Recently, some members of the Symrise team went on a trek around New York City to explore the rich Latino culture in our own backyard as part of our Sabor In America Initiative. Our goal was to find inspiration for new flavors and concepts as well as observe the effect of Latino consumers on mainstream America. The following is a breakdown of what we observed along the way.
- NYC is a melting pot of Latino cultures from multiple regions. A rundown of the neighborhoods follows
- Brazilian: Astoria, Queens; Little Brazil – West 46th Street between 5th and 6th Ave in Manhattan
- Colombian: Jackson Heights, Queens
- Washington Heights, Manhattan; Bushwick, Brooklyn
- Ecuadorian: Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Tremont, Bronx; Jackson Heights, Queens; Ridgewood, Queens
- Mexican: Corona, Queens; Sunset Park, Brooklyn
- Puerto Rican: Spanish Harlem, Manhattan; South Bronx; Bushwick, Brooklyn; Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Ridgewood, Queens
The Symrise team spent and entire day traversing around Manhattan on the hunt for the most authentic Latin cuisine and culture. We sampled many dishes and kept our eyes out for the most authentic and unique ingredients, dishes, drinks, and flavors from around Latin America.
Places visited by Symrise on our trek:
- Caracas Arepa Bar – 93 ½ E. 7th Street – East Village – Venezuelan restaurant known for their arepas (a corn pancake, sweetened or unsweetened). Each arepa combines ingredients to create a unique combination of flavors and textures. Some of the arepas we sampled included chorizo, plantain, black beans, fish, beef, chicken, pork and more. We also sampled tostones.
- Essex Street Market – 120 Essex Street – East Village – A public market made up of many smaller merchants and specializes in a wide variety of culinary products including gourmet cheeses, premium cuts of meat, fresh fish, and general grocery items. We found authentic Hispanic ingredients here, including plantains, multiple types of chili peppers, nopal, yucca, mango, jicama and more.
- Brooklyn Taco Co. – inside of Essex street market – We sampled chorizo and potato tacos, cola braised pork tacos, mahi mahi tacos, and braised beef tacos, among more. More menu info at the website above.
- Gust Organics – 519 Sixth Avenue, Chelsea – Argentian born Alberto Gonzalez designed the first NYC certified organic restaurant and bar, which “serves organic and flavorful Latin-inspired cuisine, with a menu that changes daily based on fresh produce offerings”. The lesson here: Latin cuisine doesn’t have to be unhealthy (a false stereotype).
- Coppelia – Cuban Food – Chelsea – 207 west 14th street, New York, NY – Chef Julian Medina of Mexico City creates a 24-hour Cuban restaurant/diner that serves a wide-ranging menu of Latino food from across the Caribbean basin and into South America. The restaurant feels like your stepping into a place right out of the heart of Havana. We sampled cream floats in flavors like dulce de leche, tamarind, and passion fruit as well as fresh mango juice and Cuban coffee.
- Barrio Chino – East Village – 253 Broome Street – Barrio Chino means “Chinese hood” in Spanish, features agave liquor and “Cantina specializes in unusual Mexican-Sino fusion fare. We sampled cocktails with fresh fruit juices and vodka and tequila that was infused with peppers like jalapenos.
- Puro Chile – 221 Centre Street – Soho – A private company established in 2009 to sell and promote Chilean products and services. The store features everything from hand crafts and jewelry to gourmet products and textiles. There was a large selection of Chilean wine, cocktail recipes and more.
- Raymi Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar – 43 West 24th Street, Flatiron – “Raymi captures the multicultural spirit of Peru, blending the Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and native influences that embody the country’s vibrant cuisine. The flavors are once familiar, adventurous, unexpected.” We sampled a huge array of food here. From ceviche to Pisco sour cocktails, to lucuma ice cream. The chef brought us out a great sample of unique Peruvian ingredients.
- Rossy’s Bakery – 242 E. 3rd – East Village – A great, humble neighborhood Dominican spot. We sampled Dominica sodas, majarete (corn pudding), empanadas, flan, and guava turnovers. This a also a great spot for authentic savory Dominican foods, served cafeteria style, daily.
- Zaragoza Mexican Bodega – 215 Avenue A, Alphabet City – This authentic Mexican bodega features everything from fresh, quick, on-the-go Mexican dishes to packaged Mexican foods and piñatas. This is a great spot to get a feel for where local Mexican residents visit on a daily basis.
Keep an eye out for more Sabor in America content in on in-sight!