#1: Pocha32
2nd floor, 15 West 32nd Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway in Koreatown

new york city dining pocha32

“It’s a cosy little Korean spot in K-Town that serves up really delicious stews, BBQ seafood/meat (I’m not much of a meat eater but the boys devoured it), and soju! My favourite dish at this spot was, hands down, the Spicy Tofu Stew. But the highlight of the night was definitely the Watermelon Soju that was served in one half of an enormous watermelon. If you read its description in the menu, it says that “sweetness” is an ingredient which for some reason made the whole experience a lot sweeter for me. I wish I snapped a shot of the decor but you’ll see from their website how the walls and ceiling are lined with fishing nets with messages written on chopstick wrappers artistically stuffed in between. It really added to the whimsical warmth of the place. Most importantly, especially when travelling, it was also very affordable! My party of seven ate and drank our fill, and it only cost us USD$24 (S$33) each.”


#2: Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring Street

new york city dining dominique ansel bakery

new york city dining cookie shot

“Every single dessert item at this spot was out of this world yummy. I emphasize “dessert item” because unfortunately the mushroom soup we tried was not great at all, but we saw a lot of people having sandwiches before their desserts, so perhaps we chose poorly with the mushroom soup. The Frozen S’mores and Cookie Shots (only available after 3pm) however were worth all the calories it packed. The bakery is actually famous for their Cronuts, which unfortunately sell out by 9am (just one hour after it opens at 8am) so we did not get to try them. I did, however, buy a box of DKAs (Dominique’s Kouian Amann) that I dipped in coffee to have for breakfast the next morning. It was the most delicious thing I’ve ever dipped into my coffee cup. I would highly recommend purchasing more than one box for the snack stash if you do visit.”


#3: The Halal Guys
West 53rd Street & 7th Avenue

new york city dining the halal guys nyc

new york city dining halal guys food

“DO NOT LEAVE NYC WITHOUT TRYING IT. My tip: Order the chicken over rice with everything on it (you get shredded lettuce and pita). Then go easy on the red sauce (it’s suuuper spicy – even if you think you’re the king of spicy, do not mess with this red sauce. You’ve been warned!), and heavy on the white sauce. It brings the dish together really well. It’s the perfect post-clubbing food, but really quite perfect at any time of the day. When I first went to NYC nine years ago, these guys had one cart on one corner of the street. Now they have one on each corner of that area and even have their own restaurant space. Wild.”


#4: Ootoya
141 West 41st Street

Ootoya new york city dining

“A quietly stylish Japanese spot that prides itself in serving authentic Japanese home cooked fare. What I loved about this place was the affordability of the food and drink, considering the quality of the food that they put out. It’s always packed, so call ahead to make reservations or go early to leave your name.”


#5: Baohaus
238 East 14th Street

Baohaus new york city dining

“It’s an awesome no-frills hole-in-the-wall spot that dishes out good (Taiwanese) grub. Check out their Facebook page – it’s more comprehensive. Everything on their popular order list is amazing. I didn’t try all of it but the boys did, and they had only good things to say about it. Also, the best Bao is the fish one. Yes, it’s the only one I tried but everyone who went with me can vouch for that too. And they ordered everything on the menu to try! Again, this is affordable yummy grub to dine-in or to go.”


Like this? Get a peek into Aarika’s life as the modern multi-hyphenate mother.