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By Julian Canlas - 13 min read

New York food in photos: 28 dishes that you must try out


A guidebook on how to eat your way through New York City.

New York is one of the food capitals of the world. And I’m not saying this lightly. #Blogger, #influencers and their #foodie friends have written about New York food in one way or another, and every long-lasting food publication has done a write-up about food in New York City.

There’s a big, infectious culture here of eating out and trying different cuisines from all around the world. After all, It’s the high-energy diversity here that makes the city that never sleeps. This is the city where different tastes and flavors interact into a sublime culinary experience.

So to celebrate the Big Apple, here are 28 dishes you should try out, if you’re ever in the city, and where you can get them. Each place is available on TWISPER, so save them in your try-outs to visit and recommend!

Related Reading: Are you travelling to London, or from the city? The English capital is also known for its Indian cuisine, which warrants a tour of its own. Travel lifestyle blogger Supal Desai wrote on the subject An Indian’s Guide To The Best Indian Food in London. It’s full of rich anecdotes about the eateries contrasted with her upbringing as an Indian-American, as well as dazzling photos to boot!

1. Bacon, egg and cheese at Bacon, Egg and Cheese


…Or as New Yorkers call it as one word, #baconeggncheese. Let’s start the list with something that’s quintessentially New York food, something that you take after a night of drinking too much until your face goes numb under the New York cold. It’s the comfort food you eat, when you finally realize that this diet you’ve been trying to follow is making you very miserable. It’s the best breakfast anyone can ask for.

Of course, when you’re called Bacon, Egg and Cheese, you should (probably) deliver on the food item that you’re named after, and the place doesn’t disappoint. With its crunchy bacon, deliciously melted cheese and crusted brioche bun, it’s hard to find fault in their BEC varieties.

2. Steamed pork bun at Momofuku Noodle Bar

A creation of superstar chef David Chang, the pork bun is as iconic as the Noodle Bar where it’s been served since 2009. The ingredients are quite simple and straightforward: fluffy buns, roasted pork belly, cured cucumbers, scallions, and a drizzle of hoisin sauce.

Each ingredient is delicately placed, and chefs prepare the pork belly slices using chopsticks, because other tools could easily tear the soft meat apart. It’s this type of attention that made David Chang and Momofuku known across NYC. And the result? A mixture of flavors melting in your mouth!

3. Pasta cones at Spaghetti incident

In opening Spaghetti Incident, Emanuele Attala was inspired by the age-old Italian tradition of serving to-go pasta using cones in a material called carta oleata.

While developing the material for the pasta cone, Attala looked for the ideal non-spill material that could withstand New York’s hustle-and-bustle.

While cheap, the fresh pasta is good and served in perfect portions. And it’s even more delicious when you’re stomping across Downtown with the cone in your hand.

4. Square Sicilian pizza at L&B Spumoni Gardens

This establishment has been serving its famous Sicilian square pizza since 1942. The pizza is a family recipe, just as the place has been family-run since opening in 1939.

This pizza is well-loved by Brooklynites, who have eaten the same identical square slices for decades: the dense dough, the San Marzano tomatoes and oregano, olive oil, and salty Pecorino Romano. It’s a timeless recipe that’s attracted literally generations of New Yorkers.

5. Matcha offerings at Cha Cha Matcha

This trendy matcha place marries the high-quality matcha tea present in many tea rooms across NYC with the hip stylish aesthetics of cool café spots springing up around the world. Cofounders Matthew Morton and Conrad Sandelman bring this marvellous flavor, which, according to them, changed their lives, to the US.

