Tenements Tales and Tastes NYC Tour

Explore the History and Flavors of the LES on this Three Hour Food Tour

1 Participant Included - Add More?

About This Experience

General Information hide

Taste the immigrant inspired flavors of New York during this unique three hour cultural culinary tour of Lower Manhattan. As you stroll, you will hear fascinating stories about the immigrants who made New York their home.

This New York Food Tour begins at City Hall where you and the reset of the guests will meet your friendly and knowledgeable Guide. They will escort you through the tenement lined streets of Lower Manhattan and its Chinatown, Klein Deutschland, and Loisaida neighborhoods. You will dive into the cultural history of this diverse part of the Big Apple while exploring hundred year old bakeries, markets, churches, and iconic Downtown landmarks. As you stroll through these streets filled with history, you'll sample ethnic dishes which stem from Dutch, Jewish and Chinese cultures.

So whether you are looking for a unique Food Tour of New York, or a gourmet experience gift, this NYC Ethnic Tasting Tour is the perfect pick!

Where It's Located hide

  • New York, New York

Who Is Included hide

The Tenements Tales and Tastes NYC Tour Experience Certificate is for one participant, unless additional participants are added onto the certificate. There will be up to twelve participants on the tour.

This experience is not suitable for non-paying guests or spectators.

When It Is Offered hide

The Lower East Side Food Tours are offered seven days a week year-round, subject to availability. Tours typically begin at 10:00 AM.

How Long Is It hide

The Ethnic Food Tours have a tour length of 3 hours and a total duration of 3¼ hours.

Weather hide

The Manhattan Food Tours take place in all weather, but may be rescheduled by the Guide due to sever weather conditions.

What To Wear hide

Dress comfortably in layers. Flat rubber-soled walking shoes are recommended for this culinary adventure.

Additional Information hide

Tours include less than two miles of walking. Price includes all tastings. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the experience no substitutions can be made and locations visited are subject to change.

Gratuities for your Guide are not included but are greatly appreciated and may be offered at the end of the event. Participants are encouraged to bring spending money as they may have the opportunity to purchase additional food and beverages.


Inquire about this Experience

Reservation Information hide

All changes to reservations for the Tenements Tales and Tastes NYC Tour Experience require seven (7) days advance notice.

Xperience Certificates® cannot be exchanged once a reservation for the experience has been made.

Over the past few centuries, New York City has welcomed immigrants from around the world, and this blending of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities led to it becoming one of the most diverse cities in the world. The term “melting pot” was coined to describe New York, and as most of us will agree, one of the greatest things about being in such a diverse place is the array of culinary treats available.











As native New Yorkers know, the best place to explore the different flavours of the city is the Lower East Side. Since the 1700s German, Italian, Irish, Jewish, Chinese and Dutch immigrants have been making their homes here, and without these key groups, the face of the American food scene would look markedly different. So, one chilly November morning, we met up with our tour guide Brian in City Hall Park to taste our way around the world – all via the East Side.

The tour kicked off sweetly – with a delicious stroopwafel in honour of the Dutch. The Dutch were the first immigrants to settle along the Hudson River; New York City was first called New Amsterdam. After the British invaded in 1664, New Amsterdam was renamed after the Duke of York, and the rest is history. The two hundred years that followed were marked with serious gang warfare and violence, and Brian told us all about this as we made our way northwards through the city.

We soon found ourselves at Five Points, the neighbourhood depicted in Gangs of New York that gained notoriety as a disease-ridden, crime-infested slum. Bound by Centre Street to the west, the Bowery to the east, Canal Street to the north and Park Row to the south, Five Points was a hub of multiculturalism, but vicious altercations were common. Standing in such a historic spot really brought home just how much New York City has changed in a relatively short space of time.

The crisp air was making us hungry again, and we soon stopped off for tasting number two in Chinatown. Since the arrival of Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s, NYC has been home to some of the best Chinese food in the country. We stopped off at Fried Dumpling, a tiny one-woman restaurant which Brian assured us was the best dumpling spot in the city. He wasn’t wrong: we nibbled on delightfully squidgy dumplings (both pork and vegetarian); five dumplings cost just $1.25, so it’s a great place to fill up on a budget.

We moved through Chinatown, stopping at markets and tasting delicious rambutan fruits, which are like lychees crossed with grapes. We then found ourselves in what remains of Little Italy. Little Italy has been shrinking for years (most Italians moved further afield to Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey in search of more space) and today most of it is a tourist trap. Still, it remains a great place to explore and there are still some great restaurants along the Mulberry Street stretch.

Our next stop was at a local deli, Alleva Dairy. Founded in 1892, it’s the oldest Italian cheese store in the country, and is most famous for its homemade mozzarella. Paired with sliced prosciutto, these creamy cheese balls went down a treat, and we got to sample some more Italian delights in the form of antipasti: mouthwateringly fresh olives and red peppers.

A knish is a dumpling stuffed with a simple, hearty filling like mashed potato: it’s a warm, filling snack, ideal for when food and ingredients were short, as they were for early Jewish immigrants in New York. Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery is a little gem of a place – take the time to read the postcards, posters and letters stuck to the wall, which allow visitors to enjoy a snapshot into the past as they eat their delish knish.

Our final stop was at Paulaner restaurant and brewery to get an insight into German culture. At one time, the Lower East Side was once home to Kleindeutschland – Little Germany – yet the German legacy is far less pervasive than others we’d seen so far. The reason for this is that due to world affairs of the time (the small matter of two World Wars) German pride in the U.S. was diminished, and German immigrants didn’t cultivate the same proud culture that the Irish, Italians, Chinese or Jews

In spite of this, the German influence on the U.S. is enormous – so much so that most things we typically associate with being “American” are in fact German: hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels etc. At Paulaner we dug into some delicious hot pretzels and washed them down with some traditional German beer – the perfect end to a great-tasting . And on that flavoursome note, our culinary tour of the East Side was over. After everything we learned, it’s safe to say that America would be a food wasteland without immigration, and the amalgamation of all these different cultures is a huge part of what makes NYC such a unique city. The Lower East Side is constantly evolving, and while it will probably look very different in 20 years, let’s hope these exceptional eateries and their proud food legacies live on.

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