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Surprising Foods that were Invented in New York

Posted by TMA on August 29, 2018

New York is often described as a melting pot of cultures, thanks to the incredible mix of nationalities that have made their home in the Big Apple. One of the many benefits of a culturally diverse city is its food. New York’s culinary delights include dishes that have their origins the world over, but interestingly just as many were invented here at home – from the things we all know about – like hot dogs to hamburgers, to others whose NYC origins are less well known. 

Here are the dishes that were invented in New York, which may come as a surprise: 

Eggs Benedict 

Starting with breakfast  – Eggs Benedict was invented by a stockbroker who lived and worked in New York in the 1890s.  We had always assumed it perhaps came from European shores, but the story goes that this stockbroker was feeling a little fragile after a night out, so ordered two poached eggs with crispy bacon and hollandaise sauce from the chef at the Waldorf Astoria. The maître d’hôtel was so impressed with the combination that he added it to the menu. 

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We have NYC stockbroker to thank for inventing eggs benedict (Image Source: Pixabay @jacques2017) 

The Waldorf salad 

Whilst we are on the subject of the Waldorf, it was this New York hotel that gave its name to the Waldorf salad that’s graced restaurant menus for a number of years. The combination of lettuce, celery, apple, and walnuts was created to be part of the menu for a charity ball at the hotel in 1896. Again the maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, who added eggs benedict to the menu, is credited with inspiring the dish, but its difficult to prove this.  

English Muffins 

English Muffins are obviously from England, right? Well, this is another food item that was invented in New York, by an English immigrant from Plymouth. He was a baker and created a slimmer version of English crumpets. They became a very popular item when he began selling them to hotels and shops in NYC.  

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Contrary to what their name suggests, English muffins were developed in New York (Image Source: Flickr @jeffreyw) 

The Bloody Mary 

The bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot introduced his French Vodka & tomato juice concoction to New York, but when he paid closer attention to local tastes – he began to adapt the original – adding Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, cayenne and black pepper. And so, the Bloody Mary we know today was born here in New York. 

Baked Alaska 

Baked Alaska – the desert that when described seems like a contradiction -  was concocted here in New York. Pastry chefs of Manhattan came up with the idea and perfected the dish of piping hot sponge cake, filled with ice cream, topped with meringue. Invented back in the 1870s, it was apparently named after the country’s newest territory – Alaska. 

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A scientific experiment and a dessert – Baked Alaska was first concocted in Manhattan (Image Source: Flickr @Stu_Spivack)

Fried chicken and waffles 

This dish has become synonymous with the southern states, but in actual fact, it comes from New York City. A jazz club in Harlem, which was open 24 hours, served food. Given the long opening hours, evening meals morphed into breakfast – and that’s how fried chicken and waffles began – thanks to one of the patrons ordering an item from each menu. From then on, the combination grew in popularity.  

You can experience many of these dishes and drinks all over the city when you visit New York. The food here is incredible – whether that’s from a street vendor or a top class restaurant. We’d be delighted to show you around the city via our Gray Line New York sightseeing tours, cruises and hop on, hop off experiences. Also, our New York freestyle passes are one of the city’s best offers for visitors, giving you access to the very best of our attractions. Hop aboard when you arrive in NYC – we’ll make sure you see the sights in comfort, style, and value. 

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