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🍦🍵🌤️ Cooler weather = more time before the ice cream melts 😁 – MATCHA VANILLA SWIRL | Made using ceremonial grade matcha from Uji, Japan. The soft-serve is not listed on the online nor in-store menus, but it's definitely available! – A smooth and creamy soft serve that's lighter (but not lacking) in terms of matcha bitterness/flavor concentration. I'd especially recommend this place for matcha newbies, those sensitive to bitter tastes, and cute cafe lovers (fun floral decor and pink napkins are 😍). Watch out for seasonal drinks and soft-serve flavors here too! . . . . . #foodporn #eeeeeats #spoonfeed #feedfeed #forkyeah #dmvfoodiecrew #yelpeatsnyc #nyceats #nycfoodie #eastcoastfoodies #matcha #matchasoftserve #matchaicecream #matchadessert #chachamatcha #nycdesserts #nycdessert #nycmatcha #foodintheair #nycicecream #softserve #nycsweets #chachamatchanyc #phoneeatsfirst #nyc

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6. Milkshakes at Black Tap

With many locations across the world, many people have already heard about Black Tap. Delicious burgers. Nice beer. But one more thing that really stands out is its ginormous crazy milkshakes! The milkshakes are not only topped with frosting and whipped cream. There’s cotton candy, whole slices of cake, popsicle sticks, big oreos. It’s sinful, decadent and Instagrammable, and that’s why it’s so good.

7. Hot dogs at Nathan’s Famous

Host of the world-famous hot-dog eating competitions, Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island is one of the biggest and most majestic, out of the restaurant chain. Each bite of their hotdog is juicy and the buns fluffy. The cheddar is perfectly drizzled on top. The sauerkraut and onions are fresh. There’s a reason why Nathan’s Famous has been around for so long – more than 100 years – despite a relatively simple concept: hotdogs!

8. Melted raclette at Murray’s Cheese Bar

If you want a dose of the world-famous Swiss raclette in NYC, then go to Murray’s Cheese. It’s a nice spot for cheese aficionados who want their dose of melted raclette. In the coming cold season, hot cheese is always nice comfort food.

9. Cheeseburger J.G. Melon

The cheeseburger at J. G. Melon is a staple, with its thick patty that’s best served medium-rare, nice buns, fresh pickles and signature double American cheese of gooey goodness. Their restaurants have a nice vibe, too, that feels quintessentially New York. There’s a wooden bar, dim lights and a jukebox with hits rock n’ roll and 80s music. It’s like a nice bite of an authentic part of New York City that remains unchanged.

10. Kamayan food at Jeepney Filipino

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NEW YORK CITY | Named after the WWII jeeps left behind by US occupation that Filipinos then took over and turned into a mode of transport that's uniquely Filipino, @jeepneynyc is one of NYC's must visit eating destinations. 🇵🇭⁣ ⁣ Walking inside feels like stepping into a bar in Manilla. It's loud, bright, colourful, and a whole lot of fun, with an eclectic mix of decorations and 80s/90s hits pumping through the sound system. 🎶⁣ ⁣ The food here is unashamedly Filipino, and is where owners Nicole Ponesca and Miguel Trinidad showcase the depth of flavours that Filipino cuisine offers. 💯⁣ ⁣ I was dining solo when I visited so had to choose well. Thankfully the staff were happy to take me through the menu and while I over ordered, they packed my leftovers away for me in biodegradable containers. 👍⁣ ⁣ All three things I ordered were delicious. Beef And Pork Dinuguan At Puto is a sort of stew/paste of boneless pork shoulder, beef blood, sugarcane vinegar, bay leaf, chili, rice flour puto. It's unlike anything I've eaten before and is outstanding. Definitely order it with a serve of the garlic rice. 🍛⁣ ⁣ Sigsig tacos see a corn tortilla come filled with pig ears, cheek, snout, belly, sili, red onions, kalamansi, cilantro, and avocado crema. They're rich in flavour and textually complex. 🌮⁣ ⁣ Fried tripe with spicy banana ketchup, meanwhile, is a great introduction to those who may be wary of tripe. It's tender on the inside with wonderfully crispy exterior. 👌⁣ ⁣ Pictured first is something I actually didn't eat. It's the nightly Kamayan, which has to be booked at least two weeks in advance. You get together with a group of friends and eat your way through a feast of assorted dishes, all served atop banana leaves. You use your hands. No silverware, no plates, no cutlery. I was on my little table in the corner but the two large groups that were doing the Kamayan certainly looked they were having the time of their lives, with loads of food and cocktails. 💯⁣ ⁣ Have your tried Filipino food before? What's your favourite Filipino dish? Let me know in the comments below and TAG a friend who you'd like to try Kamayan with. 👇

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All right, I’m biased. My mother is Filipino, and Kamayan food was an important part of the reason why I love food so much today. Kamayan roughly translates into “eating with hands.” It is a communal-style of Filipino feast, where people use their hands to eat.

