BREAKFAST

There is one thing New Yorkers like to argue they do best: bagels.

A bagel a day is the quintessential way of life, and if you find yourself in Chelsea, Black Seed Bagels is the spot. Perfect shiny, crisp outsides and doughy insides, these are the bagels people crave. Bagels have become part of the city's identity.

Order like a pro by specifying you'd like an everything bagel. These are the best, the exact ingredients aren't specified but it's a mix of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion flakes, garlic flakes, pretzel salt and pepper.

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Go for the classic smoked salmon on an everything bagel, it is arguably one of the most New York-esque foods you can order. They'll pack it in with an incredible schmear of cream cheese, garnished with red onion, tomato and capers.

The cream cheese variations are astounding: from horseradish to tobiko (flying fish roe), trust that they'll serve you the best combo.

Hungover? Make like many a New Yorker who probably hasn't slept yet either and order a sausage, egg and cheese bagel. But make sure you go back for that salmon one, because did you really visit New York if you didn't have a salmon and cream cheese bagel?

The hungover New Yorker go to:
The hungover New Yorker go to: "a sausage, egg and cheese please". Photo / Instagram
The hungover New Yorker go to:
The hungover New Yorker go to: "a sausage, egg and cheese please". Photo / Instagram

CHEAP EATS

Chelsea Market is a modern food hall with a never-ending selection of cuisines making any dining choice a very hard one.

Los Tacos No. 1 is a taste of authentic Mexican, and judging by the queue it's clear that others have also heard they might be the best tacos in the city.

Choose between a flour or corn tortilla (US$3.75), pick a meat, and obviously say yes to guacamole - they're super-generous here.

Ensure you save room for a bite of something from Big Mozz. The Mozz sticks are melt-in-your-mouth amazing mozzarella that's been covered in breadcrumbs and spices like fresh garlic, parsley, and pecorino romano. It makes for a chewy, flavour-packed crust. Or try the Mozz Bomb, a mound of mozzarella injected with a syringe full of basil pesto.

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To finish, head to Seed + Mill. If you haven't tried halva, be prepared to be amazed by the moreish texture. It's an Israeli dessert made from sesame seeds ground into tahini. They offer the tahini-based delight in 18 rotating flavours including cocoa and pistachio.

The Los Tacos No.1 stand tends to be busy, because people have heard they could be the best in the city. Photo / Instagram
The Los Tacos No.1 stand tends to be busy, because people have heard they could be the best in the city. Photo / Instagram
The Mozz Sticks have that cheesey-pull x-factor. Photo / Instagram
The Mozz Sticks have that cheesey-pull x-factor. Photo / Instagram

DESSERT

Milk Bar is a must-try institution. The famous chain is the creation of pastry chef Christina Tosi - with funding from David Chang, founder of the Momofuku noodle bar empire and creator of the world-famous pork belly bao bun.

Milk Bar is where you'll find the famous "Crack Pie" now sold as "Milk Bar Pie". Beware, sugar addict or not, this will convert anyone to the sweet side. The crust is comprised of toasted oat cookie, and the filling is dense, buttery and custardy. A bit like the most amazing sweet caramel you'll ever taste. Though the slice is small for US$6, you'll deem it worth it as soon as you take a bite - and you'll understand why it earned its original name.

As rich as it is, you'll demolish it. If you have room for more or were smart and took along a friend, try the compost cookie and cereal milk too.

Crack pie: filled with gooey buttery goodness in a toasted oat cookie crust. Photo / Instagram
Crack pie: filled with gooey buttery goodness in a toasted oat cookie crust. Photo / Instagram

DRINK STOP

Hidden behind a tiny storefront on Ninth Avenue, labelled Stone Street Coffee Company, you'll find a speakeasy called Bathtub Gin. A doorman and the glow of a red light coming from within hints that there's more than just coffee inside. An unmarked door leads into a smallish dark bar that will transport you to the Prohibition era of 1920s America.

You'll find tin-pressed ceilings, silk-covered couches and a majestic copper bathtub in the centre of the room - which is the focus of the Instagram tags at this location. Bartenders serve elaborate cocktails and, of course, gin. Edinburgh Gin, Gunpowder Irish Gin and Hendrick's are just a few of the liquor varieties featured on the menu. Try the Pandan express, a delightful mix of Bombay Sapphire East Gin, Pandan-Lemongrass Syrup, Pressed Ginger and Fresh Lime.

This is also a great place to treat yourself to some truffle fries, yet another dish the city does extremely well.

Bathtub Gin has a selection of delicious cocktails. Photo / Instagram
Bathtub Gin has a selection of delicious cocktails. Photo / Instagram

- Silke Weil