If the idea of a guided tour around a New York City neighborhood sounds like something only a wide-eyed tourist would do, think again. These food-centric tours are perfect for New Yorkers who want to get a taste of the history and cultures of individual neighborhoods. Walk, nibble and sip during these tours for NYC foodies. By Sarah Shaker.
NYC Chinatown Dumpling Tour
The NYC Chinatown Dumpling Tour is run by Mark Birch, a New York City entrepreneur and dumpling aficionado. Speaking both English and Chinese, join Mark and a group of locals and tourists as they hit up eight epic houses of dumpling and feast on offerings representing the breadth and depth of Chinese dumpling cuisine. For only $25 you’ll get dumplings at each stop along the route, while learning interesting facts about the origin of dumplings and Chinatown history. Mark even has a secret dipping sauce for you to enjoy with your bites! Follow #NYCDumpling hashtag and @marksbirch on Twitter for updates on new tour dates. Stay tuned for upcoming dates for the NYC Chinatown Soup Dumpling Tour, starting back up this fall, as it gets cooler outside.
Brighton Beach to Coney Island, From Little Odessa to America’s Playground
This private tour is as “off the beaten path” as neighborhood walks get. Within an hour from Midtown Manhattan by train lies the vibrant ethnic neighborhood of Brighton Beach. This area is known as “Little Russia by the Sea”, as it remains the most densely populated enclave of Russian-speaking immigrants in America. The walk will take you through the heart of Brighton, where you’ll sample kielbasa and pierogi, then take a stroll to historic Coney Island on the boardwalk, home of the new Luna Park and some iconic Brooklyn landmarks, including the Cyclone where you can grab some carnival treats as you explore.
Live so far downtown that you’re missing what Harlem has to offer? Book a tour for Taste Harlem to enjoy the neighborhood’s best fine and casual dining spots, from classic soul food to dishes representative of Harlem’s diverse cultural heritage. Your mouth will travel from New York to the Deep South, the Caribbean and West Africa. And between tastings, you’ll learn about Harlem’s rich history and treasured architecture.
Chelsea Market Food and Culture Walking Tour
Do you usually just stop into Chelsea Market for a snack when running errands? Now you can take the time to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of this historic 112-year old landmark building, which was the birthplace of the Oreo Cookie. You’ll learn the history of the Market, view original artwork and see how the Market has become the ultimate indoor food paradise, as you taste your way through with bites from seven “mom and pop” food shops in the Chelsea Market and one restaurant in the Meatpacking District. There will even be time to check out the High Line, if you still haven’t had time to enjoy this elevated park.
Lower East Side Artisan Food Tasting Tour
More: NYC’s 5 Best Doughnuts
While this tour doesn’t miss out on the old school jewels of the neighborhood, like Russ & Daughter’s, Kossar’s Bialys and Yonah Schimmel knishes, you’ll also get a look at some of the newest hot spots in New York City. See coffee being roasted in a 21st century way, indulge in exotic donuts, pucker at pickles and so much more. For those living uptown who are missing out on what’s happening below 14th street, this tour shouldn’t be missed.
Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.