80 Day New York Global Food Challenge; Where to Eat Around the World in NYC
You’ve heard it before — New York City is a melting pot, and that means there are many, many different cuisines on offer. We decided to test out just how many countries we could eat from in 80 days without leaving NYC!
This post will be updated as our food journey around the world continues!
Where to Eat Asian Food in New York City
Indonesia – Sky Cafe (Elmhurst, Queens)
Sky Cafe has a small, simple set up on Whitney Ave. in Elmhurst. We went for Nasi Goreng as Si has some good memories of this dish from his days traveling Asia. It was pretty good and came with prawn crackers. You certainly get the Queens value as this dish was $10 bucks!
Vietnam – Addictive Bahn Mi (Jackson Heights, Queens)
Owned by the son of Vietnamese immigrants and opened just before the pandemic. They serve a simple menu of Bánh mì and dumplings. We got the pork belly Bánh mì which was loaded with pickled daikon and carrots. The fresh bread took it up another level. ($8)
The owners also run Addictive Wine Bar, across the street which is one of our favorite places in the city for enjoying wine from around the globe.
Thailand – Ayada (Elmhurst, Queens + Chelsea Market)
We headed to Ayada which is one of our go-to spots. We got the duck Penang and papaya salad with raw crab. The raw crab took a second to get used to, but the salad had loads of flavor. The duck Penang is their signature dish and always comes with super crispy skin and juicy meat. ($14 + $22 = $36)
Where to Eat Food from North America + The Caribbean in NYC
USA – Hometown BBQ (Red Hook, Brooklyn)
We ordered half a pound of brisket and a side of mac and cheese. It was some really good brisket and they gave us a nice balance of lean and fatty meat. It’s our favorite bbq in NYC so far! ($24)
Mexico – Birria Landia (Jackson Heights, Queens)
This place has taken off in the last year like no other. It used to be our go to spot for when we didn’t feel like cooking or spending a lot of money on dining out. The Birria Landia food truck parks just a a few minutes walk from our apartment on 78th and Roosevelt Ave., but now, unless you arrive before they open at 5pm, you’ll definitely be waiting awhile in line, which is sad for us and our spontaneous eating habits but we understand why everyone wants their food so badly – their stewed beef tacos ($3 each) might just be the best we ever had! We also love their mulitas ($4 each) , which are like mini, crunchy quesadillas and their consomme ($4 for small, $6 for large) or beef broth with chopped Birria is perfect for dipping. We always get some of each item.
Cuba – Rincon Cri0llo (Corona, Queens)
An authentic Cuban spot that’s been opened since 1976. We started with some plantain chips with garlic and olive oil and a Cuban beer. We asked the waiter for an authentic recommendation and he said to go for the Ropa Vieja. In this dish there’s shredded flank steak simmered in tomato sauce with onions and peppers. ($18.95 + beer)
South + Central American Food in NYC
Colombia – Arepa Lady (Jackson Heights, Queens)
We ordered the cheese and chorizo arepa. This place started out as a food cart of Roosevelt Ave. They now have two locations. The dish is tasty but rather small for the price and the area. ($10)
Paraguay – I love Paraguay (Sunnyside, Queens)
We decided to try two dishes at this spot since they were both smaller. We got the Chip So’o ($4.00), made from a corn based and stuffed with ground beef, and the Chipa Guazú ($6.50) which is a cheesy corn soufflé.
Both items came from the traditional section on their menu.
Where to Eat European Food in NYC
England – Dame (Greenwich Village, Manhattan)
First thing to note is, they do proper chips, both fluffy and crispy! We got a nice chunky piece of fish which was cooked perfectly. We did shed a little tear for the lack of mushy peas, but the tartare sauce was legit! ($20)
Portugal – Joey Bats Cafe (Lower East Side + Midtown West)
Of course we had to have the Pastéis de Nata and boy were they delicious! Super buttery and way more flaky then ones we’ve have in the past. Sprinkled with a nice amount of cinnamon. ($3 each)
Denmark – SMØR (East Village, Manhattan)
Here we tried pickled herring SMØRREBRØD. We honestly weren’t 100 percent sure how we would feel about this dish, but it as awesome. The food was light, fresh flavors on quality bread with capers, creme fraiche and shallots. It would be perfect on a summer afternoon with a glass of white wine. ($9)
Georgia – Georgian Deli and Bakery (Brooklyn)
We ordered the Imeruli khachapuri which is this doughy bread filled with cheese. It was oozing with cheese and absolutely delicious! ($8)
Belgium – Pomme Frites (West Village, Manhattan)
If you want a good fry fix you need to get yourself to Pomme Frites. They serve of crispy 100% fresh cut potatoes fried in quality oil. Pair the fries with a sauce of your choosing from the classic ketchup, to mustard or rosemary aioli. We chose to get 1 regular portion ($6.25) with our dip layered in – so know fry was left sauceless. They were so indulgent and delicious.
We loved their system at the front window, where you could simply tap in your order and pay on the screen. It made for an easy fry getaway!
Ireland – The Dead Rabbit (Financial District, Manhattan)
We headed down to the Dead Rabbit for Irish food and a Guinness. This is a two story bar, the upstairs one has voted best bar in the world, twice! Unfortunately that part wasn’t opened so sat downstairs which has a nice, cozy pub feel to it.
We ended up getting the traditional Irish lamb stew ($19) which had vegetables and big chunks of meat with bread on the side for dipping. We accompanied the stew with a pint of smooth Guiness ($9).
Albania – Dua Kafe (East Village, Manhattan)
This spot was definitely one of our favorite so far. The dishes we tried were very different for us and the hospitality was excellent. One of the main reasons we started this challenge was to experience different cultures and we certainly got that from Dua Kafe.
We had the Kashkaval Cheese which is a moorish cheese dish that gets flambé’d in front of you! Gotta love a bit of show! We also had the Fli Combo + Qebapa ($20) which is a delicious pastry and beef sausage dish. Lastly we had the Fergese ($12) which is a creamy dish of cottage cheese, peppers, onions and spices.
It wouldn’t have been Albanian hospitality without a couple of shots of Raki to finish the meal!
Germany – Max Bratwurst (Astoria, Queens)
Middle Eastern Food in New York
Yemen – Shibam Yemen Cafe (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)
We order Fasha, a traditional Yemeni stew made with lamb broth and topped with a fenugreek dip. We chose lamb as our meat and it came with bread called Rashoush as well as soup and salad. The stew was served in a hot stone bowl and was delicious dipped into the stew. ($18)
Palestine – Ayat (Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)
Ayat serves Palestinian street food. We ordered the Kefta bi Tahina. This dish includes lamb, potatoes and vegetables in a citrus tahini sauce. It was super fragrant and flavorful. ($19)
Tea for two ($7)
Israel – 12 Chairs Cafe (Greenwich Village, Manhattan + Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
We ate at the 12 Chairs Cafe location in Soho and it was pretty busy when we arrived even though we went on a week day! They had some outdoor sitting and both the indoor and outdoor spaces were very cute.
Everything on their menu is home made and sounded super tasty, but we tried to keep it authentic and ordered the Baladi Eggplant and Labaneh with Za’atar. The eggplant had a lot of flavor and was topped with tahini sauce and pine nuts ($12). The Labaneh with so creamy and served with seasoned olive oil and home made pita.
We highly recommend trying this place out — I know we will definitely be going back!
African Food in NYC