Jackson Heights, Queens is one of New York City and the country’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Founded in the early 20th century by the Queensboro Corporation as a middle and upper class urban alternative to the suburbs, today over 65% of Jackson Heights’ population is made up of immigrants, and over 130 languages can be heard spoken throughout its homes, businesses, schoolyards and cultural centers with some of the most prominently represented nationalities including Argentine, Uruguayan, Ecuadorian, Indian, Pakistani, Tibetan, Bhutanese, Chinese, and Korean (just to name a few!). Though our Jackson Heights walking tour primarily focuses on the architecture and cultural history, food is a great compliment to what we learn. We’ve handpicked picked some of our favorite places to experience global eating in the neighborhood.
Patel Brothers is a family-owned food emporium that has been a mainstay of Jackson Heights since 1974. The vast array of fruits, vegetables, sweets, spices, chutneys, not to mention the 40 pound bags of rice, make a quick visit to pick up just a few things almost impossible. And if you enjoy burning incense, their selection is like no other. 3727 74th Street, Flushing, NY patelbrothersusa.com
La Nueva Bakery is nondescriptly nestled amongst the dozens of small, independently owned businesses along 37th Street in Jackson Heights. Offering a variety of savory and sweet Peruvian, Ecuadorian and wider Latin American treats such as churros, empanadas, and alfajores, this bakery/cafe is truly a neighborhood spot where generations meet and mingle for coffee, snacks and a chat. 86-10 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY
The Argentines are widely known for their love of meat and a visit to an Argentinean steakhouse is a treat for any carnivore. It’s no surprise there are several to choose from in Jackson Heights, but our favorite is La Portena. With its kitchy decor of saddles, spurs and other ranching accoutrement, the mixed grill (including organ meat for the more adventuresome eaters) and house red wine are heartily satisfying. 7425 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY
With over 15 restaurants to choose from in a five block radius, Jackson Heights has one of the best selections of Tibetan, Nepali and Himalayan food in all of New York. From comforting momos (handmade purse dumplings) to warming soups, Tibetan Mobile (actually located at the back of a mobile phone store!) and Zomsa Tibetan Restaurant are two of our favorite casual spots to indulge. Tibetan Mobile 37-50 74th St, Jackson Heights, NY; Zomsa Tibetan Restaurant 72-19 Roosevelt Ave Jackson Heights, NY
And lest we forget the European immigrant contingency, Mary’s Polish European Deli offers a veritable feast of fresh and dried Polish goods. From housemade pierogi, sauerkraut and kluski to Kosciusko mustard, kielbasa and poppyseed bread, it’s difficult for us to leave without buying a bit of everything. 8010 37 Ave, Jackson Heights, NY