The opportunity to experience local food is one of my reasons to travel. The experience could be a unique type of local food, a style of food, special type of dining experience, or dining in a historically significant place.
Food is a window to understand and appreciate the people and places we are travelling. Eating is also very enjoyable ;-p
One of the oldest and largest cities in the world, New York City is a megapolis of immigrants from around the world. The food scene in New York is diverse, vibrant, creative, dynamic and enterprising in a way that only a truly global city like NYC can. Some of the Must Try foods in this electric City are New York twists of staples that come to these shores from around the globe. Others are new NYC creations. New York City has much to offer people with adventurous tastebuds.
Here are the 10 food icons that best represent New York City, and where you can try them. Taste the 10 types of signature New York City food experiences - you will understand the City better and bring home NYC memories that stay with you forever.
1. New York City Pizza
Traditional New York City style pizza is a thin bread topped with mozzarella cheese and crushed tomatoes freshly baked in 800+ °F coal fired brick ovens. The chewy bread with browned and charred edges topped with melty mozzarella cheese and juicy fresh tomato sauce is eaten by folding the thin slice in half. There is no pizza like this, outside of New York City.
Some of the best New York City pizzas are at John's Pizzeria, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Artichoke Pizza, Lombardi's Pizza, Joe's Pizza, Prince Street Pizza, Juliana's, Paulie Gee's, Luigi's Pizza, Motorino, Kesté Pizza & Vino, Bleecker Street Pizza, John's (12th Street).
2. New York City Bagels
Bagels, originally an East European staple is now synonymous with New York City. The hand pulled dough is boiled in sweetened water then baked producing a browned bread that is crispy and stiff outside while yeasty and chewy inside.
Get your NYC bagels at Russ & Daughters, Black Seed Bagels, Ess-A-Bagel, Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee, Zuckers Bagels and Smoked Fish.
3. Hot Dogs
Because, hotdogs were invented in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City in the 1800s ;-D
NYC's favourite hot dogs are at Crif Dogs, Katz's Deli, Gray's Papaya, Papaya King, Shake Shack.
4. New York City Cakes, Pastries, Sweets and Confectionaries
To me, the sweets and cakes of New York reflect the vibrant colours, creative energy and enterprise of this electric City. Many food trends like cronuts, cupcakes and so on that resonate around the world started here, surprisingly, often in humble mom and pop type of bakeries.
Junior's Cheesecake, Magnolia Bakery (cupcake), Dominique Ansel (cronut), Eileen's Special Cheesecake, Two Little Red Hens (cheesecake), Lady M Confection (mille crepe cake), Doughnut Plant, DOUGH (doughnut), Jacques Torres Chocolate, Ample Hill (ice cream), Momofuku Milk Bar.
If Americans are to vote for a national dish, many would choose the hamburger. New Yorkers are proud of their hamburgers and the local favourites are at Shake Shack, Corner Bistro, Burger Joint, The Breslin, Spotted Pig, Minetta Tavern, Peter Luger, Burger Heaven, Brindle Room, J.G. Melon.
6. General Tso's Chicken
An iconic Chinese American dish of tender cubed chicken meat wrapped in deep fried crispy batter tossed in a gooey spicy sweet savoury sauce. The dish's origins are obscure but New York City is usually attributed to be it's American birthplace. While General Tso's chicken is commonly served in Chinese eateries in America, it is not found outside of USA.
Some General Tso's chicken that I have tried in New York City are here. (I am not really a fan of GTC taste wise but it's an interesting American food culture experience.)
7. New York City Food in the Movies
Since the advent of movies and television, New York City has been the setting of many Hollywood blockbusters and hit TV shows. Movie buffs and TV fans trace the food steps of their idols and have fun eating at the eateries where the stars walked and ate ;-D
Katz's Deli (Where Harry Met Sally), Joe's Pizza (Spider-Man 2), Gray's Papaya (Fools Rush In), Papaya King, Nom Wah (Spider-Man 3), Serendipity 3 (Serendipity), Lenny's Pizza (Saturday Night Fever).
8. Food Trucks
Walking down the skyscraper lined avenues of New York City, we are often greeted by aromas of spicy fried chicken, roasting honey nuts, and baking eggy waffles. Street food culture is very much alive and well in the business capital of the world. Eating off a NYC food truck is an unique street level dining experience you may want to take home ;-D
Some of the best New York food trucks are Halal Guys, Wafels & Dingles, NY Dosas, Cinnamon Snail.
9. Egg Cream
If there is one beverage that represents New York City, it is egg cream.
Traditionally, an authentic New York City egg cream is made with 3 ingredients: Fox's u-bet chocolate syrup, ice cold milk, and Seltzer water (dispensed from a soda fountain). Despite the name, there is neither egg nor cream in the iconic beverage. It's basically a chocolate milk fizzy drink found only in New York City.
Authentic egg cream is a New York City food relic that is getting harder to find. Get it here before it is too late.
10. Other NYC Food Experiences
New York City food is way too diverse to fit into a few neat categories. Let's forget about getting it all orgainsed and enjoy the messy harmony where a thousand cuisines bloom in the great City.
Here are other good eats in NYC worth checking out - Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Eataly, Great N.Y. Noodletown, Jing Fong Restaurant, Noodle Village, Tasty Hand-pulled Noodles, Shu Jiao Fu Zhou, Big Wong, Spicy Village Noodles, Spicy Village, Nom Wah Tea Parlour, Parisi Bakery, Xi'an Famous Food, Katz's Delicatessen, Takashi, Peter Luger Steak House, Minca Ramen, Ramen-Ya Ramen, Ivan Ramen, Momofuku Pork Bun, Momofuku Ramen, Totto Ramen, Ippudo Ramen, Bassanova Ramen, Lupe's, Mighty Quinn's BBQ.
A part of New York City stays with you when you taste these foods. So, don't leave NYC without trying these unique New York City experiences.
Please bookmark this page as I am updating this post regularly with New York's best.
Date visited: Nov 2014 to Jan 2015.
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