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Cuisine of New York City

The cuisine of New York City comprises many cuisines belonging to various ethnic groups that have entered the United States through the city. Almost all ethnic cuisines are well represented in New York City, both within and outside the various ethnic neighborhoods.[1] New York City was also the founding city of New York Restaurant Week which has spread around the world due to the discounted prices that such a deal offers.[2] In New York City there are over 12,000 bodegas, delis and groceries and many among them are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Enclaves reflecting national cuisines

The Bronx


An Indian restaurant in Jackson Heights


  • Bay Ridge – Irish, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Palestinian, Yemeni and other Arabic
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant – African-American, Jamaican, Trinidadian, Puerto Rican and West Indian
  • Bensonhurst; – Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Russian, Mexican, Uzbek
  • Borough Park – Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Chinese
  • Brighton Beach – Russian, Georgian, Turkish, Pakistani and Ukrainian
  • Bushwick – Puerto Rican, Mexican, Dominican, and Ecuadorian
  • Canarsie – Jamaican, West Indian, African-American
  • Carroll Gardens – Italian
  • Crown Heights – Jamaican, West Indian, and Jewish
  • East New York – African-American, Dominican, and Puerto Rican
  • Flatbush – Jamaican, Haitian, and Creole
  • Greenpoint – Polish and Ukrainian
  • Kensington – Bengali, Pakistani, Mexican, Uzbek, and Polish
  • Midwood – Jewish, Italian, Russian, and Pakistani
  • Park Slope – Italian, Irish, French, and Puerto Rican (formerly)
  • Red Hook – Puerto Rican, African-American, and Italian
  • Sheepshead Bay – Seafood, Chinese, Russian, and Italian
  • Sunset Park – Puerto Rican, Chinese, Arab, Mexican and Italian
  • Williamsburg – Italian, Jewish, Dominican and Puerto Rican

Staten Island


Food identified with New York City

Food associated with or popularized in New York City

  • Hot dogs – Served with sauerkraut, sweet relish, onion sauce, or mustard.[3]

Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine

Bagel and lox

Much of the cuisine usually associated with New York City stems in part from its large community of Ashkenazi Jews and their descendants. The world famous New York institution of the "Delicatessen," commonly referred to as a "Deli," was originally an institution of the city's Jewry.[citation needed] Much of New York City's Jewish fare has become popular around the globe, especially bagels. (New York City's Jewish community is also famously fond of Chinese food, and many members of this community think of it as their second ethnic cuisine.[5])

Italian-American cuisine

Like the Askenazi-Jewish community, much of the cuisine usually associated with New York City stems in part from its large community of Italian-Americans and their descendants. Much of New York City's Italian fare has become popular around the globe, especially New York-style pizza.

Chino-Latino cuisine

Chino-Latino cuisine associated with New York City stems, by and large, to the earliest migration of Chinese migrants to Cuba in the mid-1800s.[6] Due to a labor shortage and then the Chinese revolution in 1949, close to 125,000 indentured or contract Chinese Laborers arrived in Cuba between 1847 and 1874.[7] The laborers or coolies were almost exclusively male, and most worked on sugar plantations alongside enslaved Africans.[8] Tens of thousands of Chinese who survived indenture and remained on the island during the 1870s and 1880s now had more physical, occupational, and even social mobility. They joined gangs of agricultural laborers, grew vegetables in the countryside, peddled goods, and worked as artisans or at unskilled jobs in town.[9] One of the oldest and largest Chinatowns is located in Havana, known as Barrio Chino de La Habana. Despite that fact Chino-Latino restaurants are rarely found in the Chinatown's of the United States. On the contrary, they tend to be concentrated in the Spanish-speaking areas of the five boroughs.[10] Ten years after the Chinese revolution, came the Cuban Revolution, forcing Chinese merchant communities to relocate once again. Local national conditions that inspire the remigration of Chinese from other parts of Latin America, suffice it to say that political and economic instability in countries like Peru, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Ecuador have played a key role in determining the flow of migration northward.[7] The distinct Cuban-Chinese or Latino Chino identity wasn’t found in New York City until the late 1960s and early 1970s when thousands of Chinese remigrated to the United States.[6]

Cultural Significance of Chino-Latino cuisine

The occurrence of the Cuban and Chino fuse, had been established when the Chinese began to migrate to Cuba had been viewed as a unique immersion of a new and diverse part of culture. When arriving into the United States, a country in which binary racial categories had now been geared toward the racial segregation of Latinos and Asians which has slowly began to be accepted. Individuals that had previously owned restaurant locals in Cuba’s “Barrio Chino de la Habana”,[11] initiated the adjustment to personal preference.[12] Once these previous business owners arrived and settled in East Harlem,[13] people began to establish new businesses based on the emersion within foods they have learned when cultured in Cuba, to honor their heritage and establish their economic stability. For incoming immigrants, these restaurants had a homelike feeling due to the authentic qualities and similarities between their settling area and their home country. It had been a minimal aspect of their home country such as, food that allows people to feel comfortable and adapt within their area of settlement. However, just as this concept had emerged in an accepting manner within present day these restaurants are considered to be disappearing this is due to the lack of the Chinese population migrating directly from Cuba in order to keep the tradition upheld. The last Chinese migration directly from Cuba had occurred in 1959,[14] which has caused doubt on how much longer part of the Cuban and Chinese culture can progress. The process of acculturization allowed the younger generations to lose touch of their roots,[14] compared to others who want to stand by where they come in order to keep heritage alive.

