When I was on my (early) birthday trip with my friends, we went on a Manhattan food walking tour. I’m convinced food walking tours are one of the best ways to see the city. Not only are you walking, getting a close-up view of different neighbourhoods, but you also get to eat. What’s better than eating?
On our food walking tour, my friends and I visited Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Here’s where we went and what we ate.
The tour was about 2 hours, and we were warned to bring our walking shoes because we did a lot of walking. There was a good combination of food we got to try from a variety of different restaurants. We tried some Chinese dumplings, beef scallion pancakes, cannoli, a pastrami sandwich, a knish, and a fresh matzoh cracker. One of the things I enjoyed about this tour was that the food samples were included in the tour price. We also stopped at a seafood market, a candy store, and a store that sells homemade pickles. At these places, we had the option to purchase more food, but there was enough to eat on the tour that this wasn’t necessary.
The food portions we got weren’t huge, but we all had a bit of everything. I didn’t leave stuffed and wanting to die, but I wasn’t starving after either. The beef scallion pancakes were my favourite, but I also loved the little cannoli we got, and the pastrami sandwich from Katz’s was delicious too. The matzoh cracker was my least favourite thing, but I’ve had matzoh crackers before, and they’re pretty bland. It was neat that we got to try a fresh-made (and super hot) matzoh cracker though. It made me realize that the matzoh crackers I’d tried before (ones my mom had bought from a local grocery store at home) had likely been stale and had sat on the shelf a little too long. Fresh is best.
Our tour guide was a local New York, who’d grown up in Manhattan and lived in the city for most of his life. He had stories to share about being a cab driver back in the ’70s when NYC was much more dangerous than it is now. He also had a lot of great restaurant recommendations, which sadly we weren’t able to check out because of lack of time (but it’s just an incentive to go back). We learned a few interesting things like were Martin Scorsese buys his cheese, and that the population of Chinatown in Manhattan is continuing to grow (and subsequently there’s only about a block of Little Italy that actually looks Italian).
While I suffered a bit of heatstroke and got a sunburn (through my own stupidity of not drinking water or wearing sunscreen – even during April wear sunscreen) the tour itself was grand. I got to eat a little food. I learned a little and did a little walking. This tour was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours in New York with my friends.
Things You Should Know
My friends and I booked the Chinatown, Little Italy and Lower East Side food walking tour with For Your Brain and Belly. It’s usually is $49/person but we had a coupon that made it $25/person. My friends and I were the only four people who booked this particular tour on the day we went, which resulted in getting a private tour. I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same luck we did, but it was pretty sweet. They also have a Williamsburg Food Tour, and a Williamsburg and Bushwick Graffiti Tour.
While I was in New York City my friends and I stayed at the St Giles Hotel on the Upper West Side. It was a nice mid-range hotel and only a couple of blocks from Grand Central Station. Of course, there is no shortage of accommodation in New York City you can book here.
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Where would you want to go on a food walking tour?