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5 Foods You Must Try In New York City (& 5 That Are Overrated)

New York City is known for many great things and food is at the top of the list. Anyone that visits the city will likely want to indulge in delicious foods as part of the general appeal to life there. There are quite a few types of food that receive a lot of attention from people wanting to try it during their time in New York. Not all foods will live up to the expectations that come from the outside.

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People that live in New York will favor a few foods that do provide the positive results associated with the hype. They take pride in knowing they live in a place that has great restaurants for these food types. Other foods just aren’t worth it to the people that know the ins and outs of the restaurant scene. These are five foods that you should try, and five best avoided, during an NYC trip.

10 Must-Have: Pizza

The hype of New York City pizza is the top food you’ll hear about during your time there. Many pizza shops sell slices at cheap prices while other top restaurants require a heftier investment to purchase a pizza pie.

Most instances of the New York City pizza are worth it, and those fond of the food types are likely to feel like they are in paradise. However, pizza is not the top overall food to seek it out in NYC as others have surpassed it. One should still try to get a slice at some point in the city.

9 Overrated: Hot Dogs

The image of hot dog stands on New York's street corners is not a stretch as it will be easy to find one during a trip in Manhattan. Despite costing only a couple of dollars, these hot dogs are usually not worth it, even if the small price tends to tempt tourists.

Most find the hot dogs disappointing with a taste worse than the norm. If you’re craving hot dogs, it may be a better bet to just pick them up at the grocery store. Hot dog stands don’t provide a high quality of food in the city and are mostly there to provide a cheap and quick option. That said, a proper New York-style hot dog is delicious, they just tend to not be found at street vendors.

8 Must-Have: Gyros

One street food that deserves more love than the average hot dog stand is the gyro cart. There are food carts all over the city offering different meals, but gyros have become very popular over the past decade.

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Specifically, halal carts have won over the average New Yorker with various meats, veggies, and sauces to build a gyro. The biggest negative is it can be a sloppy meal to have on the go, but the taste is worth it as gyros are now a top beloved food in NYC.

7 Overrated: Tacos

Tacos have become a popular food all over the world, as the delicious formula often providing great success. However, New York City rarely will provide the best bang for your buck when it comes to finding an ideal taco spot.

Most of the good restaurants supplying tacos tend to overcharge for them and cause tourists to spend big for a relatively small meal. Affordable places usually find the opposite problem, with their food quality not always delivering. There are few places to offer good tacos at fair prices like Dos Toros, but it is hard to find good value in NYC.

6 Must-Have: Bagels

With many delis and restaurants making it a premiere item on the menu, the bagel is a beloved food in New York City. Breakfast, brunch, and lunch will see New Yorkers going to town on a good bagel, especially once they find the right place that offers their ideal toppings.

The bagel and lox combination is a favorite of many. Many people prefer to keep it simple with cream cheese or butter spread on the bagel. Regardless, it is worth seeking out a positively reviewed bagel shop near to your location and trying it out during your time in the city.

5 Overrated: Sushi

Sushi is the same in New York City like most other popular cities in North America. There are great restaurants that will provide delicious sushi rolls along with horrible ones that will make you wonder if you were eating sushi all along.

The high price often associated with good sushi in NYC is another reason it is overrated. If you’re planning on having a great sushi experience in the city, be sure to budget ahead for the meal, but the chances are that you will find comparable sushi in most other locations.

4 Must-Have: Ramen

Ramen dishes have become the latest trend to take over the cuisine world of New York City. The Japanese dishes based around ramen noodles have led to restaurants opening all over the city with different recipes.

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Most ramen restaurants will deliver a combination of the noodles, meat, veggies, an egg, and other add-ons all in a (usually spicy) broth. Manhattan and Brooklyn are full of tremendous ramen restaurants that anyone should take advantage of during their time in NYC.

3 Overrated: Soft Pretzels

Another street food that leaves a lot to be desired are the soft pretzels typically sold at various food carts. The hot dog carts tend to provide the pretzels as a second option for anyone hungry enough to need a bite to eat while walking to their destination.

These pretzels usually range from overly salty to having no taste whatsoever. Very few New Yorkers have positive experiences when indulging in the pretzels. It has become one of the most overrated foods in the city to both visitors and locals looking to avoid it at all costs.

2 Must-Have: Bodega Sandwiches

Bodegas are a staple of the New York City experience as the mini-mart stores provide a variety of items. The food experience is at the top of the list of things offered with a wide array of sandwiches. Most will feature cold cuts along with dozens of cheeses and other options.

The most popular bodega sandwich to local New Yorkers is the BEC featuring bacon, egg, and cheese in a roll. However, there are plenty of other combinations for those that want to switch it up. Enjoy NYC life by ordering a sandwich and petting the resident pet cat in the store before picking up the food to take with you.

1 Overrated: Salads

Everyone has the desire to eat healthier for their well-being, but that becomes a tougher task when looking to get something good at a restaurant. Salads always seem like the right idea on paper, at least, until you actually try to order one in New York City.

Most salads at the average restaurant will be overpriced for a smaller serving size than expected. Horror stories include some salads containing mostly just lettuce and others being a small serving for an entrée price. If you need to eat clean, the best bet is buying the ingredients and fixing up your own salad rather than getting ripped off in the city.

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