Trying new foods while traveling can be one of the best parts of a trip, especially when you head out to places as full of their own traditional foods as New York City. The sheer size of the city and long history make it one of the best places on the East Coast to take a foodie vacation; so many different immigrants brought their own foods that you’ll simply find no shortage of new foods to try. Try a traditional Jewish soup followed up by a sweet treat with a Bavarian background. If you are traveling to New York City, these are some of the culinary mainstays of the region that you absolutely have to try! Read on to discover traditional food in New York City, USA.
1. New York-style pizza
Almost everyone loves pizza. Pizza has been crafted in unique ways around the world, allowing different locations to lay claim to specific styles. New York is known for their own style of pizza that has a thick outer crust and thin crust underneath the toppings. It is also hand-tossed. These pizzas are cut into the traditional triangle shape and are designed to be folded in half when you eat them. Make sure to grab an authentic slice in one of the pizza places while you’re here!
Address: 1435 Broadway, New York, NY 10002, United States
Website: Joe’s Pizza
Opening hours: Sun - Wed: 10am - 3am; Thu - Sat: 10am - 4am
Bagels were introduced in the early 1800s, being brought as a traditional food from Poland by Ashkenazi Jews. A kind of food that has influenced the entire American culture, the influence of bagels as a staple food item spread rapidly especially after the 1950s. Although it might be something you’ve already tasted, make sure to try a fresh-baked New York-style bagel while here. You won’t go wrong with adding lox to your bagel, authentically New York-style!
Russ & Daughters
Address: 179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002, United States
Website: Russ & Daughters
Opening hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (daily)
3. Pastrami and corned beef sandwich
Both pastrami and corned beef tend to come from the same cut of meat, usually a brisket, though their methods of preparation are quite different. Pastrami is typically smoked after being cured with a dry rub while corned beef tends to be cured in a brine and is never smoked. Mix the two together with some rye bread. This, folks, gets you a delicious pastrami and corned beef sandwich.
Lienman's Kosher Deli
Address: 552 W. 235th St., Bronx NY 10463
Website: LIebman’s Kosher Deli
Price: 22.95 USD
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4. Matzo ball soup
This soup is one of the best foods to try while you’re in New York City. Having an Ashkenazi Jewish origin, the soup’s dumplings are made of matzah meal, eggs, water, and some form of fat. The soup itself is typically chicken-based and can include other additions such as carrots and celery. During preparation, the soup should be at a steady boil when adding the dumplings; lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, during which time the dumplings will swell in size.
Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop
Address: 174 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Website: Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop
Price: 4.00 USD (small)
5. Hot dog
You’d be hard pressed to find a more American entree than the hot dog. The traditional hot dog is comprised of a sausage situated in a length-wise bun, topped with various condiments, including mustard, ketchup, horseradish, and cheese. Try the New York hot dog which is typically dressed with mustard, sauerkraut and onions.
Liebman's Kosher Deli
Address: 552 W 235th St, Bronx, NY 10463
Website: Liebman’s Kosher Deli
Price: 4.75 USD
6. Manhattan clam chowder
Manhattan clam chowder is a tomato-based soup (as opposed to a cream based Boston clam chowder) that will keep you warm on a cold New England night. The soup features spices like garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and parsley with staple ingredients that include potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and, of course, clams. It is interesting to note that while the dish carries the city Manhattan in its name, the chowder actually originated from nearby Rhode Island.
Randazzo's Clam Bar
Address: 2017 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11235
Website: Randazzo’s Clam Bar
Price: 7.00 USD
7. Fried chicken and waffles
While fried chicken and waffles may sound like a relatively new concoction of sweet and delicious foods, the paired entrees actually have a much longer history than you might expect. Dating back to at least the 1860s, it was popular to serve the waffles with chicken and a gravy for the Sunday meal. These days, the dish has become known more like a soul food, with the waffle being served as you would normally take a breakfast waffle, with butter and maple syrup.
Address: 178 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
Website: Sweet Chick
Price: 19.00 USD
8. Black and white cookie
A cookie known by many names, including half and half cookies or half moon cookies, these tasty treats are unapologetically delicious and can trace their roots to Bavarian immigrants to New York City itself. This cookie is always round, and it is half frosted with a chocolate icing while the other half is a vanilla frosting. Some variations include a cake base instead of a shortbread base, or having one side’s frosting being higher than the other.
Russ & Daughters
Address: 127 Orchard St, New York, New York 10002
Website: Russ & Daughters
Price: 2.50 USD
9. New York-style cheesecake
While most cheesecakes rely on cream cheese and eggs as the primary ingredients, the New York style cheesecake uses heavy cream or sour cream, giving it a dense and creamy consistency. Making the cake in this manner allows for an ease in freezing the cake for future events or occasions. The New York style cheesecake can be served plain or with any number of toppings, including berry compotes or whole berries, chocolate Ganaches or caramel sauce.
Two Light Red Hens
Address: 1652 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Website: Two Little Red Hens
Price: 29.00 USD
While the true origins of the hamburger remain in dispute (many say it comes from Germany), one thing about the hamburger is not disputable: how delicious they are. The hamburger is made of a fried, grilled or flame-broiled patty of ground meat, usually beef, and is placed on a sesame seed bun. What makes the hamburger great is how customizable the topping can be: typical vegetable toppings include lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion, while condiments include mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup. Don’t forget to add some cheese!
Address: 1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021
Website: JG Melon
Price: 11.50 USD
11. Bacon, egg & cheese
While the name might not imply it, the bacon, egg & cheese is, in fact, a sandwich, and a rather infamous one at that. This versatile sandwich can be made in any number of ways, with a mixture of how the eggs are cooked (from two scrambled eggs to one egg over easy) to which bread keeps it together - bagels and rye toast are popular choices. Available sometimes simply as ‘the breakfast sandwich’ on some restaurant menus, the bacon, egg & cheese is the best way to start off a morning in New York City.
Address: 148 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Website: BEC NYC
Price: 8.50 USD
12. Soft pretzel
With it’s iconic, twisted shape, you’ll always know a pretzel when you see it. If you’ve never had a soft pretzel, you may be in for more of a treat than you realize. While crunchy pretzels are a great snack, there is something undeniably cozy and inviting about having a freshly prepared, warm soft pretzel. You can get these delicious snacks as a savory item or sweet, with common flavors being original (think crunchy pretzel flavored, except soft and warm), jalapeno cheddar or cinnamon sugar.
Address: 2268 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030
Website: Harlem Hops
Price: 9.00 USD
Eat like a New Yorker
Delicious food may seem like it’s around every corner in New York City - that’s because it is! For the most authentic food experience in the city, these are some of the absolute must-try foods. There are also other fancy restaurants and sushi restaurants to check out for more dining options.
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