Photo: OKMG/Shutterstock

8 Foods and Drinks That New York City Made Famous

New York City Food + Drink
by Henry Miller Oct 21, 2016

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

General Tso’s Chicken

 Sammy’s Noodle Shop & GrillNew York, United StatesBig and simple dishes- this could easily be the best general Tsos in Manhattan. Also, not sure why, but there is never a massive crowd, so really good for a quiet lunch in the village #cheap-eats #chinesefood #greenwich

Named after a famous 19th century Chinese general from the Hunan province, General Tso’s chicken in its current and most popular form originates from Manhattan in the 70’s. Chef Peng Chang-kuei first served the slightly sweet, tangy, fried dish that American’s know and love at his restaurant on 44th Street. A stone’s throw from the UN, international dignitaries would visit the restaurant and chef Peng’s very non-traditional dish was beloved by Henry Kissinger. Another New York classic that can be found across the five boroughs, General Tso’s is at its most delicious at Sammy’s Noodle Shop.

Black and White Cookie

 Glaser’s Bake ShopNew York, United StatesClassic Nyc bakery full of goodies. The black and white cookies and rugelachs are wicked tasty. Get one of each and a black coffee for the best experience #bakery #newyork #cheap-eats #coffee

Although its roots might be in Utica, NY, this 110-year-old delicacy can be found up and down Manhattan (and in many bakeries across the country) thanks in part to a scene from Seinfeld that aired in 1994. “I love the black and white. Two races of flavor living side by side. It’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?” Yes, Jerry. It is. For one of the oldest versions of the Black and White Cookie, check out Glaser’s Bake Shop, which has been selling the cakes for almost a century.


The youngest entry on the list, this briny whiskey chaser was first popularized at the Bushwick Country Club by bartender Reggie Cunningham in 2006. Originally, the idea was to use McClure’s pickle juice to eliminate the harshness of Old Crow whiskey (the cheapest shot available), but it only took a few years before hundreds of New York bars began combining different brines and whiskeys for more selective palettes. Today, you can buy a jar of McClure’s pickle brine for the explicit purpose of chasing whiskey. Humble dive bartender that he is, Cunningham does not claim to be the first person to drink pickle juice with whiskey, but that he “definitely invented selling it in New York.”

Bagels with Lox

 Ess-a-BagelNew York, United StatesOne of the old Jewish food joints that always delivers. Quality bagels with lox or a Reuben recommended #cheap-eats #coffee #bagels #lox #nyc

Bagels are a traditional Jewish baked good from Poland, but when they reached New York their popularity really took off with the addition of brined salmon, a specialty of Scandinavian immigrants. Add some English cream cheese, Italian capers, tomatoes, and onions, and you have the Melting Pot’s favorite breakfast sandwich since the 1950s. Today you can get a classic bagel with lox (the Yiddish word for salmon) at Ess-A-Bagel (now on 1st Ave).

New York Strip Steak/Eggs Benedict

 Delmonico’sNew York, United StatesNothing like a classic Nyc strip steak. This is spot has more history than just about any other restaurant in New York, yet the food still feels new and intoxicating #fine-dining #classy #nycfood

No restaurant name is more storied than Delmonico’s, which has existed at a variety of locations under a number of owners since its first incarnation in 1837. Originally a downtown restaurant founded by the two Delmonico brothers, “Delmonico’s” has been applied to speakeasies, hotels and multiple restaurants in New York over the years. The influence of this single venue is tough to measure, as it has produced several famous dishes and restaurateurs, but it perhaps is best known for the Delmonico Steak (also known as the New York strip) and the creation of the Eggs Benedict (circa 1862 by chef Charles Ranhofer), both of which are still on the menu at the current Delmonico’s location on Beaver Street.

The Manhattan

 Bemelmans BarNew York, United StatesNothing more swank than this spot. Good for a date who loves live piano and handmade murals. Also the cocktails (particularly the Manhattans) are superb #fancy #classicnyc #manhattan #livemusic

There have been claims that this dark and dry whiskey drink was first stirred up for a NYC party in Lady Randolph Churchill’s (mother of Winston) honor in 1874, but it is far more likely that it was invented at least a decade earlier. Some sources credit a “man named Black” who bartended at the famous Hoffman House Hotel. For a similar atmosphere for imbibing this historic beverage, try Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel.

New York Pizza

 Lombardi’s PizzaNew York, United StatesThe birthplace of coal oven zas. The Pepperoni and mushroom pies are dope but beware: these slices must be folded to be eaten (but ain’t the the point?) #pizza #bytheslice #cheapeats #traditionalfood #thisshitrighthere

There is a difference between a New York slice and the greasy, melty, tomato-pasty pizza that hucksters across America sell- other than being made in NYC- and that is the coal oven. It was a New Yorker named Lombardi who, in 1905, invented the coal-oven style pie that you always thought came from a small picaresque town in a pizza-obsessed region of Italy. And when he did it in Lower Manhattan’s Little Italy, he probably didn’t think he was creating a national treasure that is still being baked by his family over 100 years later. Obviously, you should go to Lombardi’s for the most authentic New York pizza experience.

Hot Dogs

Make to NYC in the middle of the summer and you might find yourself sipping a Brooklyn Lager at a sports bar watching the World Series until, without warning, the bartender changes the channel to an event featuring “athletes” sliding whole hotdogs down their gullet. This is the legendary Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, where each contestant attempts to swallow as many all-beef franks and buns as possible. It was at Nathan’s where America’s love of the hotdog began in 1916, when one Polish-Jewish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker decided to load his frankfurter into a bun and munch, and it is here where the heart of American hotdog fandom remains.

Discover Matador

Save Bookmark

We use cookies for analytics tracking and advertising from our partners.

For more information read our privacy policy.