The 5 Most Iconic Foods in New York City

While many people come to NYC for the sightseeing, the shopping, the museums or the Broadway shows, every NYC tourist has some of the great foods this city has to offer on the brain from the moment they start planning their trip. New York City is as a melting pot for culinary fusion, with world-class restaurants where some of the most famous chefs to ever live cook every night, to food trucks that serve your lunch on a stick. Every craving, palate and preference can be accommodated in the city, but there are a few foods that this town is known for and that should not go neglected on your trip to New York City.
Slice of NY Cheesecake (ss)
New York Hot Dogs
Whether you’re walking through Central Park or down Fifth Avenue, you’re going to see a hot dog cart shelling out delicious, juicy dogs, and it’s going to be hard to resist these New York classics, so you might as well have at least once. The hot dogs in NYC are served with sauerkraut, sweet relish, onion sauce or mustard traditionally, but of course the ketchup lovers are indulged here too. You have the chance to make this one of the dog days of summer if you wish!

A Slice of Pizza
There’s a long-standing debate regarding which US city has better pizza – Chicago or New York City. It’s tough to say which truly is better, but when you’re in New York City and not Chicago, you don’t really have a choice when you’re craving a cheesy, delicious slice. The first pizza place ever opened in the United States was in New York’s Little Italy, and to this day you can still enjoy a slice of NYC pizza. This town is known for their large, wide, thin slices of pizza that you can fold in half and chow down.

A Pastrami Sandwich
New York City is known for its delicatessens, and the pastrami sandwiches are the cream of the crop in this town. Expect a whole lot of meat in between two fresh slices of bread when you order a pastrami sandwich here. Some of the best places to get your fix are at Katz’s Delicatessen, Artie’s Deli, Stage Deli, Second Ave Deli or any place that looks family-owned and operated.

A Slice of Cheesecake
There are few better desserts traditional to New York City than the slice of New York Cheesecake. Of course there’s always the Black and White cookie, but when you want something rich and decadent, you’re going to want to go with the cheesecake. New York goes heaving on the cream (or sour cream) to make these desserts rich, smooth and very creamy. While you’ll probably find many  different flavors throughout the city, the most traditional New York cheesecake is the good old-fashioned cream cheese flavor, and maybe topped with strawberries or cherries.

A New York Bagel
Many people think that there’s no food item that’s more “New York” than a bagel. While the competition for the most “New York” of all foods is still heavily debated, bagels are extremely popular, and you’re going to see bagel shops all over the city. Whether you take yours with cream cheese or  as a sandwich, you’ll definitely have your pick of the litter and deciding which bagel to go with can be tricky. Some of the most popular bagel shops in New York are Zabar’s, Murray’s, Absolute Bagel’s and Ess-a-Bagel. There are a lot of carbs floating around in this city!

There are tons of other go-to foods in New York City including the selections at the food trucks and variety of options in Chinatown. All of these New York City icons are worth trying when hunger strikes on your next vacation! One of the greatest way to try all of NYC’s classic food choices is on one of the New York City tours dedicated solely to this city’s foods! Check out the best of the best as you’re sightseeing in the city. What better way to experience NYC than to eat your way through the Big Apple, right?

This article was written by Lizz Riggs, editor of

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