Iconic NYC Foods Everyone Should Try


Jake Quan

The Halal Guys are one of the many places to offer diverse cuisines in New York City.

Monica Hanna, Contributing Writer

Living in New York City means that there are plenty of culturally diverse, sometimes eclectic but always delicious cuisine options to choose from. You can find virtually any dish you want in this city and new food trends are constantly emerging. But we can’t forget about the classics — the iconic, tried-and-true dishes that New York City is known for. We put together a list of some of the best iconic foods and where to find them:

The Black and White Cookie

The black and white cookie has been around forever and is a New York staple as far as pastries go. Oversized and softer than most cookies, it is literally the perfect solution if you can’t decide between chocolate or vanilla. As Jerry Seinfeld said, “Black and white, side by side! If people would only look to the cookie! All our problems would be solved.”

Where to find it: Try Russ & Daughters on Houston, 179 E Houston St


Good old street food. Whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or binging after a night of responsible drinking, halal is always delicious. Halal is technically the Arabic word for ‘permissible,’ and refers to foods Muslims are allowed to eat under Shari’ah law. Basically, it contains mostly meat except for pork.

Where to find it: The Halal Guys, E. 14th St


There’s nothing better than some New York style cheesecake, and Junior’s in Downtown Brooklyn is king of the cheesecake. But, if you don’t live in Brooklyn and still want a classically delicious slice, you can look right around campus. A lot of places in Manhattan serve cheesecake, and it’s basically delicious everywhere you go.

Where to find it: Eileen’s Special Cheesecake in Nolita has a great selection.

Bagel and Lox

In case you didn’t know, the word lox comes from the Yiddish word, “laks,” which means salmon. Lox have been around in New York City since the late 1800s when they were popular among Jewish immigrants from Europe. What’s the difference between lox and just regular smoked salmon? Lox comes from the belly of the salmon, so it’s usually richer and saltier. To get real, authentic lox, you have to stop by Russ & Daughters, the same place you can find a delicious black and white cookie! The family-owned shop has been open since 1914 and serves the real deal.

Where to find it: Russ & Daughters on 179 E. Houston Street


Almost 130 years old, Katz’s Delicatessen Lower East Side location, is one of New York’s most iconic restaurants. The kosher-style deli is insanely popular among both locals and tourists for their intense pastrami sandwiches. They serve 10,000 pounds of pastrami each week. For those who don’t know, pastrami is basically beef that has been brined, seasoned, smoked and steamed. Don’t worry if this process sounds too complicated; let Katz handle it and stop by if the line isn’t too long.

Where to find it: Katz’s Delicatssen, 205 E Houston St

A version of this article appeared in the Mar. 21 print edition. Email Monica Hanna at [email protected]