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Book a Food Tour with Ahoy Food Tours

Take the guesswork out of eating out in NYC by booking a food tour activity with Ahoy Food Tours, the best New York food tour.

When it comes to eating out in New York City, the challenge is not what to eat, but where to eat. There is no shortage of great places to dine in New York City which can make food selection extremely daunting. I’ve been to New York City a number of times and decided that during my first trip postpartum, I wanted someone else to take the driver’s seat while planning our meals. It must’ve been perfect timing because Ahoy Food Tours reached out and invited me on one the best New York Food Tour. Ahoy Food Tours is one of the leading food tour companies in New York City. For the last 15 years, Ahoy Food Tours has been spotlighting the food history of NYC’s most celebrated neighborhoods. They run daily tours in Chinatown, Little Italy, and most recently, have opened a tour in Chelsea’s Market 57. Founder Alana Hoye Barnaba gives vistitors a taste of NYC’s very layered histories one bite at a time.

Why is Ahoy Food Tours the best New York food tour?

When selecting the right food tour, the biggest consideration for me was finding a company that supports Asian-owned businesses while also exploring a neighborhood I’ve never been to before. I also wanted a tour that showcased New York City’s vibrant ethnic communities instead of just focusing on already popular places. Ahoy Food Tours’ signature tour fit the bill, covering Chinatown and Little Italy, which is admittedly, a neighborhood I have never explored. Ahoy Food Tours was awarded The Traveler’s Choice Award in 2023, ranking as the third most popular food excursion in NYC so I felt confident it was the best food tour in New York City.

Ahoy Food Tours has three tours it operates:

🍽️ Chinatown and Little Italy Food Fest Walking Tour – Outdoors, 3 Hours
🍽️ Market 57 Chelsea Food Tour – Indoor, 2 Hours
🍽️ Tasty Global Bites – Outdoors, 3 Hours

The best New York Food tour Ahoy Food Tours

Our Sunday food tour group, six people was the perfect size for this culinary adventure

▶️ Watch the video of my food tour with Ahoy Food Tours

 

Looking for more videos? Visit my video library for more highlight reels.

The Chinatown and Little Italy Tour: First Impressions

The three-hour signature Chinatown and Little Italy food tour has been running since 2009. During this walking tour, you get to enjoy eight small tastings. 2-3 tastings are sit-down meals and the rest are more grab-and-go but it keeps the tour moving.

The tour begins at Silk Road Place, a famous gourmet coffee house and tea parlor on Mott Street. This is where you’ll meet your guide and your tour group. The tours are kept at a manageable size of under 8 people. On our date, we lucked out with two other couples who were incredibly kind and a delight to be around.

Silk Road Cafe in Chinatown Mott Street

We also met our tour guide, Hannah, a graduate of Food Studies from Boston University which is the only American university to have this kind of food history program. She had such a great foundational understanding of food systems so we felt really lucky to have a knowledgeable guide providing the history lessons of Chinatown and Little Italy.

She primed us on the history of Chinese migration to the USA over oolong tea and baked Char Siu Bao (叉燒麵包) from Fay Da Bakery. I loved that the tour begins on the original NYC Chinatown block. Now the tour was mostly outside and we ended up choosing a tour date on the coldest day of the season in November but the sun was shining and you’re eating a lot so there was never a moment where I felt too cold.

Hannah Food Expert with Ahoy Food ToursFay da bakery baked char siu baos

The tour involves moderate walking with few opportunities to sit down. But there are standing breaks. Hannah had reference materials she’d show us, like photos of the street we’d be walking down a hundred years prior, to bring her stories to life. The tour is wheelchair-accessible and stroller-friendly but you need to notify the team in advance as it requires some logistical coordination.


