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8 Quintessential New York Delicacies You Shouldn’t Miss When Visiting the Big Apple

When visiting New York City, you simply can’t skip out on sampling the city’s most delectable dishes and treats. New York is a place where people from different walks of life and cultures collide, so it’s no surprise that its food scene is as diverse as its locals. If you’re interested in taking a gastronomic adventure across NYC, you might be overwhelmed by the number of restaurants and food options you’ll see. Fortunately, you can get a good taste of all the flavors of New York by trying out 8 classic and unique dishes you can only find in the city. 

Before you start your journey, however, you need to make sure that your hotel is located in or near one of New York City’s neighborhoods that offer great selections of eats. For example, if you want to check out the fares in Manhattan, you can book a room in Westgate Hotel in Manhattan, giving you prime access to the borough’s popular restaurants and shops. Once you’ve checked in and unpacked your bags, the next thing you need to do is go out and seek for the following delectable delights.

  1. New York Hot Dog

The hot dog is undeniably one of the most iconic foods in New York City. You can find them being sold on a cart down the street, a restaurant and bar on the next block, or a delicatessen in the heart of the city. The New York hot dog is known for its juicy and satisfying snap. Plus, they’re always sold in a bun, so it’s easy to get that perfect first bite. 

When it comes to hot dog toppings, everyone has their favorite. Some New Yorkers will say that nothing beats mustard while others aren’t afraid to top their dogs with sauerkraut or onions. The hot dog is one of the most delicious treats you can find anywhere in NYC, so it has to be the first thing you should get when in New York.

  1. New York Bagel

The bagel is a popular item a lot of New Yorkers have for breakfast. Their crunchy exterior paired with their dense and chewy interior make bagels a great canvass for toppings like cream cheese, lox, and avocado and poached egg. According to legend, New York bagels get their unique taste and texture from the city’s water supply. However, it’s also due to the fact that bagels are boiled in water first before they’re baked. 

Chances are, you’ve had some type of bagel elsewhere, but it’s likely that it’s made from machines. What makes New York City’s bagels special is that they’re hand-rolled, adding that extra touch of perfection with every bagel sold.

  1. New York Pizza

Although Italy is credited for creating pizza, people can’t deny that some of the best slices they’ve had were from the many pizzerias in New York. The New York City pizza is best known for its large size and hand-tossed thin crust, giving customers their money’s worth with every bite.

You can get New York pizzas in a variety of flavors, from the traditional cheese and pepperoni to quirky toppings like mac ‘n’ cheese and crab meat. They also come in different types, like the classic triangular New York slice, the square-cut Sicilian New York Slice, or the smaller, personal size of Neapolitan pizzas. Pizza is definitely one of the most popular and most recognizable foods in the city, so do whatever you can to grab yourself a slice.

  1. Pastrami on Rye

You can’t compare pastrami on rye with the other sandwiches you can find in New York. Pastrami on rye is a quintessential Jewish American classic, one that has been dubbed as New York’s signature sandwich. This simple sandwich’s humble origins can be traced back to a Lithuanian immigrant named Sussman Volk, who created this sandwich in 1888. Today, you can find pastrami on rye sandwiches in the different delicatessens spread across New York City.

Pastrami on rye consists of delicate slices of pastrami, spicy mayo, and rye bread. It’s typically accompanied by kosher dill pickles on the side.

  1. Pork Buns

The popular pork buns in New York City are unlike the traditional pork buns you get in Chinese restaurants. Instead of being served in dumpling-like pouches, the pork buns in NYC are eaten like a taco. 

Pork buns in New York are made with a soft and pillowy clam-shaped bao, which is filled with one or two slices of tender pork belly. The pork buns are then accompanied by a variety of accoutrements, but the most popular combination is a swipe of hoisin sauce, pickled cucumbers, scallion snips, and sriracha sauce. This savory treat is a must-have if you’re craving for spicy, sour, and savory flavors, as well as quality pork belly that just melts in your mouth.

  1. Manhattan Clam Chowder

The Manhattan style clam chowder is far different from its white and creamy counterpart. This is because the Manhattan clam chowder is tomato-based, which means its broth boasts an eye-catching reddish tint. The Manhattan clam chowder is also made with more vegetables, throwing in celery, onions, and potatoes into the mix. The soup is then elevated with a spread of oyster crackers on top for that nice salty crunch. If you’re looking for a hearty and healthy bowl of soup in New York, the Manhattan clam chowder will satiate your appetite.

  1. Cronut

If you’re a big fan of doughnuts and croissants, then the Cronut is definitely for you. Created by Chef Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel Bakery, the Cronut is a croissant-donut hybrid that combines the best features of the two, creating a one-of-a-kind dessert that has captured the hearts of New Yorkers since 2013. Its fluffy, airy, buttery, and crunchy qualities are perfectly paired with unique flavors like rose vanilla, yellow peach black tea, and passion fruit lavender. 

However, if you want to get a Cronut from the Dominique Ansel Bakery, you need to fall in line early. It takes three days to create a Cronut, so the store only sells around 500-600 Cronuts each day to control its quality. It’s also important to note that they offer one variety of Cronut every month, which means it’s possible that you’ll only get to taste a certain Cronut flavor once in your lifetime.

  1. Black and White Cookie

The black and white cookie is a popular sweet that has become one of New York City’s mainstays. This cookie – which is essentially a drop cake – gets its name from its frosting; with one of its sides covered in vanilla and the other in chocolate. The black and white cookies’ base and frosting differ depending on which region in New York you’re in. In New York City, black and white cookies are flat, have a shortbread base, and have fondant icing. In Central New York and Boston, however, the cookies are slightly dome-shaped, come with a cake base, and use frosting instead of fondant. No matter where you purchase your black and white cookies, however, you’re sure to enjoy this sweet New York classic.

New York City has a lot of great places where you can  grab a bite, but if you want to eat like a New Yorker, there are several foods you need to try with no questions asked. These quintessential fares not only showcase the city’s unique flavors, but they also tell the story of how New York’s unique food scene came to be. Thus, ready your taste buds and enjoy a delectable New York gastronomic journey by trying out these 8 New York City delicacies.


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