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New York City is the mecca when it comes to delicious food. There is almost no type of cuisine that the city is missing.
You can find greats eats in all five of the cities’ boroughs, which can be attributed in part to the sheer number of immigrants that have come over and settled in the city.
When you hear about iconic New York eats you probably think of Pizza, Hot Dogs, or even Burgers. And while they are iconic, there are so many other types of food that are absolute must tries when visiting the city.
We decided to focus on the types of food itself rather than a single restaurant or place that are must tries. New York is infamous for old school haunts that have been serving up classic dishes for decades, but the city also has its fair share of “new kids on the block” – or places that have recently burst onto the culinary scene and can compete with the best of the best.
Here is our list of must try foods for your next visit to the Big Apple.
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We know – we just told you to think beyond pizza, but it wouldn’t be a list about New York city food without this being on the top of the list. When you think of New York pizza, generally you’re thinking of a very specific type- the apt named New York style slice. This style is generally made into a large pie with a reasonable thick crust and cut into wide slices. You can travel around the world and find great pizza, but only in New York can you find the best of this style.
Joe’s Pizza is usually regarded as one of the best slices that you can find. It’s a no frills city institution with a perfect slice that’s always done the right way.
If you are looking for something a little more unique you have to check out Prince Street Pizza. The Soho Square slice is covered in crispy, spicy pepperoni on top of a delicious diablo sauce. It may not be a truly traditional slice, but you will not regret a stop into this trendy pizza hotspot.
If you stroll down the streets of New York City you’re bound to notice just how many corner stores, bodegas, and deli’s we have. They truly are just about everywhere. These spots are staples in most neighborhoods and are a traditional stop for New Yorkers of all kinds to grab a quick bite to eat.
Many of these delis were started by Jewish immigrants, and are still hugely popular spots to enjoy delicious sandwiches.
Over the years a few places have stood out from the rest. They serve insanely big sandwiches of fresh, roasted meats, stacked high on typically on rye bread. While tourists pack these spots as well, it’s for a good reason, and not something to overlook.
The most storied sandwich joint in New York, Katz’s Deli has been around for years and serves up some of the best pastrami and corned beef sandwiches the city has to offer. I suggest you bring a friend along, because these sandwiches are seriously huge.
2nd Avenue Deli is not nearly as overrun with tourists as Katz’s, but the food still packs a punch. Don’t forget to get additional Jewish staples like latkes and matzo ball soup.
Bagels are another New York city food staple that you can thank Jewish immigrants for. The city is flush with bagel shops, and this delicious breakfast food extends far into the surrounding suburbs throughout the New Jersey and Connecticut tri-state area. You can grab a bagel from any bodega, street cart, or coffee shop, and it’s bound to at least be decent enough for most breakfasts.
There’s nothing more New York than stopping at a street cart to grab a cheap bagel and coffee to start your day.
But if you are looking for higher quality bagels, ones that will really knock your socks off, here is a must try spot.
Russ & Daughters is probably most famous for their bagel and lox sandwich. They have a massive variety of sturgeon and cream cheese to pair with their delicious bagels, and if you are willing to wait a bit in line it’s totally worth it.
If you are looking for a more low key stop in bagel type of place, the city also has plenty of them to offer.
Murrays is one of our favorites, with a few locations to be found throughout the city. This is a no frills type of shop that does bagels right. On a Saturday or Sunday morning there will almost certainly be a line, but it’s usually pretty manageable. It’s a great place for a grab and go breakfast on the way to work, or an ideal spot to grab a bag of bagels for the family on the weekend.
Chicken and Rice
If there is one food that makes a huge difference when you eat it out in the streets, its chicken and rice, most commonly known as “street meat”. You can find a halal food cart or truck on almost every corner of the city, and it’s been popularized over years of being a super affordable, yet delicious meal.
Nowadays you will even see the most famous spot, The Halal Guys, with stores open all throughout the country. While I have visit some of these spots and the food still tastes good, it’s not the same. You simply MUST eat this out in the street to get the full New York experience. I wouldn’t consider getting it any other way.
If you’re looking for some true New York City food, then street meat is the way to go. The Halal Guys is famous for serving a large plate of food, for a cheap price, topped with their signature white sauce, and an extremely hot red sauce. But seriously – be super careful with it, as the heat of the sauce can be shocking.
You can find the original street cart on 53rd and 6th outside the Hilton hotel. But be wary, there are tons of street carts throughout the area and city at large that try to mimic the iconic look of the Halal Guys, but serve up a sub par product. If you want the best I’d recommend the original, no matter how long the line is.
We almost finished out this list without including the iconic hot dog, but we just couldn’t do it. These city staples are must tries when visiting New York, and for good reason. Nothing hits the spot quite like a well-cooked hot dog.
While you can grab a hot dog from any stand on the street, we recommend hitting up one of the famous corner spots instead.
Grey’s Pappaya is one of the most well-known spots, serving up cheap hot dogs and interesting juice blends. It’s an authentic New York experience to walk into one of their standing only stores, grab a couple of hot dogs and a drink before being on your way.
This one is a bit of a throwback but an egg cream is a old school New York drink made up of milk, seltzer, and chocolate syrup. You can still find it in parts of Brooklyn where the drink was first made popular. If you have any trouble finding it you can always follow our recipe to make your own egg cream.
New York City food is about so much more than just the food itself, it’s about the eating culture, the experiences. Some foods can be replicated elsewhere, or even prepared at home, but it just doesn’t offer the same satisfying experience. From cheap to expensive eats, this city really does have it all. And does it all extremely well. On your next trip we suggest making sure you stop at all types of places and to get into the food scene as locals would. Your stomach will thank us.
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