On The Menu: What We Ate

I don’t want to go into too much detail on the meals but I wanted to give you a sense of what the tour offers. Most locations were family-owned businesses, with storied pasts in their respective communities. We got a deep dive of the restaurant in relation to the dish. Some fun tidbits I picked up were how dim sum means “touch the heart.”. Hannah’s expertise was on full display because she could answer any question we’d throw at her. I also loved how much she knew the neighborhood and frequented so many of the spots. Here is what was on the menu on the tour:

Paper Wrapped Cake 紙包蛋糕 from Kam Hing Coffee Shop

83 Bayard Street (Chinatown)

The pandan paper-wrapped sponge cake from this Hong Kong-style bakery was the star of the show for me on the tour. Pandan is a flavor from my childhood that I’m really fond of and is a very unexpected flavor profile for sponge cakes. But it makes so much sense since it tastes like nuttier vanilla. The pandan essence dyes food an electric, bright green color so that elevated the humble paper wrapped sponge cake. Hannah let us know Kam Hing also has different flavors, like coconut and ube, but you can also get them original too. I loved it so much I went back and got some for the trip home.

Rating: 10/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

pandan sponge cakes from kam hing bakery

 Best New York Food Tour visit Chinatown NYC

Doyers Street, a one block stretch with a sharp bend in the middle, is one of the most historically rich streets in New York City’s Chinatown.

Dumplings at Noodle Village

13 Mott Street (Chinatown)

I’m shocked that I liked the dumplings the least on this tour but you only get to sample one pork and one vegetarian dumpling. The portion size I think was a little too small and didn’t have that flavor punch that everything else did on the tour. We also sat down on a Sunday so the restaurant was slammed but it was nice to have a round table moment with everyone on the tour. I couldn’t imagine going to Chinatown and not trying dim sum, so I’ll give them points on authenticity.

Rating: 5/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

Noodle village pork dumplings

Honey Roasted Duck over White Rice at Hay Hay Roasted

81 Mott Street (Chinatown)

New to the Chinatown scene, Hay Hay Roasted serves traditional Guongzhou-style barbecue. The duck was moist and marinated to perfection. The space was counter-only and a little cramped but I liked that they supported a newer business. And duck is a little more outside people’s comfort zones so I appreciated that they wanted to introduce the dish to western palettes.

Rating: 8/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

Hay Hay Roasted Duck where to eat in Chinatown NYC

Fresh Pasta and Marinara at Piemonte Ravioli Co.

190 Grand Street (Little Italy)

I’ve never blinked twice eating pasta but holy smokes, the Piemonte gnocchi made infused with ricotta were sublime. With just a dollop of marinara, my jaw dropped at how decadent the pasta was even in its simplicity. This is a specialty pasta shop so they recommend to pick up goods here that you can’t find in other Little Italys.

Rating: 10/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

Piemonte Ravioli Fresh Pasta in NYC
What to order at Piemonte Ravioli Best Food Tour in NYC
Little Italy food fest with Ahoy Food Tours

Little Italy and Chinatown are adjacent to one another

Imported Italian Cheeses and Olives at Di Palos Fine Foods

200 Grand Street (Little Italy)

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest cheese fan. BUT the cheese from Di Palos, which have DOP status (i.e., protected designation of origin from Italy), had me convinced I might need to re-evaluate my anti-cheese stance. The Piave, a cheese from young cows in the Dolomites, was mild and sweet, and their Moliterno, a goat cheese from Sardinia, was creamy and pungent. I loved the Castelvetrano olives too. They were buttery and paired nicely with the cheese.

Rating: 7/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

Ahoy Food Tours best food tour in NYC

Check out Di Palos in Little Italy for Imported Italian Food
Inside Di Palos Ahoy Food Tours NYC

Eggplant Parmigiana at Da Nicos Ristorante

164 Mulbery Street (Little Italy)

This was the time in the tour that felt the most relaxed with our tour group being the only guests in trattoria evoking Old World vibes. We were served a well-sized portion of eggplant parmigiana, with all the layers balanced with the right portions of cheese and sauce. It was well-seasoned and everyone was given a choice to order white, red, or rose wine, which was a nice surprise. There is a outdoor garden seating open during warmer months.

