The food. The varied population gives rise to a huge range of tastes, from the american trash like sugar-laden donuts and iced coffee, to the fine dining, to the abundance of mexican, chinese, jewish, italian, etc. It’s great. It means you get to change around and eat different things everyday that isn’t terribly-ugly looking burgers and pancakes. Here are some pizzas, in the new york slice style. Big, flat, on a paper plate, hanging over the edge, hot and tasty. Eating this over the long run will no doubt make you fat and nutritionally unbalanced, as with most american cuisine, but it’s fun, and inexpensive relatively. I guess you could do dollar slices all day, but I suggest trying some others too. Joe’s Pizza here isn’t too bad. NY Pizza Suprema near to Penn Station is awesome as dine-in place, saw this featured in a YouTube video and it was a good recommendation. I really enjoyed both.
Bagel and cream cheese. Because I’ve never seen shops full of 50 different flavors of cream cheese, 10 different bagels, and much tastier than those ridiculous breakfast cafes. So yeah come have some. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee is awesome, Pick-A-Bagel chain is more common, less awesome, but they have like hot breakfast stuff for cheap.
Food trucks. Really quite the NYC phenomenon, they are everywhere. Never really went after the famous ones. Nathan’s Hot Dogs are everywhere, I’m not impressed. Dinge’s Waffles have a few spots, but I didn’t want sweet nonsense. There’s a ton of the meat stuff like lamb on rice, etc etc. Seems good. Really they are just slightly more neat looking versions of street hawker stalls in Asian countries. A thing, but not a cuisine mind you. I think it touches their American dream thing – being able to rent/buy one on the cheap and just set up shop anywhere and make some money.
Smorgasburg a weekend food market in hipster corner Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s so popular it’s apparently expanded onto Manhattan, which makes it so much more convenient because you don’t have to like trek all the way to this corner. Anyway it was wonderful. Very hipster, as you can see from my churros salted caramel ice cream sandwich with oreo powder. Yeah. Also lots of other fancy stuff that you don’t see in Asia, like Asian food made hipster, like African stuff, like ridiculous combinations.
Chelsea Market and Los Tacos. Another hipster area. I don’t know whether it’s overly touristy, but the locals still like the place, so I guess kudos for staying in scope, same for Smorgasburg. I guess the real tourist are just stuck in Times Square. Or maybe the tour buses herd them outta this expensive city as soon as possible. So Chelsea Market, tacos and lobster are great, the rest are probably all good, but just not as superb value.
Finally Katz’s Delicatessen. I guess every single guide talks about this place, because it’s been around for so damn long. You can’t come here too often, you’ll die from the mountain of meat they try to serve you, but I really liked the Reuben Sandwich, and I really didn’t like the signature roast beef sandwich, because the roast beef is so weird. Hot dog was great, pickles were too huge, serving sizes were too huge, atmosphere was superbly comfortable and homey. Place was featured in the movie When Harry Met Sally, very very very good movie, go watch it. Anyway I would totally come back here a few more times, but I had too many things to try and too many places to go.
Ok so you have to eat a burger I guess. You can go to Shake Shack, I love it, it’s great. It’s quite like er it’s just a fast food burger place? Yeah exactly, I don’t know why it takes a fast food burger place to give me a no-tipping required, decent service, pretty looking burger. Coming from Asia, burgers are neat and well prepared things when you eat out, even if you go to McDonald’s, Mos Burger, or a $20 cafe, the burger looks presentable. In US, so far I see alot of normal american cafes with burgers that are not presentable. How difficult is this? Apparently very, hence the locals like Shake Shack alot. Also apparently Five Guys, but I didn’t go because the exterior looked lame, but people keep praising it. If you can make an average idealistic image of a burger, you win, in the US.
One of my favorite meals and things to do, is to just sit in the park at lunch time and eat a sandwich or some takeaway food. I think that’s one of my favorite moments in European and western hemisphere cities. It’s just so nice, in the right weather. Go to Bryant Park, it’s super convenient outside a subway stop, it is surrounded by bakeries and shops, and you can buy from Whole Foods as well. It’s got the right amount of green space, park chairs etc. Union Square isn’t so good, and many of the other spaces are too small. Bryant Park is nice. Also beautiful NY Public Library in the back, go in and take a look.
Here’s hoping you get to enjoy your America trip and not hate the living lights out of that place, which isn’t difficult to end up doing.