Named after a mode of transport widely-used in the Philippines, Jeepney is a winner with its Kamayan packages. Served on banana leaves, people can order Kamayan packages that have a delicious assortment of Filipino food, from adobo and longanisa to the spicy Bicol express. It’s a big feast that will leave everyone feeling full.

11. New York Cheesecake at Junior’s

As Ron Rosenblum wrote in the Village Voice in 1973, “There will never be a better cheesecake than the cheesecake they serve at Junior’s on Flatbush Avenue … it’s the best cheesecake in New York.”

The cheesecake – a staple in New York food – has not changed in decades and stands the test of time. The plain slice is heavenly. It’s dense. It’s creamy. It’s perfect. It melts on the tongue. And the base does not crumble so easily.

Their motto is quite befitting: “You haven’t really lived until you’ve had cheesecake at Junior’s.”

12. Everything bagel with cream cheese at Ess-A-Bagel

The Everything bagel has a thick dough that is chewy, flavorful, and with a light crisp on the outside that’s just perfect as far as the New York style of bagels go. And by New-York-style I mean bagels that are big in size and certainly not toasted. After all, toasting is one of the biggest sins that you could ever commit to fresh bagels.

13. Mofongo de chicharron at Malecon

In the Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, author Junot Diaz calls Washington Heights to be the “unofficial third capital of the Dominican Republic.” This inevitably means a rich culinary and cultural experience of Dominican cuisine in NYC.

Malecon is a well-known chain of Dominican restaurants that offer delicious, no-frills food. In particular, mofongo is a typical Dominican dish of mashed green plantains molded with various toppings and ingredients. It also comes with a tomato-based sauce to put on the dish. It’s a delicious meal through and through.

14. Giant soup dumplings at Drunken Dumplings

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The famous XL XLB 🥟🤩

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It’s the dumplings as big as your face. When you pierce into it with a chopstick, steam lets out to reveal delicious ground pork and shrimp filling. It’s also filled with soup that you can sip through a straw. This giant soup dumpling is not easy to make, however, and they’re served at limited amounts every day.

Qihui Guan, the main chef and mother of the co-owner, Yuan Lee, boils a broth for 6-8 hours until milky, adds the ingredients, and puts it in the fridge until it becomes a gelatinous solid. She then encloses it in a dumpling wrapper and steams it for ten minutes, after which it grows 25% in size. It’s literally a soup in a dumpling, as the broth melts inside the wrapper. This New York food is XL and delicious.

15. Mixed Ethiopian platter with injera at Awash Ethiopian Restaurant

Injera is a crêpe-like bread that’s a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. It has a nice texture to it, comparable to really thin sourdough and is made from teff, the world’s smallest grain. Teff is high in protein and iron, and is gluten-free. Talk about being packed in nutrients.

With this in mind, at Awash, injera is a delicious staple food that accompanies a number of dishes, as if the injera itself serves as the main platter. There are vegan sides like key sir that’s like a beet and carrot stew, shiro (spiced, ground chickpeas) and gomen (stewed collard greens with garlic and herbs). There are also meat dishes, like yebeg alicha (like a lamb stew with lots of onions and butter) and tibs wat (beef stewed in a berbere spice blend).

They’re to be eaten with your hands, too, so feast in this decadence.

