If there's any state a person could eat their way through and then some, it's New York City. So we're taking a (virtual) trip to none other than the Big Apple to see exactly what a person should be seeking out in order to feel like a true New Yorker. With that being said, there's a disclaimer about the state of New York: It's technically three separate regions, with Long Island sticking out into the Atlantic and Upstate New York making up everything north of Downstate. There's even more debate about Upstate New York as it's comprised of Downstate, Central, Western, and North Country, but... that's not what we're arguing about today.
In fact, today is an argue-free discussion about which foods in New York City, specifically, are iconic to locals. In part one of the three-part New York Eats series, we're exploring the ins and outs of the 'city' as it's known to locals and letting travelers know that no, a BEC is definitely not optional when it comes to the early-morning breakfast hours and, yes, a slice of pizza does taste different at Penn Station.
Pastrami On Rye
It should come as absolutely no surprise that pastrami on rye made the list. It doesn't matter if you're not a fan of rye bread - ordering it on anything else will only earn a person peculiar, and even disgusted, glances. Pastrami is often the first 'deli' meat that many kids grow up eating in New York City with the only exception being ham or turkey on a bacon, egg, and cheese. Get it straight, with spicy mustard, some kraut, and good luck finding an open table at Katz's.
Speaking of which, the bacon, egg, and cheese is New York City's most iconic breakfast sandwich. We've got the deets on how to make a pretty decent one at home but when it comes down to it, no one is doing it better than the best city in the country (according to New Yorkers). This sandwich should be made on a flat top with eggs that are perfectly cooked, melted, gooey American cheese, and thick slices of bacon across the center. All of this is wrapped up in a kaiser roll and when you hold this aluminum-wrapped sandwich in your hand, it's like all is right in the world.
Bagel And Lox
If you're not feeling eggs, cheese, or bacon, then there is one other option: a bagel with lox. Traditionally, the best bagel for this is plain, but everything and egg are also great choices. A bagel in New York City is different in the sense that it's always perfectly cooked and gets about a pound of cream cheese (usually flavored and made from scratch) piled on top, before getting a layer of lox that's piled roughly as high. Occasionally, capers will be part of the deal and, yes, it's as delicious as it sounds.
Slice Of Pizza
Not a pie, just a single slice of pizza. This is by far one of the most convenient and satisfying one-stop bites a person can find in the city, and it's only as good as the grease that's leaking through the (three) plates it sits on top of. A slice of New York City pizza will be comparable to the size of a person's head and the only true way to eat it while walking - as many New Yorkers do - is to fold it... Just watch out for the pizza grease on your shirt.
Street Vendor Hot Dog
Often called 'dirty water dogs,' the hot dog carts lining the streets of New York City are pretty iconic. They're found throughout the parks, throughout Midtown, and, basically, anywhere tourists would be. There's something different about eating a hot dog while walking through the city and while it could just be the onion topping, it might actually be the 'dirty water.'
Black And White Cookie
If you're staying in the city and haven't grabbed a black and white cookie, are you even visiting the city? This is by far one of the most iconic cookies to grace both bakeries and delis. While it has competed with plenty of Italian cookies, it still stands as the symbol of New York in all its sugary glory.
Halal Cart Food
Also known as 'meat over rice' or 'street meat,' The Halal Guys is the best place to try this for the first time. Their carts are found throughout the city and if you're worried about finding one, don't be - you'll be able to know one is near thanks to its scent, which is unmistakable. By the time you find it, your mouth will be watering so much that you'll need extra napkins.