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NYC FOOD TOUR: MEET JACKSON HEIGHTS, QUEENS
Papri chaat in Jackson Heights. Photo: Sam Kolich
Eat Your World founders Laura and Scott have proudly called Jackson Heights, Queens, their home base for the past nine years. They have long loved the incredible diversity of the neighborhood, with many first- and second-generation immigrants hailing from South Asia and South America, and, not surprisingly, the food that has followed. (They’re not alone—right before they moved, The New York Times published a piece by Seth Kugel about moving to Jackson Heights “for the food.”) Now they want to share it with EYW readers!
Photo: Sam Kolich
For years now, we have taken our friends, and friends of friends, on an informal food tour of Jackson Heights and nearby Elmhurst that offers tastes from many of the countries represented here: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Thailand, China, and more. It’s all been for the love of the food and the love of the neighborhood, but for a few years now we’ve made the tour publicly available for any hard-core food traveler who comes to New York City and finds us. If you want to get off the beaten path for a truly local perspective of a decidedly non-trendy, super diverse part of Queens—a slice of authentic NYC, if you ask us—then you’ve come to the right place!
What: A three-hour food tour of Jackson Heights and parts of Elmhurst, Queens. During the tour we’ll hit up anywhere from eight to 10 of our favorite local spots that best represent the neighborhoods’ unique diversity. Think papri chaat (India), arepas and obleas (Colombia), momos and sel roti (Tibet and Nepal), and much more.
Where: Jackson Heights is easy to get to from midtown Manhattan via the E, F, 7, R, or M train (stop is 74th St./Roosevelt Ave.). It’s about a 15-minute ride from midtown. Detailed directions will be provided.
When: Weekend afternoons (2pm-5pm) with both of us as guides are reserved for large group requests (8-person minimum). Occasional weekday tours (noon-3pm) can be accommodated for smaller groups; email [email protected] for availability and pricing.
Cost: $60 per person, includes the cost of food and one bottle of water (8-person minimum on weekends).
Good to know: Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Children are welcome—in fact, we have done tours for school groups, focusing on the interplay of food and culture in the neighborhood—but there is a good deal of walking involved and little to no sitting, unless specially requested. We have also done food tours for company departments as team-building activities.
Please contact [email protected] to book.
“Our work team thoroughly enjoyed the food tour led by Laura and Scott. In addition to wonderful food, we were provided interesting details of each country's cuisine. We tried so many different things, I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite dish! Laura and Scott were also very flexible—they were more than happy to add a beer stop to our tour upon a last-minute request. We left feeling full and happy. I plan to recommend the tour to friends and other work groups.” —Ann Kane, charity: water (Oct. 2017)
“We had an amazing and at the same time cosy tour with Laura and Scott! As we only landed on US ground the day before, soon we felt like real locals, strolling through the melting pot of Queens. The journey along the different countries, cultures and flavours was worth it every minute. Bites from India, Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, Colombia, Mexico and many more surprised us time after time. Laura and Scott are professional tasters, good storytellers and friendly locals, chatting with us as a group and the neighbours in their hood. Definitely a perfect way to explore and taste some New York off the beaten track!” —Martje and Lotte, of the Netherlands (Oct. 2016)
“Thank you for taking us to eat different kinds of food. We all appreciate how much you helped us. You inspired me to try new things. You opened our eyes and now I'm never afraid to try new things." —Ethan, age 9 (Oct. 2015)
“Scott and Laura treated a group of friends and me to a unique, delicious, and, most of all, fun food tour of the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. The selection of foods was impeccable and ranged from Indian-inspired street food to Thai desserts and so much in between. They brought an authenticity and a passion to the experience that we never could have captured with a self-guided tour. In addition, their personalities were such that we felt like we were spending the day with friends (admittedly, really cool, well-traveled, funny, and hospitable friends) as opposed to taking a tour with formal guides. I am already planning to take another group of friends back to visit Scott and Laura and try even more of the awesome food in their neighborhood.” —Anastasia (June 2015)
“What an incredible experience in Queens! Laura and Scott were informative, passionate, and enthusiastic tour guides. I would never have known about these cultural hidden gems in Jackson Heights if it were not for them. The food was insanely good and the perfect portions per stop. We never felt overstuffed, and the cuisine was downright delicious. I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting NYC because it's like transporting to a different country. I've already set up my second tour with these two, and I am salivating with anticipation! 5 stars." —Nicole (May 2015)
Digging into some Nepali food.
Tibetan momos in Jackson Heights
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