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New York City Food

Food Identified with New York City Origins

New York City style hot dogs, especially with sauerkraut, sweet relish, onion sauce, ketchup, and/or mustard.

Manhattan clam chowder has a clear broth, plus tomato for red color and flavor. In the 1890s, it was called “New York Clam Chowder” and “Fulton Fish Market” clam chowder. According to Good Eats, the addition of tomatoes in place of milk was actually the work of Portuguese immigrants.

New York style cheesecake relies on heavy cream. It is usually made of cream cheese, eggs, and egg yolks to add richness and consistency. It is baked in a special 13 to 15-cm (5 to 6-inch) tall springform pan in many restaurants. There are recipes that choose to add cottage cheese and lemon for a different kind of flavor, or drizzle the cheesecake with chocolate or strawberry sauce.

New York style pizza originated in NYC in the early 1900s. It is wide, thin, and foldable. The traditional toppings were tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese with any additional topping placed on the cheese. Traditionally, it is hand-tossed and light on sauce.

New York style pastrami is typically sliced thin and served generously hot on rye bread. A classic New York deli sandwich (pastrami on rye) is sometimes accompanied by coleslaw and Russian dressing.

New York soft pretzels served hot off of a vendor’s cart. May also be topped with mustard.

Italian ice is a frozen dessert made from either concentrated syrup flavoring or fruit puree. There are many flavors like cherry, coconut, pina colada, blueberry, and lemon.

A knish is a snack food made popular in North America by Jewish immigrants. A knish has a dough that is either baked, grilled, or deep fried. Knishes can be purchased from street vendors. The traditional filling is made entirely of mashed potato, but fillings may also include ground meat, sauerkraut, onions, kasha (buckwheat groats), or cheese. Modern fillings include sweet potatoes, black beans, fruit, broccoli, tofu, or spinach.

Eggs Benedict is an English muffin topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. Its origins are from NYC.

Waldorf salad traditionally consists of raw apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise, and served as an appetizer or a light meal. The salad was created between 1893 and 1896 at the Waldorf Hotel in NYC.

Delmonico steak was a special cut steak made world-famous by Delmonico’s Restaurant during the mid-1800s.

Dishes Invented—or Alleged to Have Been Invented—in NYC

Steak Diane made from beef tenderloin. The steak is seasoned by rubbing garlic and ground pepper into it and fried quickly in butter. Often a sauce is prepared from the pan juices using butter, shallots, cream, beef stock, and Worcestershire sauce.

Egg cream is a classic beverage consisting of chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer. Dating from the late 19th century, it is especially associated with Brooklyn, NY. The home of its alleged inventor is candy store owner Louis Auster. The egg cream is almost exclusively a fountain drink. The Brooklyn Egg Cream consisted of chocolate syrup while the New York Egg Cream used vanilla syrup.

The popular cocktail Bloody Mary consists of vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices such as Worcestershire sauce, tabasco sauce, beef consommé or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olive, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt. One version of its origin is that it was invented by Fernand Petiot in 1921 while working at the New York Bar in Paris, France—later to become Harry’s New York Bar.

Another version is that it was created by George Jessel around 1939 and, according to a bartender from the St. Regis Hotel in NYC, Fernand Petiot invented the Red Snapper—a classy name for Bloody Mary—at the St. Regis in 1934. However, there was no horseradish in this recipe. Whatever its origin, the Bloody Mary is intended to cure hangovers and is generally served in the morning.

General Tso’s chicken, a sweet and spicy, deep-fried chicken dish that is popularly served in American and Canadian Chinese restaurants. The dish is believed to have been introduced to NYC in the early 1970s as an example of Hunan and Szechuan style cooking. It was first mentioned in The New York Times in 1977.

The Reuben Sandwich is a hot sandwich of layered corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian—or sometimes Thousand Island dressing—grilled between slices of rye bread. One version is that it was invented by Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of the once-famous, now defunct Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York who, according to an interview with Craig Claiborne, invented the “Reuben Special” around 1914.

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New York City Food
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