Serious Eats: New York

What's in Your NYC Care Package?

[Photograph: Brent Herrig]

A food-loving buddy of mine in New Orleans and I have come to a mutual understanding: we each want what the other has. For me, that means unlimited oysters, beignets, sno balls, and gumbo. For him, it's every kind of smoked and pickled fish New York has to offer, with some black and white cookies to satisfy his sweet tooth. So we have a deal: you mail me your food favorites and I'll send you mine.

Of course oysters, doughnuts, and shaved ice don't ship particularly well, so my NOLA buddy opts to send me king cake, local molasses, and delightfully salty Slap Yo Mama seasoning. On my end, lox is pretty spendy to ship overnight, but babka, halvah, and some Turkish sausage made by my local meat shop do nicely. Recently my friend was in town and hand-delivered links of boudin and andouille; I returned the favor with a slab of Katz's pastrami. You get the idea.

Finding foods that survive shipping isn't easy—that's why we compiled a guide to some best bets. Now you tell us: if you did a food exchange with someone, what New York foods would you send them? And just as important: what would you want in return?

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