CuisineAmericanNYC Foods and Dining Experiences: A Guide for First-Time Travelers

NYC Foods and Dining Experiences: A Guide for First-Time Travelers

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

The Big Apple, known for its exciting history, its vibrant cultural scene, and of course, its food scene. If you can’t get the dish you are looking for in NYC, the chances are that you won’t find it anywhere else in the world! From its beginnings as a Dutch colony to the thriving, modern metropolis that it is today, New York has always had a penchant for standing out among most other cities in the US. Food is no different, and due to its history being shaped by the myriad of cultures that have called NYC their home, you can find almost all types of food imaginable. 

However, the range of restaurants and eateries can be bewildering for first-time travelers, which is where this post comes in. By the time you have finished reading, you will be confident in choosing the more delicious food on offer, from hotdog stands to Michelin-starred cuisine; you will be comfortable finding something to eat for every occasion.

NYC: A Brief Food History

Immigration has been a part of the history of New York since its inception. The first immigrants who arrived in New York were Native Americans, who were the first to settle in North America and colonize this region.

As a result of this influx of disparate cultures, New York became a melting pot in more ways than one. For example, the first European settlers brought several European foods to New York City in 1624. It was difficult for them to adjust to the new ingredients and cooking techniques they encountered here, but one thing never changed: their need for nourishment. 

Since the first European settlers brought over their specific foods, numerous others have made NY their home and, as a result, integrated their foods into society. This can now be seen in the multiple styles of food on offer, from Mongolian khorkhog to Italian pizza! Considering the above, where do you begin to look if you want to indulge your taste buds in this most American of cities?

traditional dinner cruise

Take A Traditional Dinner Cruise

This is more of a way to consume food rather than a specific food, but a cruise can be the perfect way to get your culinary tour of NYC off to a great start. By booking a river cruise, you will be able to take in the sights of the city while eating a beautifully prepared dish.

The type of food you will receive on your dinner cruise in NY will vary depending on what you have chosen, but most offer some form of European dish that has been tailored to an American palate. However, you should make sure to book in advance because these are some of the most popular tours in the city, and they usually sell out fast, especially during warmer months.

Experience Life As A 19th Century Eastern European

Delis are part of the fabric of New York, and their origins come from the mass immigration of Eastern Europeans, primarily Jewish people, during the 19th Century. One of the most famous is Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side, which serves a mouth-watering array of foods. The most notable is a mountain of pastrami served in a sourdough bread with lashings of mustard. Great for your taste buds but perhaps not so gert for your waistline!

difference between italian and italian

Taste The Difference Between Italian And Italian!

In addition to the mass of Jews who fled to New York during this period, there was an influx of Italians seeking a fresh start in the Never Sleeping City. They bought a wide range of culinary delights with them and arguably made pizza and pasta as famous as it is today. You have the option to choose upscale restaurants that offer traditional cuisine just as it was in the old country or to find an adaptation made by descendants of the original immigrants. These adaptations have been adapted to suit local tastes over time.

Visit A Chinese Restaurant For A Taste Of The Orient

Although Chinese food has been popular in New York since the 1800s, it has evolved to become more Americanized over time. Nevertheless, you can still find many restaurants that serve traditional dishes made in the same way as it has been for centuries. It is also common to see different versions of food from Cantonese to Shenzhen and Tibetan if you search around. As long as you put the work in, you should find something from the four corners of China somewhere within the city limits!

Find Out More About Japanese Food Than Sushi

As with all other ethnicities and cultures in the city, the Japanese have a long history in New York and the US in general. As a result, you will not be starved for Japanese food ranging from pretty awful to world-class. Moreover, you will find more to it than mere sushi. Many Japanese restaurants serve dishes ranging from teriyaki to curries, and you will find almost anything you want if you ask around.

Sate Your Conscious Cravings With Moroccan 

Moroccan food is a unique cuisine that has its roots in the Berber culture. It is considered a symbol of hospitality and tradition. Moroccan food also has an extensive range of dishes, including couscous, tagine, tajine, pastilla, brik, tahini, and many others.

The main ingredients used to make Moroccan food are meat or chicken, vegetables and herbs with spices such as turmeric or cumin. While all North African foods are delicious, something mystical about Moroccan food sets it apart from others and makes it worth seeking out. Luckily, there are numerous Moroccan restaurants to choose from and also range from standard fare to something like Casa La Femme, which fuses the best parts of southern Mediterranian cuisine into something spectacular.

Indulge In Greek And Turkish Cuisine

OK, so this might sound sacrilegious to most Greeks and Turks, but their foods are far more similar than they would like to admit. Nonetheless, this is not a criticism; they also happen to be some of the most delicious foods on the planet. You can find many restaurants serving these dishes throughout the five boroughs and are typically still made traditionally.

So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of just some of the culinary delights that you can find in NYC. From Japanese to Greek, there is something for everyone. While the foods might be disparate in taste, their untying feature is that they are all delicious and worth your time.

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