Six Things You’ve Gotta Eat in NYC

September 26, 2008 by  

In the movies you see so many New Yorkers eating street food from vendors. And it is not difficult to get a hot dog in the city, that’s for sure. But to have a more thorough New York culinary experience, I recommend trying these six meals that won’t break the bank while you’re in the city.

6. Bagels and lox

A great way to start any visit to a new city is to take some time to walk around and get a feel for the place. New York City’s Central Park is a great place to spend some time.

Why not grab a bagel and lox (or one of the many flavoured cream cheeses available) from a deli and have your morning meal alfresco while you watch kids play softball. There’s even lox cream cheese. Don’t forget the coffee!

5. Empanadas

If you’re in the East Village and need a snack, a great little shop to check out is Ruben’s Empanadas. Empanadas, if you’re not familiar, are the South American take on the meat pie. These little pastry pockets have a great selection of fillers — and it’s not only meat. There’s broccoli, spinach and tofu, mushroom and many other non-meat options.

It’s nothing flashy: there’s counter service, a couple tables and stools by the window. But they cost around $4 each and they’re ready to eat in an instant.

4. Korean BBQ

New York has a vibrant Korean neighbourhood (K-Town) and that means great Korean food. Don’s Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar is a sleek spot to hit for an authentic Korean experience. The wait staff is really helpful and will do most of the cooking for you on the table-top grill.

My favourite part of a Korean spread is the many side dishes. When you order your meal, various types of kimchi will start to appear on your table.

Don’t forget to order some Soju, Korea’s native alcohol. It’s usually around 20 percent alcohol and it’s a bit sweet so it’s a great compliment to spicy food. You can drink it straight from a shot glass, but remember to have someone else pour it for you — that’s a Korean custom.

3. Steak

What would a trip to New York be without a big, fat New York steak? It is a meal that must be had while you’re in the city.

Check out Houston’s at E53rd and Lexington. As you walk downstairs to enter the restaurant and you get a preview of your meal in the open kitchen. You’ll probably have to wait for a table in the crowded bar, but it’s a great change to get an up-close view of the live jazz band.

Steak isn’t the only thing on offer at Houston’s, you can also have ribs, chicken, salmon, pork chops or prime rib. But why stray from a juicy steak and a loaded baked potato?

2. Pizza

There is ample choice in New York when it comes to pizza. Ask five people and you’ll get five different answers for their favourite city slice.

A popular place for many generations has been Lombardi’s. Founded in 1905, it claims the title of America’s first pizza parlour. As a first-timer in the city, you might as well start with the original pie.

It’s a busy place with a cozy atmosphere and they serve up thin, crispy pizza with a bit of black soot from the coal oven. Don’t fear the long lines. We thought we were in for a long wait, but we barely had time to sip a drink at the bar before the hostess led us to our red-and-white checked table.

1. Chinese

Chinatown has a lot to offer visitor and local alike. A really cool treat to discover is the soup dumpling. Head to Joe’s Shanghai to taste for yourself. They’re tightly wrapped packages that are filled with pork and steaming hot broth. You scoop them up and puncture them, allowing some of the steam to be let out. Then you slurp out the soup and eat the rest. What you order for your main course is up to you, but these dumplings are a must.

And an insider tip: if the line is too long at Joe’s Shanghai, head a few doors down to Joe’s Ginger. You can get the same scorching delights there, but you usually don’t have as long to wait for them.


Ruben’s Empanadas
(212) 979-0172
122 1st Ave
(Between 7th St and St Marks Pl)
New York, NY

Dons Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar
(212) 683-2200
17 E 32nd St
(Between Fifth and Madison Avenue)
New York, NY

(212) 888-3828
153 E 53rd St
(E53rd St and Lexington Avenue)
New York, NY

(212) 941-7994
32 Spring St
(Spring St and Lafayette St)
New York, NY

Joe’s Shanghai
(212) 233-8888
9 Pell St
New York, NY


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