The Origins of Cuban-Chino Food

The core aspects of Cuban and Chinese food are similar in many ways such that a huge portion of their dishes revolve around white meats such as pork and starches such as rice.[15]  But, at the end of the day the Cuban-Chinese cuisine is the cultivation of the food culture of both countries within one restaurant.[7]  The Chinese aspect of this cuisine bringing in dishes such as fried rice, chow mien or even shrimp with black bean sauce.  Whereas, the cuban cuisine bring in typical dishes such as ropa vieja or platanos maduros.  Now when you think about ingredients each of the respective countries have ingredients that help distinguish their dishes.  In Chinese cooking vegetables such bok choy, amaranth or broccoli play a big role in the development of popular Chinese dishes such as a stir fry.  The Chinese style of cooking also relies a lot on oils, sauces and vinegars; including the most commonly known soy sauce as well as others such as rice vinegar, sesame oil and oyster sauce.[16] The Cubans use a distinct handful of spices such as Garlic, cumin, oregano, bay leaf and cilantro.  While also using a good amount of vegetables in their cooking of which include onions, bell peppers and tomatoes.[17] In Cuban cooking these vegetables and spices playing a role in building dishes into extremely flavor packed foods.

Chino Latino Restaurants in NYC

Jardín De China Restaurant

El Pabellón de Oro

La Caridad 78

La Dinastía

La Preciosa China

La Nueva Victoria

Chino Latino Dishes

Fried rice

Fried Pork Chop

Lumpiang Shanghai

Sesame Chicken

Chicken and Broccoli

Egg Drop Soup

Oxtail stew


White Rice with Black Beans and Churrasco

Dishes invented or claimed in New York City

Street food

Pizza truck in Midtown
Vendor in New York City

Notable food and beverage companies

Serendipity 3 is a popular restaurant in the Upper East Side of Manhattan founded by Stephen Bruce in 1954.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Zelinsky, W. (1985). "The roving palate: North America's ethnic restaurant cuisines". Geoforum. 16: 51–72. doi:10.1016/0016-7185(85)90006-5.
  2. ^ Gergely Baics, Feeding Gotham: The Political Economy and Geography of Food in New York, 1790–1860 (Princeton UP, 2016)
  3. ^ a b c Let's Go New York City. Let's Go. 2008-11-25. ISBN 9780312385804. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Gilbert, Jonathan (2010). Michelin Green Guide New York City. Portugal: Michelin España. ISBN 9781906261863.
  5. ^ Tuchman, Gary; Harry Gene Levine (October 1993). "New York Jews and Chinese Food: The social construction of an ethnic pattern". Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 22 (3): 1. doi:10.1177/089124193022003005. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  6. ^ a b Siu, L. (2008). Chino Latino Restaurants: Converging Communities, Identities, and Cultures. Afro-Hispanic Review,27(1), 161-171. Retrieved from
  7. ^ a b c Siu, L. (2008). Chino Latino Restaurants: Converging Communities, Identities, and Cultures. Afro-Hispanic Review, 27(1), 161-171. Retrieved from
  8. ^
  9. ^ LÓPEZ, K. (2013). Free Laborers. In Chinese Cubans: A Transnational History (pp. 54-81). University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved from
  10. ^ Howe, Marvine (1985-06-17). "For Cuban-Chinese, the Twain Meet". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "The Fading Splendor of Havana's Chinatown". Havana Times. 2014-06-13. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  12. ^ Siu, Lok (2008). "Chino Latino Restaurants: Converging Communities, Identities, and Cultures". Afro-Hispanic Review. 27 (1): 161–171. ISSN 0278-8969. JSTOR 23055229.
  13. ^ Laó-Montes, Agustín; Dávila, Arlene M.; Davila, Arlene (2001). Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231112758.
  14. ^ a b "Chino-Cubano Cuisine Is Vanishing – Dollars & Sense". Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  15. ^ Chiu, Lisa Chiu Lisa; NetworkAmerica, a digital producer for China Global Television; culture, is a former newspaper reporter specializing in Chinese; history; Affairs, Current. "Cuban-Chinese Cuisine Is a Specific Take on Chino-Latino Food Fusion". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  16. ^ "Chinese Ingredients Glossary - What you will need for Chinese cooking". The Woks of Life. 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  17. ^ "Cooking Cuban: 3 Trusty Cuban Kitchen Staples". Casual Gourmet. 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2019-05-10.
  18. ^ Editorial (5 March 1915). Chicken a la King Inventor Dies. New York Tribune, pg. 9, col. 5
  19. ^ Barron, James (December 8, 2005). "The Cookie That Comes Out in the Cold". New York Times.
  20. ^ Knafo, Saki. "Decline of the Dog". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Serendipity 3". Archived from the original on March 19, 2009. Retrieved March 10, 2009.

Further reading

  • Baics, Gergely. Feeding Gotham: The Political Economy and Geography of Food in New York, 1790–1860 (Princeton UP, 2016) xviii, 347 pp.
  • Batterberry, Ariane Ruskin & Michael Batterberry (1973). On the Town in New York, from 1776 to the Present. Scribner. ISBN 0-6841-3375-X.
  • Hauck-Lawson, Annie; Deutsch, Jonathan, eds. (2010). Gastropolis: Food & New York City. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-13652-5.
  • Sietsema, Robert. "10 Iconic Foods of New York City, and Where To Find Them." Village Voice. Friday February 17, 2012.

External links