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Five New York Foods You Wont Get As Good Anywhere Else

Updated on January 18, 2015

New York delis are where lots of great foods can be found

Which New York foods are your favorites?

New York City is a large melting pot of different cultures, and with all that culture comes a lot of diverse cuisine and ethnic food. But the five New York foods that seem to taste the best in NYC and never as good anywhere else are as basic as it gets. New Yorkers who have traveled or lived anywhere else can probably name a few right off the top of their head, and those who have never tasted the following treats might never understand why New Yorkers swear by them.

Essential ingredients for the classic New York egg cream

1. The New York Egg Cream

A staple of older generations of New Yorkers, this chocolaty, fizzy concoction seems to exist only in NYC and the surrounding boroughs. In the remainder of the states, the majority people have never even heard of one. But its quite simple to make, and very tasty to drink. Although it has never been confirmed, most legends say that the New York egg cream was created in Brooklyn at a soda fountain. It consists of milk, seltzer, and Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup (though nowadays other brands of syrups are likely substituted).

Scroll to the bottom of this Hub for more detailed information on how to make your own egg cream, and you can also watch the video below.

How to make a New York egg cream

The classic everything bagel

2. New York Bagels

Though many have tried to duplicate them and often come close, most people will still swear that a New York bagel is superior to any others. Some say it has to do with the New York water that is used with the dough. It also has a lot to do with production processes that are often not duplicated outside of New York. However, it has become easier to find relatively good imitations in other states due to the New Yorkers that have moved and then opened up a bagel shop.

A New York Bialy

What is a Bialy?

Many New York delis and bagel shops also serve bialys, which can be hard to find outside of NY.

A bialy is similar to a bagel, but has a depression on top rather than a hole that goes all the way through. The hole is filled with chopped onion. You can eat them with butter or cream cheese just like a bagel, or make use them to make a sandwich.

Slice of NY pepperoni pizza

You can get all sorts of toppings on your pizza, but pepperoni is the most common.
You can get all sorts of toppings on your pizza, but pepperoni is the most common.

3. New York Pizza

Another staple of New York, the pizza has also steadily managed to make its way into other states as more New Yorkers move. But once again, the combination of water and production, along with the type of oil used and the oven the pizza is baked in makes a New York slice better than all the rest. It should be noted that it is the combination of all of the above working in conjunction that makes the slice taste the best. Omit one, and you've lost a bit of that flavor that all New Yorkers recognize and love.

Chinese takeout

4. New York Chinese Food

You'd think that Chinese food is simply Chinese food, and it should taste the same no matter where in the states you are. But for some reason, it is especially difficult to find a Chinese take out place outside of New York that maintains a the same style, flavor, and preparation. Every Chinese takeout place in New York seems to churn out the same exact food with little difference in prep, though of course some are better than others. Outside of New York, however, preparation of many of the main dishes may vary widely from state to state, as well as the flavor of the sauces.

If you've never tasted New York Chinese food, then you've nothing to compare your own state's food to and so you might be well satisfied. But New Yorkers know the difference!

NYC hot dogs

5. New York Street Vendor Hot Dogs

There is something about purchasing a hot dog from a vendor on the streets of New York City that really adds to the true New York experience. Nearly everyone who has walked through the city has had at least one, and for many who live in the city, it is a daily expenditure. Most New York hot dogs purchased from a street cart are boiled, but some may also be grilled. They are typically always made of 100% beef, and toppings often consist simply of mustard and ketchup, but many carts offer more. In addition to the street vendor hot dogs, Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs also originate in New York.

How to make a New York egg cream

The egg cream is a flavorful concoction consisting of a few simple ingredients, none of which is eggs or cream. While the origins of both the name and the original recipe are shrouded in legend and speculation, one fact about the egg cream that has remained consistent since its inception is that it was created in New York and has since become a staple of New York soda fountains, hence the moniker New York Egg Cream, as it is often properly called.

Just as New Yorkers can claim to have the best pizza and superior bagels, so too can they take pride in having been responsible for the egg cream, even if they tend to disagree as to who originally created it. Most stories date the creation of the New York Egg Cream as far back as the late 1800s, at a soda fountain in Brooklyn.

The delicious combination of milk, seltzer and chocolate syrup is all that is required to produce a New York Egg Cream, and old-timers who resided in New York during the egg cream craze know that a true New York Egg Cream can only be made using Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup. U-Bet Chocolate Syrup became the prime ingredient for egg creams and helped push the soda fountain favorite to new heights of popularity across New York, where it reigned supreme as the primary drink of choice at soda fountains for many decades.

A classic New York Egg Cream recipe calls for 1 cup of seltzer, a 1/2 cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup (U-Bet Chocolate Syrup if you want to stick to protocol).

To make the New York Egg Cream, first pour the milk into a tall glass, followed by the seltzer, and mix thoroughly with a long spoon until a nice head of foam develops. The add the chocolate syrup. Wait for all the syrup to settle at the bottom of the glass, and mix again, so that the bottom of the glass remains rich and chocolatey, while the white head of foam at the top of the glass remains pure and untouched.

Half the fun of a New York Egg Cream is making one, the other half is guzzling it down. Be sure to drink the egg cream quickly, or the foam will soon dissipate and the seltzer and milk can tend to separate. The wonder that is a New York Egg Cream can be fleeting if not taken advantage of rather fast after all the ingredients are mixed.


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