Where I come from, visiting New York is always on everyone’s’ bucket list. Imagine my surprise when I not only got to visit the City that Never Sleeps, but also got invited to a food tasting and cultural walking tour of Little Italy and Chinatown.
Ahoy NYC Food Tours is founded by Alana Hoye. She first visited New York as a teenager, fell in love with the city and finally decided to live there. Whenever friends and family came to visit, she would show them around the city that she loves.
This is exactly how we (my sister and I) felt while doing the walking tour with Alana. Apart from the food, what made the tour more exciting is the bits and pieces of history that she told us about these places that early immigrants built and did their best to make it feel more like home.
Little Italy is the place early Italian immigrants called home. If you like a fan of The Godfather, this is the place for you. Remember the scene where Santino saw his father shot some mafia boss and followed him through the rooftop of the tenement apartments? That scene was shot here.
Now, Little Italy is full of Italian restaurants as far as your eyes can see. Alana warned us though, that a lot of the restaurants in the area are mostly too “touristy”.
First stop on Little Italy was Alleva Dairy, one of the oldest cheese stores in America. This little deli has been in business for over a hundred years. If they lasted that long, they must be doing something right. And one bite of their Prosciutto and Homemade Unsalted Mozzarella proves this. There’s this milky, porky, savory and sweet thing going on, all in one bite. You have to taste it to believe it.
Prosciutto and Homemade Mozzarella
Then we moved on to Di Palo’s Fine Foods. This Italian grocery is also one of the oldest in the neighborhood. We have a bite, more like a lot of bites of their imported cheeses. As a cheese lover, I can stay at this shop forever.
Inside Di Palo’s Fine Foods
After the century old shops, Alana took us to a new kid on the block for some pizza, Grand Appetito opened in 2012. Here, we enjoyed their Grandma Pie. A delicious combination of thin crust pizza with tomato sauce and cheese and basil oil FTW! In my opinion, this was the best thing we had in Little Italy.
Grandma’s Pie at Grand Appetito
For some Italian dessert, we headed on to Ferrara Bakery and Cafe for Cannolis. Cannoli is a traditional Sicilian dessert in a tube like crispy pastry filled with ricotta, chocolate chips and dried fruits.
We then moved on to Chinatown for a sit down lunch at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant. This was where we had ice cold water which we needed after an hour of walking in really hot and humid weather. To be honest, this place made the least impression on me. Maybe because Thailand is just a next door neighbor and I’ve had more authentic Thai food. But the rest of the group enjoyed the food.
Chicken Pra Ramm at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant
We walked around Chinatown and stopped by Columbus Park where Alana brought us Chives and Pork Dumpling from Tasty Dumpling. I loved the filling and the dipping sauce but found the wrapper a bit thick. Then again, maybe it’s just a preference.
For the last stop, we went to Nom Wah Tea Parlor where we had the food on the tour. When you find yourself in Chinatown, you must, MUST, stop by this traditional Chinese dimsum place to try their Fried Egg Roll. Imagine, perfectly cooked meat and veggies and egg wrapped in a thin egg roll wrapper. But it doesn’t stop there, you must have it with their duck sauce. Now, you have the bomb! It was so good that I forget to take a picture of my egg roll (which was gone in a few seconds) and my sister and I went back to Nom Wah after the tour and binged on their dimsum. We even took home some pork buns!
Now for the verdict: I think Chinatown wins over Little Italy. Now if you find yourself in New York, make sure to take Ahoy New York’s Chinatown and Little Italy Cultural and Food Tasting Tour and tell us what you think.
Here are some more pictures of our New York City Food Tour with Ahoy NY Tours and Tasting:
Piave and Moliterno
Freshly Baked Foccaccia at Di Paolos
Ready Made Italian Goodies
Inside Ferrara Bakery and Cafe
Lobster Tail another Ferrara Specialty
Thank you, Alana for showing us a side of New York we never really thought of. FYI, if you have any dietary restrictions make sure to tell Alana about it. Some people in our group are vegetarians and she made adjustments for them.
Author’s Bio: Maja is a freelance writer based in Manila.
Editor’s Note: Ahoy NYC Food Tours sponsored my friends for the tour but did not require them to write a favorable review. All views shared on this post are what my friends have experienced in the tour. Text and all pics are by Maja.