Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

If you are ever in Brooklyn, New York… (Part 1)

Posted on: September 26, 2012


…I highly recommend checking out the various ethnic neighborhoods.

Little Russia (formerly Little Odessa) is the nickname given to Brighton Beach.  It is a mix of various Russian cultures, and has a ton of supermarkets like Gold Label, and smaller stores where you can find some of the widest cheese, meat, and “appetizing” selections in the borough.  There are also the restaurants, ranging from grand catering halls that do a dinner sitting on nights they are not hosting parties to little holes in the wall, like Varenichnaya, which specializes in dumplings, and where two can eat or under $15.00, if ordering carefully.  While it may take a little bit of time to get there, it’s well worth the trip.  You can get there by taking the Brighton Line subway (B or Q) to the Brighton Beach stop.

The  three Brooklyn Chinatowns (Avenue U, Bensonhurst, and  Sunset Park) are a collection of restaurants, markets, nail salons, electronics stores, and bakeries.  They are fairly easy to access by subway (Avenue U – the B or Q to the Avenue U stop; Bensonhurst – the D train to Bay Parkway; and Sunset Park – the R train to 45th St & 4th Avenue, then walk over to 8th Avenue).  The name “Chinatown” is a slight misnomer, though; these neighborhoods are a mix of Asians!  The Avenue U Chinatown is the one nearest me, and I love the Asian supermarkets there.  The prices are generally better than mainstream supermarkets, and they have a number of things, like shirataki noodles, and seafood that is generally fresher than the chain supermarkets.  I highly recommend both Sea Bay (Avenue U near Homecrest  Avenue) and New York Mart (Avenue U near East 23rd Street, and another new location at around 18th Street and Avenue U).

African/Black/Dominican/Haitian/Jamaican communities are all over Brooklyn, although the greatest concentrations are in Bedford-StuyvesantCanarsieCrown HeightsEast FlatbushFlatbush, and Kensington.  These areas are a melange of restaurants (specializing in jerk meats, oxtail, doubles, etc.), clothing stores, religious articles stores, and bookstores.

Caribbean/Dominican/Hispanic/Mexican/Puerto Rican communities are also all over Brooklyn, with large concentrations along Fourth and Fifth Avenues in and around the Park Slope area. Coco Roco, one of the few Peruvian restaurants in the city is located here, on Fifth Avenue, between 6th and 7th Streets.  (They also have a location in Carroll Gardens.)  There are also large groups of these restaurants in  Williamsburg, and along Fulton Street and Crescent Street in Cypress Hills, and in Bushwick,  East New YorkBrownsvilleConey Island, and Sunset Park.

The Indian and Pakistani communities have their enclaves too.  They are largely located along Coney Island Avenue from Church Avenue over to approximately Avenue M (the B or Q to any stop between Church Avenue and Avenue N), and along McDonald Avenue clustered around it’s junction with Church Avenue (F or G train to Church Avenue).

Park Slope is an unusual concatenation of eateries, ranging from the “Latin” restaurants on Fourth and Fifth Avenues to the varied international restaurants on Seventh Avenue. It’s easily reachable by train; take the F or G to Seventh Avenue, or the F, G, or R to Fourth Avenue-Ninth Street.

Italians are well represented in Brooklyn, too, mostly in the areas of  Bay RidgeBensonhurst, Williamsburg, South BrooklynDyker Heights, and Cobble Hill.

Please note that this is in no way a truly comprehensive list, because there are many excellent ethnic restaurants located outside the noted neighborhoods.

Also, please note that this is just the first part of this exploration, as doing a totally inclusive list for Brooklyn would take more bandwidth than any one entry should occupy!

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