Get a Taste of NYC with a Like a Local Food Tour

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Having fun with food tastings at Chelsea Market in New York City.
Having fun with food tastings at Chelsea Market in New York City. Photo credit: Melody Moser

The writer was hosted.

Thinking about trying a New York City food tour? Check out Like a Local Tours NYC. They run exciting walking tours around Manhattan and Brooklyn. Part food tour, part history tour, and part architecture tour, this three-hour adventure around the Chelsea Market, High Line, and Hudson Yards is a great way for tourists to meet the city or for locals to discover someplace new.

Woman-Owned Tour Company

Lauren Beebe started Like a Local Tours in 2014 because she wanted to share the true spirit of New York with others and support local guides and small businesses at the same time. Lauren is a NYC transplant with over 15+ years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry.

Food tours at Chelsea Market are popular because they’re a tasty way to see parts of NYC you might miss otherwise. It’s a great option for a girlfriend getaway, a romantic city escape or for a solo traveler like me. You’ll feel like a New Yorker for the day, wandering through unique spots, trying out delicious eats, and learning about the city’s past and its interesting architecture. It’s not just a walk-and-eat kind of thing; it’s an adventure in a vibrant New York City neighborhood.

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Our tour guide Chris talking about the history of Chelsea Market. Photo credit: Melody Moser
Our tour guide Chris talking about the history of Chelsea Market. Photo credit: Melody Moser

Chelsea Market

Eager to see some of New York City’s hidden gems and experience one of the city’s best neighborhoods like a local, I signed up for the three-hour Chelsea Market, High Line, and Hudson Yards Food & History Tour.

Our small group of five included a young couple from Romania, a local couple from Queens, and myself. We met each other and our guide, Chris Goodrich, outside the Chelsea Market. Chris, a baker, was knowledgeable and entertaining. He began our tour by telling us about the history of Chelsea Market.

The market was built in the 1890s and was the original site of the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco – the company that invented Oreos!)  It takes up a full city block in the edgy Meatpacking District, a famous area in New York known for its food and shops. The market has a cool, factory look with metal pipes, big steel doors, and red brick walls.

Chelsea Market is pretty busy, and one thing I loved about taking a food tour was that you get to skip the lines. You also don’t need to buy anything as all your tastings are included.

Chris led us to our first of many food stops: Zack & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm. At the stylish food cart, we tasted twelve tempting varieties of pure, raw honey displayed in glass jars on a marble counter.

Alt: View of a tour member tasting raw honey at Zack & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm on Like a Local Tours NYC tour
Tasting raw honey at Zack & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm. Photo credit: Melody Moser

Zack & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm

Five years ago, Zack & Zoe’s owners wanted to find a natural cure for their little one’s allergies. They discovered the benefits of raw honey and decided to begin beekeeping. When they realized how helpful the raw honey was, they began to sell the honey from their beehives.

Some honey flavors we tasted at Zack & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm:

  • Wildflower Honey with Blueberry
  • Wildflower Honey with Matcha
  • Buckwheat Honey
  • Creamed Wildflower Honey

My top pick was the Creamed Wildflower Honey for its unusual texture.

On our way to our next stop, Chris pointed out Li-Lac Chocolates, who had their 100th anniversary last year, and still makes their chocolates by hand in small batches.

Joey Bats Café

I had just come back from Lisbon and thought there was no way the Pasteis de Nata in America could match the ones from Portugal. But I was totally surprised! 

Chris popped over to Joey Bats Café and came back to our group with a box of warm, creamy tarts that melted in my mouth with a hint of cinnamon. It was like biting into a warm crème brulee with a flaky croissant. Delicious!

These pastries were invented in Lisbon in the early 1800s and have a light, flaky shell filled with rich, creamy egg custard. The custard is baked to a brown sweetness. Joey Bats Café serves them warm and dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

A counter display of pizza options at Filaga Pizzeria for Like a Local Tours NYC tour
Pizza options at Filaga Pizzeria. Photo credit: Melody Moser

Filaga Pizzeria

Next, we went to Filaga Pizzeria, named after a small village near Palermo, Sicily. 

We followed Chris outside, taking shelter from the rain at heated, covered tables, and he gave us options on which type of pizza we wanted. The fact that Like a Local Tours gave us options was an aspect of this tour that I really enjoyed.

Here, we chose between two types of traditional Italian pizza. Sicilian Puttanesca, which features olives and capers, or a slice of New York-style pizza with Margarita topping. I opted for the latter and enjoyed every crispy bite.

Filaga makes the pizza fresh every day with special ingredients from Italy. The crust is light and tastes amazing.

Takumi Taco

Chris went to Takumi Taco to order our next tasting, and I chatted with the other people in our group. It was fun finding out why they each chose to take this tour.

Then Chris returned with our next tasting – Japanese-style curry tacos with cotija cheese and Napa cabbage slaw tucked inside a crispy gyoza shell. Delicious!  I made a note to come back for more of these.

So far all of the tastings had been generous-sized portions, and I’d added each to my list of places I wanted to return to. The portions were full-sized, so I was glad I hadn’t eaten before the tour.

View of a box of donuts from the Doughnuttery on the table during Like a Local Tours NYC
A box of donuts from the Doughnuttery. Photo credit: Melody Moser

The Doughnuttery

Chris handed us a menu from the Doughnuttery, and together we chose our favorite flavors from their exotic collection: Green Tea Buzz, Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream, Flower Power, and PBCP (Peanut butter, Cayenne and Pretzel.)

