New York Bagels Are NYC’s Tastiest Jewish Tradition || Food/Groups

These are very heavy. These are like a weighty, weighty amount of
food on these. You could
bludgeon someone into a deep coma. [laughs] New York City has been a bagel town
for at least a century, when waves of Eastern European immigrants schlepped their “rolls with holes” across the Atlantic to newly forming ethnic enclaves in Manhattan and Brooklyn. A lot of them were Jewish, which is why, today,
there are over one and a half million Jews in the New York metropolitan area. That’s more than Boston, Chicago, San Francisco,
Philly, DC… combined! So if you trace New York City’s bagel dynasties
back to their humble beginnings, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Jewish baker
rolling rings. But Jew or gentile, born here or not, New
Yorkers love their bagels. So does the rest of America: annual sales
hit around a billion dollars a year. Today, we’re meeting up with Rayna Greenberg
— also known as @OneHungryJew — to talk about bagels, Jews, and New York City. We’re headed to Ess-a-Bagel. It’s one of her favorite spots — a midtown
Manhattan classic that’s been slinging certified-kosher bagels to hungry New Yorkers since the 70s. Let’s NOSH! (That’s terrible. That’s really bad.) I moved here almost 10 years ago, but
I’ve been coming to New York since I was a little kid. To me, being a New Yorker is not like… It’s not a sense of how long you’ve been
here, it’s a state of mind. Really, just as like a silly hobby, I started
this Instagram account called @OneHungryJew. So the very first guide I ever wrote was “Best
Bagels in New York City.” So the thing that separates a bagel from bread,
is how it’s made. So what you do, is you take the dough — it’s
a pretty stiff dough — you roll it into the ring, then you boil the actual dough. You boil it, you flip it, you boil it, then
you take it out, roll it in whatever seeds you want (so it’s nice and wet, and the
seeds adhere to it), and then you stick it in the oven. And you need a convection oven, so it’s
blowing air around it at all times. Cheers! Cheers! Good luck getting all that in your
mouth. Wow. Yep. Oh yeah. Argh [laughs]
This is also a key part of the bagel experience, just talking with your hands while
you go “Argh… argh!” New Yorkers feel so possessive about,
like, ‘we, bagels are our thing’ or whatever… You could take most places in New York,
the average ones, and stick them in any city, and they would probably be the best of that
— whatever it is, wherever it is. That is literally why people hate New
Yorkers. [Laughs]
Because of that sentence I just said? [Laughs] But you know what? The truth is, if you are going to half-ass
this, you can’t be in business in New York. So we got whitefish, we’ve got Nova
lox, and tomato. I think that’s it on this one. Onion and lettuce. Onion and lettuce? It is indeed amazing. Oh my god. And the whitefish is like, pretty mellow,
right? It’s super-mellow. Honestly, I was expecting a more severe…
flavor. My mom still has like the big containers
from Sam’s Club, of the whitefish salad… Dope. …that I would like, sit on the couch
and scoop out of a tub. Oh my god. This type of food was always a part
of holidays, weekends… it was just, you always had bagels like Sundays after weddings. You always did it Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur…
it was a very like, holiday or together family type of thing. The fish is amazing. Yeah. It’s not super-fishy. Yeah, which is awesome, because like
for a lot of people, that is an off-putting flavor. But like, I feel like this is a good crossover
lox. It’s super-mild! This is a gateway lox, is what it is. [Laughs] The capers though, capers are my favorite. I’m a big salt fan, like, you can’t get
enough salt into food for me. Your doctor is just freaking out. We’re all gonna die, like, at least
I’ll die being happy and fat. I mean, you’re gonna die being well-fed. Well-fed! That’s for sure. There are worse ways to go. Than full of bagels.


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