Rating: 9/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

Eggplant parmigiana at Da Nicos Ristorante

Sicilian Cannoli at Ferrara

195 Grand Street (Little Italy)

The tour concluded at Ferrara’s, one of Italy’s most famous Italian bakeries. I hate that I compared their cannolis to Mike’s Pastry in Boston but its my baseline for all cannolis. The one at Ferraras was the traditional plain ricotta roll and they’re very dainty so it felt more like a palette cleanser than a proper dessert.

Rating: 6/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

If you have dietary restrictions, let them know during your booking. There was someone who was gluten-free and they always had a meal replacement at the ready to swap out.

Walking around Little Italy NYC
Cannoli ferraras

Overall Review of Ahoy Tours

I love immersive experiences, especially ones that are food-related. I am also someone who is hungry for more context about what I’m eating and I feel a lot of experiences these days are manufactured strictly for content and lack substance. Ahoy’s food tour had so much substance and left me really satisfied with what I ate and what I learned. The cultural insights from Hannah never failed to impress and deepened my appreciation of New York City as a melting pot, heavily influenced by migrants.

As someone with a little more knowledge of Chinese and Italian dishes, I felt at times the food was introductory. But I recognize that this tour company’s mission is about knowledge building and their clientele often are those wishing for more guidance on where/what to eat. So I do appreciate that even with standard courses like dumplings and fresh pasta, they balanced those with atypical paper wrapped sponge cakes and honey roasted duck. And while I wish we could have had a behind-the-scenes look at some of the food preparation, the time of the day and size of our group prevented that. So that was fully understandable. If you’re looking for the best food tour in New York City, look no further than Ahoy Food Tours. Just make sure you bring an appetite and an open mind.

Walking tour outside

Hannah with Ahoy Food Tour Best Food Tour in NYC

Our guide Hannah had reference materials she showed throughout the tour

the next somewhere more information

Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Food Fest

PRICE

$105

AGE LIMIT

All ages welcomed but highly recommended ages 8 and older

ACCESSIBILITY & ACCOMMODATIONS

Notify the team of any mobility issues or food-related restrictions.

OVERALL RATING

9/10 ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

 


DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Ahoy Food Tours, but all opinions and  photos, as always, are my own.


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The Best Food Tour in NYC with Ahoy Food Tours on The Next Somewhere Blog

Filipina-American Millette Stambaugh is a thirty-something former expat who has traded her nomadic ways for Philadelphia living. Corporate worker by day, content creator by night, Millette specializes in visual storytelling and joyful journeys and wants to help others find their "next somewheres." Follow her escapades on Instagram, Youtube, and Tiktok @thenextsomewhere.

Comments:

  • February 21, 2024

    I was just in New York and wish I found this before I went. The gnocchi sound amazing!

    reply...
  • February 21, 2024

    This sounds brilliant! I honestly think the best kinds of food tours showcase the history and culture of an area, rather than just showcasing already popular spots…so exactly like this! Everything looks really delicious and walking around the neighborhoods makes it even more fun.

    p.s. the dumplings look so good- it’s mad to hear they didn’t have the flavour punch of the other items!

    reply...
  • February 22, 2024

    This guide came in so handy since I‘m really thinking of going to NYC this fall! Exploring the food there is one of the things I look forward to the most

    reply...
  • Shaf

    February 22, 2024

    gosh i love EVERYTHING about ur blog Millete – it’s SUCH A VIBE!!???

    reply...
  • February 23, 2024

    What a culinary delight! Your detailed insights make me feel like I’m right there. I love that the number of people per group is kept to a minimum. I feel like it’s more intimate and one can really ask questions. I’m craving for the roasted duck and dumplings.

    reply...
  • March 27, 2024

    such a good read, can you do a similar post about dubai as well, soon I will be visiting UAE.

    reply...

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