New York, New York, you’re a helluva town… for someone who wants to stuff their face. The Big Apple has long been a magnet for haute restauranteurs, as well as immigrants looking to make their way in a foreign land by throwing their favorite ingredients into an unfamiliar melting pot. Any kind of food you want, any time you want it – come to New York City. Mexican fusion? Si. Barbecue? Yessir! Egg foo yong at 3 in the morning? We got you covered.
But what if you’re interested in eating local while you’re in the city that never sleeps? New York City is home to any kind of fusion cuisine you could hope to dream up, but is also known for its own, traditional cuisine. Here, a round up of treats that are all NY. Hope you <3 them as much as we do!
New York Cheesecake Sure, other countries and American cities have cheesecake, but you haven’t had cheesecake until you’ve had it in New York City. A graham cracker crust, a cream cheese-and-sour cream filling, and generous dollops of strawberries or cherries in syrup make this diner classic a must-eat.
Manhattan Clam Chowder Hit up a diner at midnight on a cold winter night and what’ll warm you up? A pipping hot bowl of Manhattan Clam Chowder, that’s what. Manhattan Clam Chowder – called New York Chowder or Fulton Fish Market chowder in the 19th century – is a thick soup made of clams, potatoes and carrots in a thin tomato broth.
Black and White Cookies The black-and-white cookie – otherwise known as the “half-and-half” – is a large, round disc of spongy shortcake iced, on one half, in vanilla fondant and on the other half, in dark chocolate fondant. Get one at a deli or a diner.
New York Pizza Even if you live in Italy, as I do, there’s still nothing like NYC-style pizza. Thin, coal-oven blackened crust and a gooey- orange amalgam of oregano-flecked tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese; you can smell it a mile away. There are plenty of terrific gourmet NYC pizza places – Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s are eternal favorites – but when you want to go real deal New York, grab a slice from your neighborhood pizza place, fold it up, and eat it on the go.
Shake Shack Who makes the best burger in New York City? It’s a ceaseless debate – in no small part due to the fact that new burger joints open up as fast as the old ones close down. Shake Shack – a burger stand that boasts fast food with gourmet ingredients (and prices….) - has become as much a part of the New York City experience as the hamburger itself ever since the original Madison Square Park location opened in 2004. Tip: head over when you’re only slightly hungry; the lines are almost always astronomically long (welcome to the city).
Chinese food in Chinatown Head downtown in Manhattan and, as you pass Houston Street, the street signs might start looking a bit strange. Hit Canal Street and ask yourself – Toto, are you in Manhattan anymore? No, Dorothy – you’re in Chinatown, where even the McDonald’s sign has Chinese writing. Load up on Chinese treats like pastries, boba tea, or dim sum. Yes, you can leave your passport back in the hotel.
Knishes Knishes – a gift from New York City’s Eastern European immigrants in the early 20th century – might just be the world’s most perfect food. Mashed potatoes mixed with onion and either baked or deep-fried to make a croquette? Don’t pass these up, please – head to Yonah Schimmel’s knish shop in the Lower East Side and enjoy paradise.
Hot Dogs We love our hot dogs in New York City, and we love ‘em served with sauerkraut, sweet-stewed onions, and mustard on top. Classic New York City hot dogs come from the many carts throughout the city, but the better quality ones come from Gray’s Papaya, Nathan’s, or any of the gourmet hot dog joints in the city, like Crif Dogs in the East Village.
Deli Sandwiches If you’ve ever wanted to see what enough meat to feed a small army looks like, head to a New York City deli, like the Carnegie Deli or Katz’s – immortalized by the iconic New York City movie, When Harry Met Sally. Mounds and mounds of sliced deli meat on New York breads like rye or pumperknickel; sandwiches so big you won’t know quite how to hold them with two hands. You’ll have what she’s having? I bet you will.
Pretzels Another gift from New York City’s rich history of culinary-minded immigrants, the German pretzel has become a New York City icon, thanks to their omnipresence in the NYC streetcart scene. Giant, soft, and covered with rock salt – admittedly, it’s difficult to get a fresh one from the carts, but if you hit jackpot, enjoy your pretzel while taking a stroll through the park.
What’s your favorite iconic New York City food?