Judy Joo’s Guide To New York’s Best Bites

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A foodie tale of New York – celebrity chef Judy Joo shares her five favourite NYC bites


I spent my formative years in New York and still to this day consider myself a New Yorker.  I went to University in Manhattan, and lived there for about 12 years in total. 

During this time, I learned to fall in love with a few certain New York City classic dishes that I always seek out whenever I go back – here’s my five must-try bites. 


1 The NYC Bagel


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One cannot go to NY without trying a real Jewish bagel.  They taste unlike any other bagel in the world due to the distinctive minerals in the city’s water.  Just one bite, will reveal to you why these boiled then baked chewy crusty bread rolls are guaranteed to be the best you’ll ever try. 

You’ll be overwhelmed with the variety as well—alongside the usual suspects of poppy, sesame, onion, and everything bagels, you’ll now find “flagels” (flat bagels for the calorie conscious), blueberry, rainbow and more. 

Don’t forget about the toppings.  Go for the “works” and order your bagel in true NY style, toasted with lox and smear topped with a fresh slice of tomato and red onion.

Where to find the best bites:
 Barney Greengrass
• Murray’s
• Russ & Daughters
• Absolute Bagels
• Ess-a Bagel


2 The NY Slice


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New York style pizza is also a must have while running around the city.  Thin crust, huge wide cut slices are ordered to go, and usually folded in half to be eaten easily while walking.

 I love light dusting of corn meal too, often used to add some extra crunch to the crust.  New York is filled with hundreds of cheap and cheerful pizza joints, just pick one with a long line! 

Where to find the best bites:
• Bleecker Street Pizza
• Two Boots (multiple sites)
• Joe’s Pizza
• Scarr’s

3 American Chinese food


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I had to move abroad to realise that the Chinese food I grew up eating in the USA, wasn’t Chinese food at all, but rather a fusion fare that have evolved over a number of years. 

Dishes such as “Chicken with Broccoli”, “General Tso Chicken”, “Beef Chow Fun”, “Mooshu Pork” and “Egg Rolls” don’t exist outside of America and are well worth a try!

Where to find the best bites:
• Shun Lee West
• Grand Sichuan
• Joe Shanghai’s


4 The NY Steak House


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An old school New York steak house is another epic meal to experience in New York.  USDA Prime is, of course, the main attraction.  Gorgeously aged, marbled, and buttery soft, these well cared for steaks are famous for a reason. 

Go hungry and be prepared for ginormous portions and make sure you order a bunch of traditional sides as well: creamed spinach, tomato & onion salad, iceberg wedge, or shrimp cocktail.

Where to find the best bites: 
• Peter Luger’s
• Delmonico’s
• Old Homestead
• Keen’s


5 The Three Michelin Star Experience


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And, finally for a high-end Michelin-starred special meal, head to Columbus Circle to Per Se. 

Overlooking Central Park, you’ll be swooned and spoiled the second you walk in.  Every bite is phenomenally well crafted, with service to match that is as elegant as the food.  It is pricey, but worth every penny, as you’ll be dreaming about this meal for years.

Words by Judy Joo, TV chef and restauranter 

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