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 food lover who comes to New York City (or lives here!) 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: Food tours of Jackson Heights and parts of Elmhurst, Queens. During the tour we’ll hit up anywhere from five to 10 of our favorite local spots, depending on which tour you book, that best represent the neighborhood’s unique diversity. Think papri chaat and patra (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: We have several tour options:
1. The OG Jackson Heights weekends-only tour: Three hours (2pm-5pm), 10 stops, two guides, 10-person minimum. Cost: $70 per person, includes the cost of food and one bottle of water.
2. Mini weekend tour: An abbreviated version of the weekend tour. Two hours (1pm-3pm), 6-7 stops, one guide, 4-person minimum. Cost: $55 per person, including all food and one bottle of water. Select weekends only!
*We currently have weekend tours open on Sat, 2-16-19 (1pm) and Sat, 3-16-19 (1pm). Email for availabilty beyond that!
3. Weekday tours. We now offer two weekday afternoon tour options (beginning around noon):
$55 for 2 hours, 6-7 stops, minimum 2 people.
Want to go it alone? We won't be offended! We also have a NEW self-guided version of the 10-stop tour, available for $29.99 on our NYC Food Itineraries page.
New! Gift certificates are available! Give the gift of an incredible food experience to someone you know. Get in touch to request this; we can email or mail it out.
**PLEASE EMAIL [email protected] FOR AVAILABILITY.** And if you don't see what you are looking for here (i.e., an evening tour), please ask. We can often accommodate special requests.
Good to know: As part of our Feed Your World initiative, a portion of all profits is donated to Make the Road New York, a nonprofit org with local offices that we've marched alongside with in area protests. Make the Road works to protect the rights of immigrants and working-class families here and across NYC, including in the areas of: workplace justice, tenants' rights, immigrant civil rights, language access, LGBTQ justice, public education, health care access, and immigration reform.
Special requests: Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated; we've worked with vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free guests. 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 sitting, unless specially requested. Strollers are recommended for young kids. We have also done food tours for companies as team-building activities.
Stuff we have to say: By purchasing an itinerary or food tour from Eat Your World (EYW), you (i) understand and agree that EYW is not responsible for anything consumed (e.g., food or beverages) on your tour, or any accidents, injuries or other loss that may occur during your tour; (ii) waive any and all claims of liability against EYW and its owner-operators, for any reason; use of the itinerary and/or participation in an EYW tour is at your own risk; and (iii) grant EYW a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free fully paid license to use any photographs or other likeness of you taken while you participate in a EYW tour.
“Laura is absolutely amazing. Not only is she just a great person, but she knows the neighborhood inside and out. The food selection was perfectly varied and she knew based on speaking with us exactly what we would appreciate the most. If you have the chance I would highly recommend spending time with Laura. Thank you.” —Holly from Delaware (Dec. 2018)
“We had a wonderful experience with Laura. She knew the places, the people and the best things to eat. She was able to adjust the tour to accommodate dietary restrictions. She is knowledgable about the neighborhood, has a lively manner and good sense of humor and adventure. We would highly recommend any tour she put together.” —Jude from Philadelphia (Nov. 2018)
“We loved to experience this wonderful trip. Laura is an exceptionally good and fun guide, giving us an insight into other cultures that we would otherwise never have experienced. Laura, thanks, we went home to Iceland with wonderful memories.” —Sigríður from Iceland (Nov. 2018)
“If you’re looking to see a side to NYC that’s off the grid, this is the perfect experience. Laura was a great host and knows all the top spots to try authentic diverse food. We went to areas in Queens that as a tourist, you would never know about. And the food was sensational!!!” —Jasmine from Australia (Sept. 2018)
“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, from 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 from NYC (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 from NYC (May 2015)
Digging into some Nepali food.
Tibetan momos in Jackson Heights