6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City

If you are planning to visit New York City for the first time and doing some researches about what and where to eat the most iconic dishes of this city, check it out in this article!


1. The New York Bagel

The cuisine in New York City is probably most famous for its bagels. Savory and crunchy on the outside while chewy on the inside, a classic New York Bagel is filled with a combination of cream cheese and lox. A bacon egg and cheese combo for a bagel is also a signature option. 

6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City | Wanderlust Tips

So, what makes bagels in New York special?

  • The New York water: tap water in New York is very soft, which has low concentrations of minerals that soften the gluten in the dough. This produces a more delicious, chewy bagel.
  • The way the bagels are cooked
    • The dough is first left to sit in a refrigerator for a couple of days to slow down the fermentation process thus giving the microbes more time to generate tasty flavor compounds. 
    • Then it comes to the most critical step – boiling: the chilled dough rings are poached or boiled from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, which is the essential part that makes a New York bagel chewier than that in other states.
    • After being boiled, bagels can be transported into the oven to bake the rest of the way.

Well-known bagels shop in New York

  • Ess-a-Bagel in Midtown East
  • Bagel Hole in Park Slope
  • Kossar’s on the Lower East Side

2. The New York Pizza

Besides bagels, you won’t probably miss a slice of New York pizza when you visit this city. Growing out of the Neapolitan pizza that the Italian immigrants brought here in the early 1900s, the New York-styled pizza is cut into large slices of triangle shape, with thin hand-tossed and flexible crust. People here often bend it in half vertically to eat, even while walking. 

6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City | Wanderlust Tips

So, what makes pizza in New York special?

  • The New York water: again, thanks to the minerals in New York water that blow a magic taste and texture to the pizza dough. 
  • Flour: the New Yorkers use high protein flour that creates a stronger development of gluten while needing. 
  • Oven: as pizza has been popular in New York for a long time, the ovens pizzerias use are often old, which have absorbed the flavor of decaded-worth of pizzas. Some pizzerias in the city use wood-fired ovens, some use coal-fired ones, but both types cook the pizza at extremely high temperatures. 

Well-known pizzerias in New York

  • Lombardi’s in Lower Manhattan
  • Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn
  • Joe’s in Manhattan

There is no definite answer on where is the best and most authentic new york pizza place. Everyone has their favorites and there are many good ones, try and find your own!

3. The New York Cheesecake

The first cheesecake in the world is believed to be made in Greece, not New York City. But this cake has become the favorite dessert of the New Yorker since the 1900s. 

So, what makes cheesecake in New York special?

  • Extra ingredients: Compared to other types of cheesecake around the work, the New York-styled cheesecake are higher, larger, having more cream cheese and the addition of cream and extra egg yolks to make the taste richer. The exterior is always a golden brown while the interior is velvety super-dense and rich. 

Well-known cheesecake hub in New York

  • Junior’s restaurant in Times Square of downtown Brooklyn for a classic New York cheesecake
  • Eileen’s Special Cheesecake in Lower Manhattan
  • Veniero’s Pasticceria & Caffe in East Village of Manhattan

6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City | Wanderlust Tips

4. The New York black and white cookie

Looks like a cookie but tastes like a cake, the “black and white” cookie is closely associated with New Yorkers. This is a drop cake in the shape of a cookie, with a coating of chocolate and vanilla frosting or fondant bisected in the middle to keep the flavors apart.

6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City | Wanderlust Tips

So, what makes the black and white cookie in New York special?

  • Its surprising texture: using the batter which is for baking cupcakes, the cookie is semi-soft, with thick and creamy icing
  • Its curious history: Black and white cookies go by many different names. In upstate New York and New England, people call these cookies “half-moons,” while in the Midwest, they are often called “harlequins.” Additionally, they are called Amerikaner in German.
  • Its symbol: Former President Obama used it as a metaphor for race relations and harmony

Well-known black and white cookie hub in New York

  • Local grocery stores or fresh ones on bakery
  • William Greenberg Dessert on the Upper East Side

5. The New York Hotdog

Hotdog was brought to the New Yorkers by the German immigrants in the 1800s and popularized by Feltman’s of Coney Island. It’s not an ordinary hotdog with ketchup and mustard, but a natural beef hot dog with a distinct topping of sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard and sauteed onions.

So, what makes hotdog in New York special?

  • The ingredients: 100% all-beef is the dominant form of hot dog found in good hot dog carts, restaurants, ballparks, and delicatessens in NYC, which is referred to the sizeable Jewish population in this city
  • Hot dog stands – popular NYC street food on every corner with fantastic smell in the air

6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City | Wanderlust Tips

Well-known hotdog stands and gourmet in New York

  • Katz’s in Houston
  • Nathan’s in Coney Island
  • Feltman’s in Coney Island


6. The New York Pastrami on Rye

This is a signature sandwich of New York – a symbol of the classic New York Jewish. Ordering a pack of pastrami on rye, you will have a mountainous stack of sliced pastrami placed of rye bread and topped with spicy brown mustard, served with a kosher dill pickle on the side 

6 Most Iconic Foods in New York City | Wanderlust Tips

So, what makes Pastrami on Rye in New York special?

  • Pastrami is deli food, and deli food is something New Yorkers fascinated about
  • Pastrami on Rye is a comfort food developed by and for Jews that over the years has become a touchstone of the New York experience

Well-known hotdog stands and gourmet in New York

  • Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side 
  • Langer’s Delicatessen in Bronxville

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