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When I was in Japan I found this website that matches travellers with locals in various cities who host them for dinner and I thought it was a great travel experience. I'm wondering if there's any similar service in Turkey where I'm planning to go next.

I found this proposed service but I'm less interested in a packaged tour or anything commercial. The idea is to be able to find locals or a family in places around Turkey, meet in homes and try real homemade Turkish food, socialize with them etc.

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    I swear, I read the title almost 10 times trying to give a sense at that mess of words put in the wrong order and missing verbs and subjects. Then I realized you were not referring to the bird, and the entire sentence suddendly had a sense :-D – motoDrizzt Sep 26 '16 at 15:09
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    Rumour has it that in some parts of the world, there exists a thing called hospitality (NB: not to be confused with an entirely unrelated business buzzword of the same spelling) and if a stranger passes by, he or she will be invited. – gerrit Sep 26 '16 at 15:13
  • @gerrit being invited is one thing, imposing and hoping to be hosted for dinner is something else. – blackbird Sep 26 '16 at 15:15
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    @blackbird Perhaps so. I would tend to agree with you. My French friend walked/cycled/donkeyd from Marseille (France) to Zavkhanmandal (Mongolia) and they many times ate and stayed at local peoples place, which was their aim. I would also feel embarrassed for imposing and hoping but he told me their hosts did not view it that way. It's not something I would ever do myself, though. – gerrit Sep 26 '16 at 15:20
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    @gerrit it's certainly cultural, I know in some places these things are less transactional. I would feel terrible freeloading on someone's hospitality out of nowhere, but somehow the token fee charged by the website makes it more acceptable... – blackbird Sep 26 '16 at 15:29
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Local here.

I searched almost a week for this issue and I couldn't find local servise exactly like Nagomi visit for Turkey. I think there isn't such a local service. Both JonathanReez and fkraiem's answers are quite close what you said by the way. Also, I found a web site called https://www.voulezvousdiner.com.

From their FAQ:

What are the benefits of booking through VoulezVousDîner.com?

When you book a dinner at www.voulezvousdiner.com, you are sure to be greeted by hosts selected for their sense of hospitality, around a quality meal, prepared exclusively with fresh products (see our Quality Charter). With VoulezVousDiner, you can choose your dinner and hosts based on a number of criteria. It’s a way to share cultural perspectives, anecdotes and common interests (hobbies, sports, travel, professional activities, etc.) around a menu. It’s an opportunity to discover a new way of life, immerse yourself in a local culture and establish new friendly contacts.

You can search for Istanbul with https://www.voulezvousdiner.com/en/search?lat=41.0082376&lng=28.97835889999999&location=Istanbul%2C+%C4%B0stanbul%2C+Turkey&datemin= for example.

After you get their address and phone numbers, you can ask them to prepare together if it is possible. They probably won't say no.

Foods looks delicious by the way.

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Albeit aimed at people looking for homestays, HomestayWeb has some registered hosts in Turkey, who might also be interested in just sharing a meal.

  • Ah brilliant ! I have no experience with homestays, is it common for people to just share a meal instead of being hosted or does that go against the expectation ? – blackbird Oct 15 '16 at 20:22
  • @blackbird I don't think there's any problem with contacting them, saying you are just looking to share a meal, and asking if they're interesred. – fkraiem Oct 15 '16 at 20:24
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How about booking a room (or even a shared room) on Airbnb? Not only you will get to eat dinner with the 'locals', but you would even get to spend the night at a Turkish apartment.

airbnb istanbul

Just make sure to contact the host in advance to confirm you will be sharing the apartment, not just renting a room in a makeshift hostel.

A second option is to contact some locals on Couchsurfing — plenty of people are happy to meet-up with tourists and I'm sure a few would be glad to have a dinner with you, especially if you pay for the expenses.

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