Review: Melbourne Turkish food tours explore culture and cuisine along Sydney Road

The sharing of food is an important part of most cultures, which makes food tours a great way to connect with cultural tradition. Join this Turkish food walking tour along Sydney Road in Melbourne's inner-north for a delicious introduction to one of the city's most multicultural precincts. Review: Adam Ford

Melbourne Turkish food tours

Melbourne Turkish food tours

4.5 stars

Melbourne Turkish food tours with Foodie Trails

These fabulous Melbourne Turkish food tours along Sydney Road in Brunswick will introduce you to some of the oldest Turkish restaurants in the city. You’ll enjoy a progressive lunch at three superb family owned eateries, and learn more about Turkish culture and customs along the way. Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.

It was back in the mid 70s when that mainstay of school fundraising committees, the progressive dinner party, was at the height of its popularity.

It was about the same time that the original Turkish restaurants of Melbourne’s bustling Sydney Road began opening their doors. This shared moment in history made a comeback for me this week, as I tagged along on one of the fabulous Melbourne Turkish food tours along Sydney Road in Melbourne with Foodie Trails.

For the uninitiated (or way too young to remember), the progressive dinner involved moving from one location to another for each course of the meal (soup, entrée, main, dessert etc). So it is on these Melbourne Turkish food tours. You’ll visit three different Turkish food outlets for three different courses, and gain a greater understanding of Melbourne’s cultural diversity as part of the deal.

After meeting our guide Himanshi at the appointed time, we head for the first stop on these Melbourne Turkish food tours. Our ‘starter’ – or ‘meze’ – of dips and freshly baked Turkish bread is served at the Golden Terrace Turkish Restaurant, which was established in 1976. I’ve walked this strip hundreds of times but I’ve never even noticed this place. That’s one of the amazing things about doing a guided tour like this in your home city. It causes you to zone in on stuff you normally wouldn’t focus on.

The sharing of meze – or small plates – at the start of a meal is a popular tradition in Turkish culture and can go on for some considerable time. Each of the dips we try has its own unique characteristics and there’s seriously nothing like Turkish bread that’s just come out of the wood-fired oven.

Melbourne Turkish food tours

Melbourne Turkish food tours

The next stop on these Sydney Road food tours is Alasya Turkish Restaurant (circa 1978) for main course – a selection of kebab meats, dolmas (mince and spices wrapped in cabbage) and my absolute favourite dish of the day – stuffed pides. Wow.

Here, Himanshi takes the time to tell us more about the history of Turkish cuisine and the various geographic and historic forces that have shaped the food we’re enjoying today.

Alasya prepare and bake everything on site. You can watch the pastry workers in action and there are glass cabinets packed with baklavas and Turkish delight. But there’s no time to indulge just yet.

Melbourne Turkish food tours

Melbourne Turkish food tours. Image: Adam Ford

Further down Sydney Road and we pay a visit to a Turkish grocery and spice market. Again, I would never usually walk into a shop like this. It just wouldn’t occur to me to do it. But we’re made to feel more than welcome and it’s fascinating to browse the colourful products on offer.

It’s on to Balha Bakery for the final course on these Melbourne Turkish food tours. We enjoy a selection of sweet, sticky baklavas. Judging by the crowds in the shop, it’s no secret just how indescribably good these pastries are.

Melbourne Turkish food tours

Melbourne Turkish food tours. Image: Adam Ford

For Melbourne residents that pride themselves on their knowledge of the city’s fabulous food scene, these Melbourne Turkish food tours are a must. For visitors, this is the perfect way to get a taste of Melbourne’s extraordinary cultural diversity.

You can return to the glory days of the progressive dinner party in the process.

Adam travelled as a guest of Foodie Trails.

Additional images: Bigstock


Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is a travel TV presenter, producer, writer, blogger and photographer, and has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. Adam lived in London for six years and worked as a travel consultant for three years before taking up the opportunity to travel the world as host of the Tour the World television series on Network Ten. Adam loves to uncover everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hanoi. He regards himself as a flash-packer – a little bit of extra comfort goes along way!

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