Culinary Backstreets New York City
For culinary explorers, Queens is not merely a way station; it is a destination in itself. The largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City, Queens is the home of well over two million people, half born outside the United States, speaking untold hundreds of mother tongues. During the day, you might hear a dozen languages without breaking a sweat. The gastronomic variety is perhaps even more astonishing. Queens embraces innumerable small neighborhoods within neighborhoods, and no single cuisine or family of cuisines holds sway in them all. The local favorites in food and drink, and the favorite ways to enjoy them, seem to change before your eyes every time you turn a corner.
Tours Offered by
Culinary Backstreets New York City
The United Kitchens: Going Deep in the Borough of Global Eats:
On this full-day Queens food tour, you’ll visit Corona and Elmhurst, two of the boroughs’ more diverse neighborhoods, where we will sample more than a dozen specialties of Latin America, Southeast Asia and South America, and more. On this deep dive into the immigrant cooking experience in Queens, you will visit Corona and Elmhurst. These two unassuming neighborhoods have managed to stay under the radar while other parts of the borough have become increasingly popular destinations. You will start our day off in bustling Corona Plaza, in the shadow of the elevated tracks of the 7 train, for a visit to a family-run Mexican bakery and, not far away, a taste of handmade tortillas and, on the weekends, pit-roasted goat.
From there, the walk will continue along Roosevelt Avenue, the area’s main artery and Queens’s version of the Pan-American Highway, ducking into markets and stopping by vendors representing Mexico, Ecuador, and Argentina. You’ll stop by a Colombian “fast food” joint on a side street. The next stops will include a Tibetan momo hole-in-the-wall, a hip Thai grocery-cum-community center, a Chinese dumpling and hand-pulled noodle shop, and a small spot serving the crossroads cuisine of China’s Henan province. It will end at a neighborhood cafe – part of a local mini-chain opened by an immigrant family from Taiwan – that specializes in desserts made from the intriguing durian fruit, for an end-of-the-day sweet and another reminder that what has always made America great is the ability for anyone from anywhere to come here and make a successful new start.
Asia in Queens: Exploring NYC’s Largest Chinatown:
Located on the western edge of New York, where the 7 subway line ends, the Flushing neighborhood of Queens exists as a kind of world of its own. Unfamiliar to most New Yorkers, this bustling neighborhood is home to the city’s most vibrant and diverse Asian community – larger, in fact, than the more famous Chinatown in Manhattan. This diversity is perhaps best represented through Flushing’s stellar food scene. On this walk through the neighborhood, we’ll explore the area’s almost mind-blowing culinary diversity while learning about Flushing’s fascinating history.
We’ll visit vendors, the outdoor stands of local restaurants, and some of Flushing’s mall-based food courts – considered by locals to have some of the area’s best eats – tasting delicacies from China, Korea, Vietnam, and other countries. From stalls selling Hong Kong-style dim sum and snacks to bakeries turning out the Korean take on French pastries and a visit to a local kimchi maker, we’ll dive deep into the best the neighborhood offers. On our Flushing food tour, we’ll take a look at some of the area’s unique cultural markers, from a storefront Daoist temple to the Flushing Quaker Meeting House, built in 1694 – a testament to the important role the area, originally a Dutch settlement, has played in the history of New York.
- Visit residential neighborhoods
- Terrain fairly flat/ Stroller – friendly
- Can accommodate a vegan diet with some alterations
- Children welcome
- Most stops can be altered for vegetarians and pescatarians
- Can accommodate a gluten-free diet
- Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
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