Related article: 8 things to do in New York in December

16. Shackburger at Shake Shack

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5 𝙭 5 𝙎𝙝𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝘽𝙪𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙧 𝙬/𝙇𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙪𝙘𝙚 𝘽𝙪𝙣 — 𝐓𝐇𝐀𝐍𝐊𝐒 𝐅𝐎𝐑 𝟓𝟎𝐊!!! 🎉🎉🎉 . 📍: @shakeshack — @mallofamerica . This video is a little overdue! . THANK YOU to all of you so much!!! If you would have told me when I was a little girl eating all that food that one day I’d be a big girl eating all the food, I’d say LIES! But here we are, I am a big girl eating all the food! It makes me so happy to eat, and it also makes me so happy that you enjoy watching me eat. It’s a literal dream come true and I have you guys to thank!!! . Also, holy shit this was a massive burger. The girl that took my order didn’t know how to ring it in and laughed at me. 😂 In case you’ve ever wondered what a $22 burger at Shake Shack would look like, HERE YA GO. 😆 . The sear on @shakeshack patties is one of the main reasons I love this place. The deep caramelized flavor of the salty, fatty beef with melted American cheese and creamy, tangy Shack Sauce straight up turns me on. . It’s meant to be in your mouth, giving you flavor orgasms. Unless you’re a vegan, in which case you’re probably already writing some choice words to me in the comments. 🙃✌🏻 . THANK YOU again for 50K!!! What should I eat for 100K?! The thought of eating 100 of anything makes me start to sweat, not unlike the meat sweats that I clearly had shooting this #mukboom , so be gentle. 😅 — I DIGRESS. LOVE YOU ALL. PEACE TO YOUR HOMIES. 🎤

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Shake Shack is fast food chain that first opened in New York in 2004. From its tasty burgers and big fries, it represents the decadence of New York food in general. A burger packed with a maximum of flavors, the Shackburger is one of Shake Shack’s most popular burgers and for good reasons.

Following the Shake Shack mantra of “It’s all about the burger meat”, the patty is made with the proprietary blend of beef called the ShackBlend, which makes the patty so juicy and tasty. It’s the perfect vehicle to the nice, comfortable taste of melted American cheese. And finally the buns are squishy and toasted for a bit of crunch. These combinations make Shake Shack so appealing to so many.

17. Baked Alaska at Delmonico’s

Baked Alaska resembles a delicious pastry topped by an igloo on fire, with the igloo being the meringue that’s tastefully scorched to give the whole igloo dimension. The Baked Alaska at Delmonico’s is a white sponge cake layered with apricot compote and banana gelato, with the nice meringue on top.

Historically, the Baked Alaska was a tough dessert to make that required a full kitchen and bananas, which were exotically imported from Central America in the 19th century. Established in 1837, Delmonico’s was the restaurant where many prominent figures would dine in to taste this luxurious dessert. It represents a large chunk of the history of New York food.

Today, the Baked Alaska may be more accessible than before, but it still looks equally cool and yummy.

18. Porterhouse at Keens Steakhouse

A venue historically-known to attract theater folks, Keens’ Porterhouse continues this tradition through the majestic theatricality at which the food just looks: large and juicy slices of meat with a bone pointing up in the air. When it’s being paraded across the room, it catches glances.

For more steakhouse suggestions check out this list of New York’s best steakhouses!


19. Pierogi at Veselka

As a 24-hour eatery that’s existed for over 60 years, the Ukranian eatery offers a real slice of the New York experience. Around 3000 boiled and fried pierogi are made here every day, and they serve all kinds of fillings: fried potatoes, corned beef, bacon, cheese, truffle mushrooms, and so on. What’s also equally interesting are the discussions people have at Veselka. There are talks about politics, aside drunk chatter from late-night revellers. It’s a place to eat and enjoy pierogi…24/7!

20. Fries at Community Food and Juice

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🍟🍟 #getinmymouth

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Opened in Morningside Heights since 2007, Community Food and Juice has a nice vibe in their space, with its high ceilings and bright, open space.

Their hand-cut fries are also absolutely delicious. They have the right amount of salt and crunch that’s perfect for any potato craving you might have. You can eat them alone, or with a tasty burger like the BLT.

