that this is meant to be a group activity, not a dedicated photo shoot.

Do you offer the Shop,Cook,Feast activity walk during Ramazan?

Yes, we do offer this activity during Ramazan.

Shop, Cook, Feast: A Hands-On Istanbul Culinary Adventure

 Overall, this cooking class was one of my favorite culinary experiences in Istanbul. I learned a lot about Turkish food, got to talk with passionate locals sharing their love of Turkey, and got to know the ins and outs of Turkish cuisine. The best part is that both Aysin and Ayun were super friendly and kept me engaged with Turkey’s history and culinary culture. Read more

OICTake Istanbul, where guides are required by law to complete a rigorous training process of several years. There, Ayşin Ekinci—guide, chef, and owner of Cookistan—offers classes that are budget-friendly and richly rewarding. Read more

“We could travel around Istanbul eating kebab only, and experience every region of Turkey,” says Ansel Mullins, writer and founder of food tour company Culinary Backstreets. “Regionality is a really important subject, the migration of people from all over Turkey to Istanbul for economic reasons, or to escape dangerous places in the country in previous decades,” he adds. Read and watch more

Tantalise my taste buds We started walking through the neighborhood that once had been home to religious minority groups during the Ottoman empire and still maintained its soul. Read more 

Untitled-17 We absolutely loved everything about our experience with Dnez and Asun on the Shop, Cook, Feast Tour. Dnez is a delight and it was lovely to visit the shops in the residential neighborhood and try some small samples while she explained about the culture and the food. We then went to Aysin’ s home where Asun had already been preparing for our visit. After having tea and chatting we began our lesson. We helped prepare 6 lovely dishes that we thoroughly enjoyed while Asun and Dnez demonstrated and explained the lesson. With our delicious dinner we had wine and then enjoyed thepleasant company and Aysin’ s absolutely lovely home. We can’ t wait to try these delicious recipes at home. This was 1 tour of many that we took on a 12 night cruise and it was one of the best things we did on our entire vacation. I would happily do it again and would highly recommend it to everyone. Read more

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