02/27/2014 08:45 am ET | Updated Mar 06, 2014

21 Food Things Only A New Yorker Would Understand (PHOTOS)

Flickr: Seth W.

Despite what out of towners might think, New York City food is about a lot more than just pizza and bagels --though those are definitely pretty great. It's also about biscuits, Reuben sandwiches and cheesecake. Oh and, of course, the centuries of people who have imprinted their cultures into the way this city feeds and nurtures its residents (who in turn love it more than life itself).

Everyone knows that New York is a city full of great food -- it's the main reason many of us stick it out as long as we do. But New York food does more than just feed us, it etches itself into our very psyche. Between the way we eat breakfast on the go, how we fight our way through the grocery store and our complete willingness to spend an entire Sunday afternoon over brunch, eating in New York is a very unique kind of experience. Behold, the 21 food things you could only understand if you've toughed it out in New York City for longer than the college try.

  • 1 You eat a street cart hot dog AT YOUR OWN RISK.
    Flickr: Kathleen Tyler Conklin
    And if you get sick, no one is to blame but you. (But sometimes, man, they can really hit the spot.)
  • 2 Don't even think about Trader Joe's on the weekend.
    Flickr: Barbara L. Hanson
    There is absolutely no point in trying to go to Trader Joe's on the weekend unless you're one of the first 10 people at the door when it opens.
  • 3 Super shady-looking corner bodegas can make the BEST breakfast sandwiches.
    Flickr: Paul Lowry
    Just have faith.
  • 4 Not all New York pizza is created equal.
    Flickr: Matt @ PEK
    We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but some of it's just not that good. There are slices worth waiting in lines for, and then some that aren't even worth the 99 cents they cost -- like Ray's Pizza. Just stay away from Ray's Pizza.
  • 5 Don't EVER get bagels more than 75 miles from Manhattan.
    Flickr: mroach
    NO, NO, NO.
  • 6 Feel like a biscuit? There's a restaurant for that.
    Flickr: mastermaq
    In the mood for mac and cheese? There's a restaurant for that too. This beloved city has someone specializing in all kinds of foods. Even oatmeal has its own restaurant.
  • 7 The Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria is the best place to spend a fall Sunday.
    Flickr: marc.flores
    Have a beer -- or four -- and enjoy the fact that you live in the greatest city on earth.
  • 8 You know the Cronut is NOT worth the wait.
    Flickr: star5112
    Save it for the out of towners. And during the time they wait for their allotted two Cronuts, you can eat a dozen donuts from Doughnut Plant and even more croissants from La Bergamote.
  • 9 But you don't even think twice about waiting in line for brunch, because booze.
    Flickr: Robb1e
    Bloody Mary's, mimosas, beer, it's all expected drinking on the weekend afternoons.
  • 10 Ice cream is the only reason to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
    Flickr: 3n
    The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory will be waiting for you when you reach the Brooklyn side.
  • 11 There ain't no cheesecake like a Junior's Cheesecake.
    Flickr: kawanet
    If it's good enough for the President, it's good enough for us.
  • 12 The real Little Italy is in the Bronx.
    Flickr: japp1967
    That shit on Mulberry street is a theme park.
  • 13 It's worth traveling an hour and a half by train to eat in a food court in Flushing, Queens.
    Flickr: Chun's Pictures
    Seriously, the Chinese food will blow your mind.
  • 14 Two bags of groceries can cost you 60 bucks.
    Flickr: Jude Doyland
    Actually, one bag of groceries can cost you $60.
  • 15 Do NOT shop the perimeter at Gristedes.
    Flickr: Seth W.
    You know how they always tell you to shop the perimeter of the grocery store for the healthiest food (fresh produce, meat, etc.)? At Gristedes, it's the exact OPPOSITE. Danger, just stay away.
  • 16 You don't wait for waiter service at Katz's on a weekend.
    Flickr: B*2
    You just don't.
  • 17 There's never a reason NOT to order delivery.
    Flickr: Seth W.
    Even if it's from the Chinese place right down the street.
  • 18 There are some places so great, but so tiny, you don't tell anyone about them.
    Yelp: Alexandra M.
    Except for the people you really, really like. Because you need to save them for yourself.
  • 19 Choosing between a bagel and a bialy in the morning can be the hardest part of your day.
    Flickr: BrownGuacamole
    They're both so perfect, how do you choose??
  • 20 It is perfectly acceptable to eat dinner at 11pm.
    Flickr: eastvillagedenizen
    It's the city that never sleeps, so why not?
  • 21 You've got no reason to travel because all the best international foods are right outside your door.
    Flickr: J . K A R I L
    Besides traveling on the subway of course. Between the Greek food in Astoria, the Italian food in the Bronx, Korean food in K-Town and Chinese food in Flushing, Sunset Park or Chinatown, you could happily eat your way around the world without ever leaving your amazing city.

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