Either way, the secret to great fries is on the way they are cooked, and this eatery does it well.

21. Fried rice varieties at Mission Chinese Food

The fried rice dishes at Mission Chinese are heavenly, and I’m not the only one who has this opinion. The Mission Chinese Food has been in many end-of-the-year best dishes lists for its fried rice, and for good reason. There’s a nice balance of ingredients in each dish and a nice mixture of salt and sweet (yes, sugar is a hidden ingredient in many fried rice dishes).


22. Ice cream at Soft Swerve

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Cheers! 📸: @eatswithlil

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Ice cream may already be a guilty pleasure for most people, but why not push the dial up by having it in perfect, colorful spirals worthy of an Instagram pic? And the flavors are equally decadent. Among them are ube, hojicha, matcha, black sesame and Hong Kong milk tea. In this variety, 2 things stay the same: they’re pretty, and they’re quite creamy.

23. Spicy rigatone à la vodka at Carbone

This New York foods is a crowd darling at Carbone. Prepared in a creamy vodka sauce (you read that right), the vodka part definitely creates a kick out of the whole dish. But of course it’s much more than the vodka in it. T

he base sauce is an onion soubise, a type of French sauce, where the onions are cooked over a long period of time at low heat, until they’re tender and flavorful.

24. Donut grilled cheese at Clinton Hall

As Thrillist puts it, yes, grilled cheese donuts are real. No one might not have asked for it, but no one is asking anyone to take it back. At least, I am not.

And it’s not just a donut-shaped bread that they add grilled cheese on to. They literally slice a glazed donut in half and cook it with cheese, until the cheese and the sugar fuse together into some weird salty sweet combo.

It’s a mind-boggling combo that pushed Clinton Hall to hire someone just to answer phone calls after it got viral on social media. And whether you like it or not, it’s definitely a New York food #foodie moment.

25. Blueberry pancakes at Kleinberg’s

The blueberry pancakes at Kleinberg’s have been the talk of the town for quite some time now. Lovers of breakfast and brunch are quite familiar with these pancakes, prodigiously made with the right amount of fluff and airiness.

There’s the sweetness of the fresh blueberries and blueberry sauce that’s an ever-appealing staple as far as pancake sauces go. And finally the powdered sugar added to bring the flavors together into a morning feast.

26. Chicken paitan ramen at Totto Ramen

In this wildly-popular venue, the chicken paitan ramen reigns supreme. It’s a chicken ramen in soy sauce broth and home-made noodles topped with scallion, barbecued pork and nori.

Totto Ramen is known for their chicken paitan ramen, and their menu is pretty much only varieties of this dish. The ramen is an explosion of umami, so if you like ramen and chicken, this is the place to go.

27. Chicken Waffles at Amy Ruth’s Restaurant

One of the most-recommended soul food places in Harlem, Amy Ruth’s fried chicken and Belgian waffles drizzled with honey is one of the best in town. It’s quite affordable too. The chicken is scrumptious and goes well with the waffles. Spread some butter or Vermont maple syrup on the waffles, and you’re ready to feast and dine.

28. Korean BBQ at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong


Owned by 678 Corp., Korea’s leading restaurant group, this restaurant offers fresh and good-quality meat selections, including beef, pork, galbi and bacon. They also offer types of meat not typically offered in South Korea, like short ribs. The meat has the right amount of fat for marbling, so that the grilled result melts on the tongue.

The servers cook for you on the spot, so you just have to sit by and eat!

We hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. New York food has an amazing culture and history behind it, and this article only touches the surface of it. Rich cultural enclaves are interacting with each other to create culinary experiences that are unforgettable and uniquely New York. If you’re looking for even more food suggestions, Nomtastic Foods has published a great article on eating through New York City!

Don’t forget to put these places in your try outs on the TWISPER app to discover and recommend them to your friends later on!

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About the author Julian Canlas

Julian is a 20-something content strategist who loves to travel and write about online culture. Follow his journeys around the world and find more of his recommendations for amazing places to eat, sleep and drink on the TWISPER app.