The scene in When Harry Met Sally is probably its biggest claim to fame, but anyone who’s ever had a Reuben sandwich from Katz’s Deli knows Meg Ryan wasn’t faking anything. Half a foot of hot, freshly carved corned beef nestled between two slices of mustard-slathered rye, served aside the greenest sweet pickles you’ve ever seen…are you drooling yet? Well, thankfully, London provides a Reuben’s doppelganger, the salt beef sandwich; and Nana Fanny’s at Borough Market serves up a hearty and delicious one.
New York Bagel
If you leave New York for more than a week, the first thing you’ll miss is a New York bagel. But beware, because not all bagels were created equal. A true New York bagel is the perfect combination of fluffy and doughy, topped with lox and cream cheese. You can find one in London at Beigel Bake on Brick Lane, which churns out 7,000 bagels all day, every day. Yes, you heard correctly, it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We’ve all heard of the New York slice but it’s more of a myth than a reality. Sure, you can find an edible slice of cheese pizza for one dollar, but it’s definitely not a good slice. New Yorkers know better than anyone that quality comes at a price. So, if you’re willing to shell out a few pounds, stop by Pizza East on Shoreditch High Street. Their wood oven pizzas are eat-the-crust good. They also have other locations in Kentish Town and Portobello.
There’s nothing better than ‘original family recipes,’ and that’s especially true with falafel. Mamoun’s in Greenwich Village, established in 1971, is the oldest falafel shop in the United States. Visitors from all corners of the earth have flocked to the ‘hole in the wall,’ but it still retains its family-owned charm. Pilpel in Spitalfields offers the same quality and warm family vibes. Every Pilpel falafel is rolled using Grandpa Zion’s original recipe. It doesn’t get better than that.
There are few things better than when a New York staple follows you to London. Shake Shack grew from a literal shack in Madison Square Park to take the world by storm with presences in six countries. Quite ironically, many Shake Shack-goers fill up on the heavenly crinkle-cut fries and the fresh, GMO-free burgers before they can even get to the shakes. And once you have a go at the shakes, it takes several visits to get through the menu, as they feature a new custard flavour every month. Shake Shack’s three London venues are amidst all the action, located in Covent Garden, Stratford, and Oxford Street.
Pork Soup Dumplings
New York’s bustling Chinatown offers much more than knock-off handbags. A favourite amongst both tourists and locals is the pork soup dumpling. This Shanghainese delicacy literally oozes with flavour. Dumplings’ Legend in London’s Chinatown offers many variations of the Siu Long Bao including spicy, pork, chicken, and prawn. You can even watch the chefs hand-folding your dumplings through the open-plan kitchen.