Taste New York’s history through a walking food tour

25 Jan

 

New York City food tour is a post by Nikki Parkinson from Styling You

I’ll let you into a little secret.

I love food.

I love good food.

I love fresh, good food that leaves a lasting impression, long after the tastebuds have dined out on a new sensation.

Yes, I may be a style blogger and more often than not when I travel you’ll find me in my natural habitat (fashion stores and beauty outlets) sniffing out a bargain but a big part of of the thrill of travelling for me – whether that’s close to home or overseas – is fossicking for memorable food.

Whether that’s sitting down to a seven-course degustation menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant or biting into a fresh mozzarella ball wrapped in prosciutto at America’s oldest Italian cheese store, food can be the ultimate souvenir of a trip away.

Now, lets talk about those mozzarella balls, shall we?

Prosciutto and homemade mozzarella at Alleva Dairy, Little Italy, New York City

Prosciutto and homemade mozzarella at Alleva Dairy, Little Italy, New York City

My holiday in New York may be over but if I close my eyes I can still taste that mozzarella that had only been made that morning. Cheese that my mouth would never have bitten into except for joining the Ahoy NYC Food Tour.

That first stop on the tour at Alleva Dairy set the foodie scene for the following three hours as we walked through the eldest streets of Little Italy and Chinatown.

Getting a lesson in cheese outside Di Palo's Fine Foods, Little Italy, New York City

Getting a lesson in cheese outside Di Palo’s Fine Foods, Little Italy, New York City

Before setting out I had a pretty good idea that we’d be sampling some amazing food. What I hadn’t anticipated were the historical and cultural lessons learned along the way.

These two neighbourhoods in New York are steeped in history and have grown personalities indicative of their immigrant beginnings.

With food being so much a part of each of these cultures, it’s no wonder it’s impossible to talk about one without the other.

And that’s just what our guide Laura did.

Her enthusiasm for this area of New York City is infectious. Whether describing the original way the traditional Sicilian dessert, Cannolis, were rolled (using a broomstick!) or explaining how a New York park is like a living room for the families living in small tenements, it’s this intertwining of food and history that made each of the tasting stops all the sweeter.

To be honest, particularly travelling with a seven-year-old, we might not have even attempted negotiating our way around Little Italy and Chinatown without this insider knowledge.

Mott Street in Chinatown, New York City

Mott Street in Chinatown, New York City

You certainly cannot judge a potentially good dining experience by its cover.

By day, a rusting roller door on a shopfront gives no clue to the fact that it’s an ubercool nighttime cocktail bar.

Want to take a peek at some of the other yummies that went in our bellies?

Thought so.

Food porn alert ahead.

Fresh Cannolis - a traditional Sicilian dessert - at Ferrara Bakery & Cafe

Fresh Cannolis – a traditional Sicilian dessert – at Ferrara Bakery & Cafe

Pra Raam (chicken sauteed in spicy peanut curry sauce, drizzled with coconut cream and served over steamed broccoli) at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant, the oldest family-run and operated Thai restaurant in New York City.

Pra Raam (chicken sauteed in spicy peanut curry sauce, drizzled with coconut cream and served over steamed broccoli) at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant, the oldest family-run and operated Thai restaurant in New York City.

Dumplings from Tasty Dumpling and served in Columbus Park

Dumplings from Tasty Dumpling and served in Columbus Park

Lychee cupcakes from Everything Frosted, where the chef was trained by the Whitehouse's Pastry Chef

Lychee cupcakes from Everything Frosted, where the chef was trained by The Whitehouse’s Pastry Chef

Egg rolls from Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown, where Sex and the City's Cynthia Nixon held her commitment ceremony reception

Egg rolls from Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown, where Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon held her commitment ceremony reception

If you’re into food and heading to New York, I’d recommend doing this tour early on in your trip.

It’s three hours well spent – yes you’re on your feet for most of that time (there’s a 30-minute stop at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant) – but you’re not covering a massive area.

Wear comfortable shoes (Ha! You should see my New York blisters … I call them badges of honour!); and bring a hat or raincoat depending on the weather.

Oh, and don’t eat too much for breakfast beforehand … you won’t end the tour bloated and feeling like you’ve visited Sizzler for a buffet but you will be full.

As for what you’ll see and find out? Not only will you visit places you will want to come back to – to dine in or takeout – but you’ll also be given a list of dining recommendations that you can work your way through during your stay.

It’s this insider foodie knowledge that can’t always be found in a guidebook – the type of knowledge that can create food memories which last a lifetime.

Taste New York’s history through a walking food tour ,

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