In New York City, one sign that the holidays are near are the red and white checkered tents that take over Union Square Park each November and December. The bustling open space has been transformed into a maze of creative vendors for 18 years, and this year’s Urbanspace’s Holiday Market is one of seven around the city. The Daily Meal took a break from browsing the 150 art, gift, jewelry, and clothing vendors to sample craft foods. Here are five treats to try.
Crepes: Troi Lughod and Peter Tondreau combine their international food interests into an internationally recognized treat in one of the most international cities in the world. Bar Suzette offers crepes with fillings from fruits and vegetables to meats, cheeses, spreads, and sauces. Stop by to try one of their sweet or savory combinations at the market through Christmas Eve or year-round at 425 West 15th Street.
Dim Sum: Hong Kong Street Cart aims to offer easy, to-go, Asian-influenced snacks, from Peking duck buns to shrimp dumplings. The cart makes appearances at several NYC food fairs like Madison Square Eats, Parked, or the Hester Street Fair, and has been praised for its chile shrimp, spinach dumplings, pork buns, and lemongrass chicken salad.
Vegetable Soup: If you haven’t heard of ash reshteh, grab your spot in line for a popular booth called Taste of Persia, where Saeed Pourkay stirs up noodles, kidney beans, corn, chickpeas, herbs, whey, onions, and garlic for a cup of soup as soothing as it is rich in flavor. The traditional Iranian concoction is quickly catching on in New York City, where fans are trying to convince Pourkay to open a brick-and-mortar shop next year.
Meat Balls: Dina Williamson and Kerri Brewer’s meatball innovation Mighty Balls puts a fresh spin on a growing NYC food trend. The secret to their success is in their sauces. Choose a pork, beef, or vegetable ball; add one of five distinct sauces; then eat as is or slider-style topped with cheese. If you miss the holiday market, Mighty Balls can also be found at the Hester Street Fair, Kings County General Store, Parked, Fulton Stall Market, and the Brooklyn Night Bazaar.
Slow-Braised Sandwiches: The Mayhem & Stout crew's slow-braised brisket, ribs, pork shoulder, and chicken topped off with local breads and homemade sauces, spreads, and relishes are a must-try Try a combination of your own, made fresh at any of New York’s pop-up markets, plus a variety of snacks distinct to their Union Square space.
Ashley Day is the New York City Travel Editor at The Daily Meal.