A self-proclaimed foodie (okay, as “foodie” as a vegetarian can actually be, let’s be honest!), I was so excited to join a food-centric walking tour of Little Italy and Chinatown. While I’m no stranger to either of these neighborhoods (thanks mostly to the month of jury duty I had in the area last year, leaving me tons of lunch break hours to explore the local cuisine), I was confident that Alana from Ahoy: New York Tours & Tasting would lead me to pastures yet to be grazed by my palette. And boy did she ever.
On what was probably the hottest day of this summer’s heat wave, we met in front of a Chinatown grocery store. Those of you familiar with the displays of fish, octopus, and other sea urchins that lurk in front of the neighborhood shops can catch my drift when I say it was the HOTTEST. DAY. OF. SUMMER. Our senses were on overload, and we were ready to dash into the world of Little Italy where the less potent-smelling gelato lines the streets.
Ahh, Little Italy. Our first stop was the oldest cheese shop in NYC, Alleva Dairy. We tasted in-store made unsalted mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto. And for me, a
double triple serving of mozzarella. How lucky are us vegetarians?! The next stop was Di Palo’s Fine Foods, where we got to indulge in some imported cheese this time. Oh. My. Goodness. The Piave cow’s milk was a love affair at first bite. Even though Little Italy is a healthy subway ride away from my apartment, I’m certain I’ll be returning back for blocks of this goodness, like, all the time.
Stops were also made at Grand Appetito for my favorite food in the world (pizza, although there should be no need to mention the obvious!), as well as a delectable little cannoli at Ferrara’s Bakery and Cafe.
In case you’re wondering, “Jess, did you just stuff your face this entire tour?!” The answer is
yes no, it was actually filled with quite a bit of history, trivia, and interesting little stories involving the mafia and shootings. Lots of shootings. But let’s get back to the important part: the food.
After finishing up with Little Italy, we headed back into the far east…the heart of Chinatown. Thai food at Pongsri, dumplings at Tasty Dumpling, and the Original Egg Roll at Nom Wah Tea Parlor.
While I’m sure the friendly folks from North Dakota didn’t notice the giant “C” on the window of Nom Wah, my trained New York eye certainly saw it and I gave pause to trying anything in the restaurant. However, the fabulous foodie Alana hadn’t steered us wrong yet, so I squeezed my eyes shut super tight (like that’s going to help), and took a big bite of my veggie rice roll.
Quite frankly, I could care less if Nom Wah has a “F” rating from the health department, I will no longer get my veggie rolls from any other place this side of China.
To book your own delicious bite of the big apple, visit our friends at Vimbly.
Have you ever been on a food walking tour? Share the most delicious thing you tried below!
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen