The Great Melting Pot: Eating Out in New York
Cuisines: Everything from Oriental, South & Central American to Jewish and American
Top Dishes: Full fat American Breakfast, delicious bagels, New York Cheesecake
Don’t Forget: To leave the diet at the door
If your stomach is your favourite organ, you could do no better to fuel your foodie fantasies than in New York, a melting pot of cuisine’s from the different cultural groups in the city – Jewish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and the good old USA style can all be found within close reach. Food is always cooked well, service is immaculate and portions are huge so be prepared to fill your tum. Many waitresses live off tips so do tip well, usually around 15 – 20%. If it’s your first time in New York, it’s advised to start off with a starter dish, as it may well fill you up on its own. Just a few of the many unique style to try:
East European Jews were the largest group of immigrants to come to New York and most settled on the Lower East Side. It is still the best place to find kosher food like pickles with medicinal properties that clean out your oesophagus. If pickles aren’t your style, try a cherry slush from one of the street stalls.
Kosher food has strict requirements. Foods which are “un kosher” are the meat of any animal which does not both chew its cud and have a split hoof, such as rabbit or hare, pig, horse, dog or cat. Shellfish and fish living on the sea beds are also considered “un kosher”. In Kosher there is no mixing of dairy and meat e.g., an animal fat together with dairy ingredients renders the product unkosher and taints even the implements used in making it.
Bagels are the archetypal Jewish staple – and the New York Bagel company in North Dartmouth and Fall Rivers serve some of the best. A cream cheese bagel is a great breakfast and a pizza bagel is a great light lunch treat.
One of the cheapest places to eat in New York is a coffee shop or diner, and the best value is an American breakfast. For a few dollars you can get the best meal of the day with pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausages egg, toast, but best of all, plenty of steaming hot fresh coffee. Most Americans eat out every day for breakfast (and lunch and dinner), partly for convenience but also because food is so cheap compared to other major cities. For a weekend try a brunch, served late from 11 to 4 with pancakes, eggs, waffles and washed down with a Bloody Mary.
You can get the best Southern black cooking in Harlem. It is called soul food and the tastiest dishes you can find are at Sylvia’s. Soul Food originates from the African slaves cuisine when they were shipped to the deep south. The meagre and lowly ingredients available to the slaves and black families included the less desirable cuts of meat (guts, fat, offal), and often weedy vegetables. The food is simple but hearty and delicious, and has since become quite exclusive and a delicacy to taste in specialist restaurants, though now finer ingredients are used.
Fried Catfish, chitterlings (pigs intestines), macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pieare all common recipes to be found on a menu and lots of variants on chicken and sea food.
Comprehensive site with links to all New York’s top Kosher restaurants.
Classic Jewish Recipe Archives
Soul Food Cookbook
Hundreds of soul food recipes for all kinds of dishes and meats.