10 Foods That Made New York Famous and The Best Place to Try Them
New York City is famous for its diverse immigrant cultures which have added their flavors to an array of multi-diverse foods from around the world. An abundant cluster of dishes has marked the big apple as a hotspot to try many delicious meals that make NYC the life of the party. Dear reader, continue on to discover what these famous New York foods are and discover some of the top spots in the city to try them.
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Pizza is the iconic dish of New York City; a greasy slice perfectly baked with the right amount of sauce and melted mozzarella, the easy go-to and comfort for lunch, dinner, and a 2 am Saturday night snack after a night exploring the city’s endless offerings. Across the boroughs, restaurants offer quality slices to nosh on. Since NYC and pizza go hand in hand, there isn’t just one spot you cannot pass up. Check out Lombardi’s, the first pizza shop to ever open in NYC and enjoy a classic slice. If you are up for something a little gourmet, head on over to L’Industrie for impeccably crafted pizza topped with prosciutto and truffle
New Yorkers know that they can easily find fantastic sushi in casual or top-tier restaurants in any borough. Plentiful sushi spots are a nod to the cultural love of diverse cuisines offered in the city. Try no-frills choices like an eel cucumber roll or a jazzed-up option with tempura fried oysters, masago, and yuzu sauce. If you’re looking for a sushi spot that won’t dent your bank account check out Douska for a laid-back dining experience with fresh and deliciously simple rolls. If your taste buds are set on the high end, dine at Masa or Sushi Noz for exquisitely crafted sushi served omakase-style. Be sure to make a reservation for these two!
Flickr by: Wally Gobetz
Bagels are a beloved NYC staple. What makes them famous to the big apple is the city’s water source which flows down from the Catskills and Hudson Valley. NYC water is soft, meaning it’s low in certain minerals. This soft water relaxes the gluten in the dough, creating a bagel that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Hard water is common in most cities and toughens the gluten making a snack with less finesse. These breads are partially boiled before baking, creating that sheen on the outside. Bagels are a go-to for any classic New York meal, smear with a bit of cream cheese, add some lox, make a sandwich or eat it plain. The next time you’re in NYC and craving this Jewish-American classic, make a stop at Absolute Bagels. Don’t let the long lines deter you; they move quickly.
Pastrami and Corned Beef
Pastrami is a Jewish American classic served as a sandwich, while corned beef conjures up an Irish background. These two sliced types of meat are remarkably similar but have different cooking methods and spices used in each of their two respective recipes. This umami favorite can be found in delis across the city. Head over to the famous Katz’s Delicatessen for a mile-high pastrami or corned beef sandwich customized to your liking. Eat it plain or with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Reuben dressing.
Food Trucks and Street Meat
Wikimedia Commons by: Tdorante10
New York City is well known for its delicious convenience of food trucks and street meat. Colorful trucks dot the city in every borough offering juicy dishes like lobster rolls, Korean bibimbap, Indian specialties, and nearly every cuisine imaginable. If you’re after Indian food, go for NY Dosas. These are savory and crepe-like, made from a fermented batter of lentils and rice, served with chutneys and a side of spicy soup. Halal tends to fall under the category of street meat with dishes like gyros, chicken and rice, and kebabs. For a meal you’ll eat every bite of, check out The Halal Guys and order falafel for later. If you want something south of the border but not your standard fare, head on over to Shúkos Somas Diez Guatemala to enjoy a meal that will make you forget everything else you ate that week.
New York City hot dog stands have been around for well over one hundred years, making them a famous big apple sight. Today both stands and trucks are selling hot dogs. A traditional NYC-style dog is topped with spicy brown mustard and sauerkraut or sauteed onions cooked with tomato paste. Beef hot dogs are a popular choice, and some places may offer turkey dogs and veggie dogs. Check out Billy’s Hot Dog Cart in Central Park West or Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar for a sit-down bite and a highly rated hot dog.
Pierogies aren’t something you’ll find everywhere, but they are quintessential NYC food and a popular item in NYC Jewish cuisine. This Polish dish with Ukrainian leanings has found its way into the hearts of New Yorkers. This is an authentic comfort food dumpling made of thin dough stuffed with cheese and potatoes or meat. The pierogi is crispy and soft and often served with a dollop of sour cream, cottage cheese, or onions. To dine on this favorite, check out Veselka with a sleek wood interior with top-notch pierogies that will not disappoint. Or head over to Little Poland Restaurant with casual appeal, affordability, and perfectly mouth-watering pierogies.
The hero sandwich is a Northern East Coast favorite with NYC roots. Named the hero because of its large size, this sandwich has been around since 1936. This hefty combo can be found in many varieties served on a bread roll with deli meats, fresh or sauteed veggies, and various sauces and toppings. If you’re craving a hearty lunch, head over to Lioni Italian Heroes in Brooklyn with sandwich names like “Joe Pesci” or “Danny Devito.”
NYC boasts some of the best ramen shops in the U.S. This dish has Chinese roots and a strong Japanese influence. Long gone are the days when the only ramen was just a reheated noodle packet sold for less than a dollar a pop.
In the past decade, ramen has exploded in popularity. This bowl of noodles served in a steaming hot broth with meat, fish, soy-cured eggs, mushrooms, and any number of delicious ingredients will warm the soul and the body.
Knishes are like little doughy pillows stuffed with mashed potatoes and tenderly wrapped in a shiny crust. They are a go-to New York comfort food and have ties to Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and Poland. Across the city, knishes grace delis, bakeries, and restaurants. Though deep-fried, the knish is anything but greasy; a tender dough enfolds potatoes as the standard filling. Buckwheat groats, cheese, and sometimes meat accompany the stuffing.
The city that never sleeps has been made famous not just because of Broadway or the nearby statue of liberty but also because of these dishes. They are just some of what makes New York a haven for classic and innovative meals that draw locals and tourists alike to enjoy them again and again.
About The Author: Melody Miller is a writer at Perkchops. She earned her writing degree from Warren Wilson college and focuses on non-fiction, food, and the human experience. Melody spends her free time learning artistic speech formation, and going on hikes.