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It's no secret that authentic New York food and drink experiences help create an incredible food scene. As with most cities as multi-cultural as the Big Apple, you can find incredible cuisine from around the world. Whether that's English to Ethiopian, Mexican to Moroccan or traditional recipes from New York and across the USA.

After all, some of America's most famous dishes are those that are actually from New York, developed in-state and are now synonymous with the city itself. Not only has New York been the birthplace of plenty of innovative and delicious recipes that have since become American classics, but the City has also taken some pre-existing recipes and made them their own. So much so, that the New York version becomes a new recipe in its own right.

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The Most Traditional Recipes from New York

In this article, we'll be talking you through some of our favourite sweet and savoury recipes that are traditionally from New York, including home-style dishes, street food, snacks and desserts. Maybe don't read this right now if you're hungry…

Waldorf salad

The Waldorf salad is a nut and fruit salad generally made of celery, apples, walnuts and grapes dressed in mayonnaise and served on a bed of lettuce. Named after the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Fifth Avenue, the Waldorf salad was invented by maître d'hôtel, Oscar Tschirky. Dating back to 1896, this salad might sound a little odd when we compare it to what we commonly think of like a salad, but the delicate balance of texture and flavour means that this dish has stuck around for over a century.

Soft-bake Pretzels

Although it's believed that German immigrants brought pretzels with them when they arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1700s, soft bake pretzels have become a staple of New York City street food. With the hot, doughy treats available on virtually every corner, New York has unsurprisingly learned to do pretzels very, very well. Often served warm with flaked salt, the soft bake pretzel is a cheap, warm treat that can be served with a variety of toppings and dips such as cinnamon and sugar, dipping cheese or melted chocolate.

New-York style bagel

Of course, we aren't suggesting that the bagel originated in New York, but New Yorkers, specifically the Jewish community of New York, have made New York-style bagels a staple food of tourists, transfers and Natives alike. Typically larger and fatter than your usual mass-produced bagel, although many cities across the globe make their own versions, the modern-day bagel we all know and love is native to the Lower East Side, in Manhattan. Served across the city with an endless array of fillings, you can find a cheap, hot, filling, delicious bagel on almost every street. Bacon, egg and cheese is a classic morning pick, while cream cheese and lox is a traditional treat.

Chopped cheese

Did you know that across the city, there are over 12,00 bodegas, delis and corner shops? It's no wonder then, that one of New York's most famous culinary exports is the bodega classic, the Chopped Cheese. Similar in composition to both a cheese sloppy Joe and a Philadelphia cheesesteak, the Chopped Cheese is comprised of ground beef fried up on a grill, onions, topped with melted cheese and served with lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments on a hoagie roll. Popular in Harlem, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, this sandwich has become an enigmatic icon of NYC.

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While pastrami is officially a Romanian dish, from the Romanian verb a păstra meaning "to preserve food, to keep something for a long duration", it's become one of the iconic meats of the New York City food scene. Often served as part of a Rueben sandwich with mustard and pickles, or even with another food from this list - the classic New York bagel, the pastrami is beef brisket which is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices and then smoked and steamed. Pastrami is a popular pick at those some 12,000 bodegas and delis we mentioned, and we once again have the Ashkenazi Jewish Community to thank for popularising this dish in the Big Apple.

New York-style pizza

We wouldn’t dare to suggest that pizza, just the concept of pizza, was dreamt up in New York City. There’s plenty of debate around the origins of the original dish, but there’s absolutely no question where New York-style pizza came from - (the clue is in the name). With its large, thin, hand-tossed crust, New York-style pizza is often sold in huge, single slices. With a crisp crust yet soft beneath its toppings, you might recall seeing New Yorkers in movies folding a piece in half lengthways before tucking in on the go. Toppings like cheese and tomato and pepperoni are classics for a reason, while new and unique combinations are emerging all the time. Mamma Mia.

New York Cheesecake

What sort of article about New York recipes would this be without mentioning the city’s favourite dessert, the New York cheesecake? The larger, richer, more indulgent cousin of the original dish, the New York cheesecake often contains either more cream cheese, added heavy cream or sour cream, or egg yolks for a richer, denser and creamier cheesecake. Served alone or with complementary toppings like cream or berry compote and baked to perfection to form a golden crust, a New York Cheesecake is, to us, just about the perfect dessert.

Italian Ices

Another dish we can thank New York’s Italian American community for, Italian ices are shaved or crushed ice usually sweetened with fruit juices or purées, or otherwise mixed with natural or artificial flavourings. Shaved ice is commonly found across the city, especially during the summer, and is a colourful, cheap and refreshing treat. Thought to be derived from Sicilian granita, flavours like lemon, cherry and raspberry are favourites. Served on paper cups or cones, Italian ice is often sold out of moving carts along the sidewalk.

New York Food and Drink Experiences

These classic New York recipes encapsulate the culture of the city and all those who’ve played their part in impacting the local food scene. Have you tried any of these famous dishes? Even if the answer's yes, our New York food and drink experiences will be a chance to savour them again in the heart of the city.

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