Although there are various studies that explore tourist behavior in certain settings such as travel and accommodation, the impact of local food on tourist experience is often neglected. Eating is a physical need as well as a cultural and social activity. When tourists eat at a destination they not only satisfy their hunger but also experience the local culture and interact with their hosts. Tourists' demand for local food occur however in different levels of intensity. Some tourists travel solely for gastronomy in the region, some see local food as a by-product of their cultural experiences, and some others rather familiar food when they travel. Therefore there are differences in how tourists' approach local food consumption. This study aims to analyze the factors effecting local food demand in tourism in order to identify which tourists are interested in local food as an attraction. A questionnaire has been conducted on 105 tourists in order to reveal differences in motivational, demographic and psychological factors based on their local food experiences at various locations in the Old City district of Istanbul. Based on the analysis of data (one way and two way anova) significant differences were found between various demographic and tripographic factors on tourists' perceptions of local food. The findings of the study can be used on product design and marketing communications of restaurants and destinations with significant tourist flow in order to target the right audience. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).