Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting: Chinatown

On a gorgeous day in April, my assistant and I had the pleasure of joining a New York City Food Tour of Little Italy and Chinatown. We could not have ordered a more perfect weather day. Sunny, no humidity and no jacket required. I have taken a few walking tours, and I must say, I highly recommend them. The owner of Ahoy New York Food Tours, Alana, advised me she has had locals on her food tour. It is a great way to spend your time while in the city.  

The tour takes you to Chinatown and Little Italy, and this post is the Chinatown area. If you wish to read about the Little Italy part of the tour, click HERE
I loved the colors and design of this fruit - flavor is similar to a Strawberry Pear - 
We began at the Asia Market Corp. 
durian = stinky fruit  The weird and smelly durian has attracted a cult-like following.  It's called the King of Fruits by aficionados in Southeast Asia, but Westerners usually don't care much for its mild oniony flavor.  Once cut open, the durian gives off such a strong and foul odor that it's banned on Singaporean subways.  The boiled seeds of the durian are called betons. This was quite an impressive way to begin the tour of Chinatown. 
I looked up and this was the scenery I witnessed. The colors were so beautiful, I had to show you!! 
The tenement buildings in this area are quite amazing as some are over 100 years old  
A game of cards in Columbus Park named after Christopher Columbus in 1911  
Since this is about a 3 hour tour, we arrived at our sit down destination, Pongsri, for some Thai food. It was a welcome rest for those feet indeed. We had quite a few choices to try, it was family style, and the bathroom was available here if needed. I liked the idea of having this bit of a rest, to regenerate your batteries!! 
I have to say, Alana took us in some places I may have not gone in on my own. This is why a tour like this is so great, you have someone who really knows the area to show you the best it has to offer. It doesn't get much better than that!! 
We had a dumpling here made of Pork and Chives, it was very, very tasty. The price is quite silly I would say, 5 for $1.25? I would like to try the Shrimp and Chives if I ever get back to this area of the city. 
Everyone was looking in this Fried Dumpling window as they were making them there so you could see the process. Neat idea.  
Very narrow streets here. Easy to get lost I would assume. This shot came out pretty cool I thought. This area gives you a totally different view of New York City. 
Our next stop was Everything Frosted on Mosco Street. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner, Jason Wu, who was so nice and can bake pretty amazing items! I loved the wedding cake in the upper right photo, so elegant.  
This caught my eye in the refrigerator. The design was just beautiful. So original.  
John took it out for me and advised it was decorated by a henna artist. What a great item for a party or wedding. It really took our breathe away and probably tasted amazing as well.  
Our tasting here was a cuppie! How exciting you say? Yes but what flavor? Lychee ...which is a Chinese fruit about the size of a walnut. Think of a grape. The flavor is sweet, exotic and very juicy. You do not eat the shell or the seeds. This was so good, it was so moist and tasty. I really enjoyed this very, very much as did my assistant, Jean.  

Next stop for a tasting was Nom Wah Tea Parlour  on Doyers Street. This street was very narrow and is famous for it's bend, which became known as the "Bloody Angle" early in the century. It had this name because of the numerous shootings amount the Tong Gangs of Chinatown that lasted into the 1930's. Some interesting history here that Alana tells while you amaze at your surroundings.  
Alana passing out our egg rolls. Now, this was not just any egg roll. This was the most amazing egg roll I ever have tasted. It was so fresh, you could tell it was all homemade and had real vegetables inside. We were all in agreement this was pretty fabulous.  
Look at those layers!! Just melted right in your mouth!!  
Another shot of Doyer Street on a brilliant day in April  
Alana in front of a Chinese bakery explaining the types of desserts they sell here. We did not have a tasting here but just peeked inside.  
This is the end of our tour. I can understand why this was written about in the New York Times, and why it is a favorite on my favorite travel site, Trip Advisor. It was a real enjoyable day, seeing history of neighborhoods that make up the great Manhattan. It is what makes New York City unique. You can walk a bit, and you feel like you are in a totally different city. 

This tour was enough food for your breakfast and lunch for the day. Bringing a bottle of water is a good idea and is suggested on their website. You are also given a map of the area, a list of the places you visited if you wish to go back on your own, and coupons as well. You are not allowed to purchase items in any of the shops while on the tour, as it may slow down the tour time. Having your map makes it easy to walk back to the places you really enjoyed and make some purchases. 

I want to thank Alana at Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting for the 2 complimentary tickets for this tour. It was a pure pleasure of 3 hours and you will be so thrilled at the end of the day. What I also really liked about this tour is the maximum people on the tour is about 12. It is nice to have a smaller group with you, easier to keep everyone moving on a timely basis. You can also ask the tour guide questions much easier than when you have a bus load of 45 people. Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting can also put together a tour for your group, which I think is fun, whether is a group that works together or family on vacation in NYC. A really fun way to experience New York City in a very unique way. 

You can order tickets HERE for your tour. They sell out quick in the warm summer months, so if you are thinking of doing a tour, obtain your tickets as soon as possible. 

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Hootin Anni said...

Everything you posted, the images, what you wrote about it all...was superb. I think that stinky fruit would be banned in our house just like the subways.

Sorry I'm so late in getting over to visit with you since you left your comment in my blog on ...I've been feeling poorly with a bout of the flu. Hope your week has been treating you well, and I wanted to thank you for stopping by.

My newest post if you care to view: REDHEADS

Barbara said...

WOW, and the henna-inspired cake is lovely!

Daryl said...

what a good tour .. and now you've made me think I need to go wander down there, its been a while since I was in Chinatown or Little Italy ..

nycstylelittlecannoli said...

I really did enjoy this as I do not think I would wander Chinatown on my own. It was nice being taken to the best places the area has to offer with a guide. I would do the tour again!! :) Thanx for the compliments!!

Fashion-isha said...

That looks so cool! Thanks for sharing all those great photos!

SohoAccessories said...

Great post. Need to get back down to Chinatown and Little Italy. It has been awhile but once the weather is nice..Maybe even do the tour!

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