Food Walking Tour of New York City

When I was on my (early) birthday trip with my friends we went on a New York City food walking tour. Or really a Chinatown, Little Italy, and Lower East Side food walking tour. Still I’m convinced food walking tours are one of the best ways to see the city. Not only are you walking, getting a close up view of different neighbourhoods, but you also get to eat. What’s better than eating?

We booked our food walking tour with For Your Brain and Belly. As their name suggested, the tour was a good combination of eating and learning (and walking). We had a tour voucher through Groupon, which came to $25/person (regularly $49/person). Turns out we were the only four people who had booked a walking tour for that day, so we essentially got a private tour with a private tour cost. I can’t guarantee that will happen if you book a tour, but it was pretty sweet deal.

Mott Street in Manhattan. The narrow street, and the curve kind of made it feel like we were on a movie set.

Mott Street in Manhattan. The narrow street, and the curve kind of made it feel like we were on a movie set.

The tour was about 2 hours or so and we were warned to bring our walking shoes because we did a lot of walking. There was a good combination food we got to try from a variety of different restaurants. We tried some Chinese dumplings, beef scallion pancakes, cannoli, a pastrami sandwich, a knish, and a fresh matzoh cracker. One of the things I enjoyed about this tour was that the food samples were included in the tour price. We also stopped at a seafood market, a candy store, and a store that sells homemade pickles. At these places, we had the option to purchase more food, but to be honest there was enough to eat on the tour that this wasn’t necessary.

Little Italy.

Little Italy in Manhattan.

The food portions weren’t huge, but we all had a bit of everything. I didn’t leave stuffed and wanting to die, but I wasn’t starving after either. The beef scallion pancakes were my favourite, but I also loved the little cannoli we got, and the pastrami sandwich from Katz’s was delicious too. The matzoh cracker was my least favourite thing, but I’ve had matzoh crackers before and they’re pretty bland. It was neat that we got to try a fresh made (and super hot) matzoh cracker though. It made me realize that the matzoh crackers I’d tried before (ones my mom had bought from a local grocery store at home) had likely been stale and had sat on the shelf a little too long. Fresh is best.

Russ and Daughters. One of the stops on our food walking tour.

Russ and Daughters. One of the stops on our food walking tour. You may have noticed that none of the photos here includes actual pictures of the food we tried. This is mainly because the food was so delicious that I forgot to take any photos before I ate the food.

Our tour guide was a local New York, who’d grown up in Manhattan and lived in the city for most of his life. He had stories to share about being a cab driver back in the 70’s when NYC was much more dangerous than it is now. He also had a lot of great restaurant recommendations, which sadly we weren’t able to check out because of lack of time (but it’s just an incentive to go back). We learned a few interested things like were Martin Scorsese buys his cheese, and that the population of Chinatown in Manhattan is continuing to grow (and subsequently there’s only about only about a block of Little Italy that actually looks Italian).

Lower East Side Manhattan

Probably the most interesting this I learned on the tour was that New York City, unlike some other cities, doesn’t have a building code in terms of architecture. It’s why there’s such a variety of buildings in the city, from the old tenement buildings of the lower east side to the giant skyscrapers in midtown.

While I suffered a bit of heat stroke and got a sunburn (through my own stupidity of not drinking water or wearing sunscreen – even during April wear sunscreen) the tour itself was great. I got to eat a little food. I learned a little and did a little walking. This tour was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours in New York with my friends.

Have you been on a food walking tour?

10 Responses to Food Walking Tour of New York City

  1. Mary @ Green Global Travel July 9, 2014 at 4:05 PM #

    Must have been nice to end up having a private tour like that, along with the discount! Lucky! Thanks for sharing your food tour!

    • Alouise July 10, 2014 at 12:59 AM #

      Yes, it was a lucky fluke that it worked out we had a private tour. Either way the food tour was a delicious and fun way to learn about New York.

  2. Ken Kai July 10, 2014 at 7:13 AM #


    I haven’t been to the US yet.. But New York pizza, the big ones you see in the movies.. I live for the day that I try one of those. Oh man..

    • Alouise July 10, 2014 at 10:18 PM #

      I actually didn’t even eat any New York pizza on this trip. There are so many different foods available it’s hard to try them all. Hope you’re able to come to New York one day to have a slice of pizza. Thanks for the comment.

      • Ken Kai July 10, 2014 at 11:50 PM #

        Oh I do hope so. There’s nothing like it in Australia. We do have some great pizzas, but not like the ones I’ve seen in the pictures and TV ! D:

        • Alouise July 12, 2014 at 4:23 PM #

          There’s no shortage of pizza places in New York. 😀

  3. Franca December 4, 2014 at 7:22 AM #

    Interesting tour, do you think there would be options on this tour for a vegan like me?

    • Alouise January 3, 2015 at 1:48 PM #

      I know they have two tours including the Chinatown/Lower Eastside tour I did, and one in Brooklyn, but they also do private tours. You can always contact them to find out if they can do a vegan tour (there’s certainly a good number of vegan restaurants in New York, so I’m sure it would be possible).

      • Franca January 3, 2015 at 1:52 PM #

        Thank you so much Alouise! 🙂

        • Alouise January 6, 2015 at 1:49 PM #

          No problem.

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