Some of the other unusual flavors the Doughnuttery offers are equally exotic – Pumpkin Pie Brulee, Fruity Cereal, and Purple Pig, which is made from bacon, maple, and purple potato.

After eating a big box of these colorful small donuts, we went inside to watch the Doughnut Robot, a donut-making machine that’s entertaining to see.

View of Chelsea Market’s unique decor on Like a Local Tours NYC tour
Chelsea Market’s unique decor. Photo credit: Melody Moser

Time to explore Chelsea Market

The delicious food we’d had was filling, so Chris gave us about forty-five minutes to explore Chelsea Market on our own. With so many cool shops and eateries, it was difficult to choose where to go first.

There are shops selling handmade cheese, delicious deserts, and fresh produce, It’s the best food court I’ve seen in Manhattan.

The Market is a fun, bright place with twinkling lights, cool art on the walls, and lots of people talking and laughing. I enjoyed people-watching as well as exploring the many hip shops and eateries.

I suggest checking out a map online in advance so you don’t waste time looking for your favorite shops.

Market 57

Next, we walked to Market 57 on the Hudson River. Pier 57 was built in 1907 as a shipping terminal. Market 57 opened there in April of 2023, and is home to more than a dozen eateries, two of which we were about to visit for tastings.

First Chris took us to the rooftop, though, for an amazing view of lower Manhattan!

View of a couple tasting pan-fried dumplings at Nom Wah in Market 57 during Like a Local Tours NYC tour
Tasting pan-fried dumplings at Nom Wah in Market 57. Photo credit: Melody Moser

Nom Wah

At Nom Wah we tried pan-fried dumplings. Both varieties were delicious. We had chicken with cabbage and pork with shrimp. The original Nom Wah restaurant in Manhattan dates back to 1920. It’s called Nom Wah Tea Parlor and is a bakery that also serves dim sum.

Here at Market 57, Nom Wah doesn’t have a “tea parlor” in its name like the original store does, but their dumplings are delightful.

Malai

For our final tasting, we visited Malai for ice cream. This wasn’t just any ice cream, though, it was ice cream with a twist. Malai draws its flavor ideas from exotic spices around the world. So you can choose flavors such as Confetti Sweet Milk, or Lemon Cardamom, or Star Anise. 

A view of the High Line Park, part of Like a Local Tours NYC tour
The High Line. Photo credit: Brittany Petronella / NYC Tourism + Conventions

The High Line Park

After leaving the bustling Market 57, we headed to the High Line Park, a stark contrast with its quiet greenery and art displays. It felt great to walk off all that food. The High  Line is a public park built on an elevated historic freight rail line.

Chris pointed out the park’s history and the unique windows shaped like lanterns that allow more light into the apartment buildings we passed. While most of the plants are better appreciated in warmer seasons, the street art is fun to look at all year long.

Next, and last on the tour, would have been Hudson Yards, a shopping complex with a huge building called the Vessel that has 154 flights of stairs. But because it was raining, our group decided to end the tour early at the High Line Hotel, a beautiful mid-1800s building in the Chelsea neighborhood.

It was a great tour, with a lot of food, and I enjoyed every delicious bite.

People sitting at a counter enjoying fresh noodles at Chelsea Market during Like a Local Tours NYC tour
Fresh Noodles at Chelsea Market. Photo credit: Melody Moser

Parting Thoughts

As our tour came to a close, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the adventure I’d just experienced. Wandering through the vibrant streets of New York with Chris and our small, diverse group, I felt like I was seeing the city with fresh eyes.

This wasn’t just a tour; it was a reminder of the beauty of exploration and the joy of sharing those discoveries with others. I left not just with a full stomach, but with a full heart, eager to explore more of what New York City has to offer next time I go sightseeing in Manhattan.

FAQ

Accommodations

Chelsea Market, High Line, and Hudson Yards Food & History Tour was possibly the best food tour in New York City I’d ever taken. Here are some nearby places to stay in the Big Apple:

Hyatt Place New York City / Times Square

The Hyatt Place New York City, located at  350 W 39th Street in Manhattan, has a great location and their breakfast is delicious. 

The Pod Times Square

The Pod Times Square, also in a great location at 400 W 42nd St, is a good bet for budget-conscious travelers and has a nice lounge to relax in.

The Marriott Marquis

More upscale is the Marriott Marquis, located at 1535 Broadway, just north of Times Square, right in the heart of New York City’s theater district.

Tips for taking a food tour

  • There is more than enough food on this tour, and it’s great food! Make sure you come with an empty stomach so you can taste everything.
  • Bring some extra cash, as while all the tastings are included, you may want to purchase items to take home with you – there are so many things to try and buy.
  • Dress for the weather. New York can be icy cold in the winter and quite warm in the summer. Don’t forget a jacket and an umbrella, if rain’s in the forecast.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You don’t have to walk far, but you’ll be standing a lot and walking along the High Line. You’ll do a lot of walking while in New York City anyway, so choose to be comfortable.
  • Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Ask questions. The small groups feel like private tours, and you’ll have plenty of the guide’s attention.

Other Tours Offered by Like a Local Tours, NYC

If you want to explore the food in other New York neighborhoods, some of Like a Local’s other tours are:

  • Williamsburg Bites: A Brooklyn Foodie Adventure
  • Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Bridge, and DUMBO Food Tour
  • Greenwich Village Food Tour
  • Hell’s Kitchen dessert tour
  • Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Little Italy Tour
  • Flatiron Food, History & Architecture Tour

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