Our favorite thing when visiting a new country or city for the first time is going on a food tour at the beginning of the trip. A multi-pronged approach to getting the most out of your visit, a food tour is the best way to start off your trip. First, a food tour introduces you to food you might not try otherwise. Second, the food guide also acts as a tour guide - learn about the city's history, best places to shop, and advice about being in the city. Often I find that the first day in a new city is the most challenging, because you have to learn how to navigate. A third reason for the food tour, is the guide shows you how to navigate yourself, often taking you on public transit to move your around the city and orienting you for how best to get around. Fourth - after the tour, you know how to order and what to look for during the rest of your trip. Basically it's a crash course on how best to enjoy the city. And finally, a food tour is just plain fun - good food, amazing smells, fascinating info and lots of laughs.
Delicious Istanbul Food Tour with Olga was a fantastic intro to Istanbul that helped us learn more about the city's history and how to best enjoy restaurants for the rest of our stay. The tour gave us a reason to take a ferry across the Bosporus, and we walked around the Asian side of Istanbul and wondered around fresh food markets. One highlight of the tour included the pickle store - which sold pickled everything, even pickled meat.