EAT YIDDISH LIKE A LOCAL IN NYC
Yiddish food is a huge deal in New York, ever since the Jewish community first moved to town in the 1650’s. In the beginning of the 1900’s, over one million Jews crossed the Atlantic and the Lower East Side was where most of them settled. Since then, hundreds of families have opened shops, bakeries, delis and restaurants. Most of them closed down but a few kept the tradition alive for generations and hopefully will keep it going for a while.
Here is where to eat good kosher food (or just good food full stop).
Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery
137 E. Houston
This bakery has been selling Knishes since 1910 – or 1890 when the owner started pushing a cart. Knish is a snack that consists of a potato-based filling covered with paper-thin dough. Nowadays other fillings exist, including cheese, black beans, sweet potato or spinach.
Russ opened “Russ” in 1914 and decided a few years later to partner up with his three beautiful daughters to get more attention and customers. Since a big part of the Jewish immigrants came from Eastern Europe, smoked fish and fish eggs were (and still are) a real delicacy. Get your bagel at the deli, pick one of the different cream cheeses and admire the amazing smoked fish they have (we would definitely recommend trying smoked sable or the pastrami salmon).
Or order one at their café, which is considered to be one of the 10 best restaurants in NYC according to the New York Times.
205 E. Houston
If you’re more of a meat person, you’ll like this other deli that specialises in frankfurters, hot dogs, Rueben and pastrami sandwiches since 1888. Get a ticket (and don’t lose it!), queue (for a while) and grab a seat where Sally faked it with Harry!
“Boiling a kid in his mother’s milk” is forbidden by the Jewish law and translates to no cheeseburgers and no Rueben sandwiches, as meat shouldn’t be mixed with cheese. So not everything here is kosher, but it’s definitely delicious.
Welcome to every kid’s dream. This huge shop, filled with candy from all over the world and from every generation opened in 1937. They even sell kosher candy. Look out for these signs.
This little bakery is THE stop to buy a freshly baked bialy. The small rolled bread with chopped onions in the middle is a traditional dish from Poland. Some might say it tastes similar to a bagel, but that usually means that they’ve never tasted a real bagel. True New York bagels are boiled before being baked, which gives them that chewy texture and shiny look. Kossar sells the real stuff since the 1930’s.
Pickled food is something hugely appreciated in Eastern Europe. Here the pickle guys can get you pretty much pickled anything: tomatoes, baby carrots, mushrooms and even pickled mango.
Ask for a few new pickles (left in vinegar for 1 to 10 days) and a few sour pickles (3 to 4 weeks). The first one goes well with beer and the second with iced vodka!