Looking for a unique food tour in NYC? In Jackson Heights, Queens, we offer small group walking food tours, food tours specifically for families/kids, food tours for school groups, and team-building food tours for companies. Our tours have been featured in 2023 in the Wall Street Journal, on NY1, and in Gothamist!
For more than a decade, we have taken people on informal and formal food tours of Jackson Heights, the incredibly diverse Queens neighborhood we’ve called home since 2008. It’s all been for the love of the food and the neighborhood, but over the years our tours have grown popular and able to accommodate a wide range of eaters: company teams, school groups, families with young children. We are now expanding our roster of tour guides (see FAQ), so we can consistently run 2-4 tours a week!
The themes that run through every tour we give are an appreciation for cultural diversity, support for beloved local businesses, sustainability (we’re the only tour operators who provide and collect compostable plates and utensils), and open-minded eating, as we take guests to some of our favorite local eateries serving the foods of the immigrants who have landed here in Jackson Heights: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, and more. All tours begin with a bit of neighborhood history, because we believe context is essential!
It’s truly a world food tour right in NYC, making it a perfect extension of our world food website. And because we mean what we say about wishing to support our community (beyond supporting individual local restaurants and vendors), we donate 5% of proceeds from tours booked directly with us back to the neighborhood via local food pantries, nonprofits, and other worthy causes (scroll down to see exactly where/how much).
Good to know: The proximity of Jackson Heights to LaGuardia and JFK makes this a perfect layover food tour too! We do have some flexibility in scheduling, and can recommend places to stash luggage (see FAQ).
Fill out this Google form to request our one-of-a-kind Queens food tour. (This is NOT a final booking form.) Or email lau[email protected]. Weekend dates are limited, so reserve ASAP!
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Who’s it for: Curious, adventurous food lovers who want to get off the beaten path, learn something new, and experience a truly local perspective of a non-trendy, super diverse part of Queens (a slice of real NYC, if you ask us). This Jackson Heights tour is a fantastic way to explore foods from various countries in a neighborhood that’s always eye-opening for both tourists and fellow New Yorkers (we’ve had plenty of local Queens guests who love this tour!). We take all the stress out of planning a Jackson Heights food adventure, because we do the work for you. We can accommodate vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans, the gluten-free, the dairy-free—just ask!
Also, solo eaters are welcome. Get in touch and we will do our best to pair you with another group (or another solo eater), so the tour’s minimum number of guests is met. Don’t be dissuaded if you don’t have your own group!
What is it: Indoor/outdoor food tours of Jackson Heights, Queens, which sometimes dip a bit into nearby Elmhurst. During the tour we’ll hit up about 5-6 of our favorite local spots, depending on which tour you book, that best represent the neighborhood’s unique diversity. Think papri chaat and aloo tikki chaat (India), pan de bono and arepas (Colombia), momos and sel roti (Tibet and Nepal), Ecuadorian soups, Mexican seafood or tacos, and much more. (Each tour is a bit different depending on the time of day and which vendors we visit.) Special requests are accepted! (See more in FAQ.)
Where: Jackson Heights is easy to get to from midtown Manhattan via the E, F, 7, R, or M train (stop is 74th St./Roosevelt Ave.). It’s about a 15-minute ride from midtown, and our meeting spot is just off 37th Ave., a 5-minute walk from the subway. Parking is a little tricky but doable. (See FAQ for more information.) Detailed directions will be provided if needed.
1. Weekday lunch tours. Our weekday lunch tours typically run from 11:30am-2:30pm and cost $75 per person (5 stops, minimum 3 people). Includes all food, water, and tea. These are scheduled on demand, but dates are available Monday through Friday typically. Get in touch if you have a date in mind.
2. Weeknight tours. As the neighborhood shifts into evening, more food trucks are out and the energy picks up. These are offered Mon-Thurs from about 6pm-9pm and cost $75 per person (5 stops, minimum 4 people). Includes all food, water, and tea. Also offered on demand, so please request a date.
3. Weekend tours. Our longest tour runs about 3.5 hours, typically starting at 1:30pm. Cost: $80 per person (5 or 6 stops for food, 5-person minimum), including all food, water, and tea. Reminder: If you are a single eater or a smaller group, you can still request a date; I’ll do my best to pair you with others so I can run the tour.
WEEKEND DATES ARE LIMITED, and fill up fast! Please use this Google form to request and reserve your date ASAP. We currently have the following available, but use the form to request a date you don’t see, or a date further out. Note: Groups of 8 who want to book on an open weekend (indicated by “10 spots available,” below) can request a private tour with no other bookers.
- Sat, Sept. 23 (2 spots left)
- Sat, Oct. 14 (4 spots)
- Sat, Oct. 21 (10 spots)
- Sun, Oct. 22 (2 spots left)
- Sun, Oct. 29 (10 spots left)
- Sun, Nov. 12 (10 spots)
- Sun, Nov. 19 (10 spots)
Use this form to request and book!
Want to go it alone? We won’t be offended! We still have a self-guided food tour available for $41.95 in our shop (last updated Dec. 2022). There’s plenty of room for you to pick and choose from the 9 stops on that tour if it’s too much food (and it will be!). This tour is best for people in small groups who cannot make an in-person tour, or just really prefer to taste on their own time.
Why an Eat Your World tour? This Jackson Heights food tour is the only one we give. It’s our specialty. It’s our home neighborhood, where we live, work, and raise our children. We know it very well! We are not a big corporate tour company spread out across the city. We’re (literally) a mom-and-pop shop, and we visit eateries we love and wish to support, run by vendors we know. Laura, a travel-food writer by trade who is well-known within the Queens food community, personally still leads the majority of these tours, and takes care to put every dish tasted in the context of the neighborhood’s history, the people making it, and the origin countries, many of which she’s traveled to.
Moreover, we are different from every other tour operator we know in two other ways: We always donate a portion of our tour proceeds back to the neighborhood (via a local food pantry, local immigrant-rights nonprofit Make the Road NY or restaurant-food relief nonprofit Queens Together, or another worthy cause), and we make efforts to “green” the tour via things like compostable utensils and plates, and reusable containers where possible. (And we do actually collect the biodegradable things we use and bring them to the greenmarket to compost.) Too much waste is generated otherwise.
1. Team-building/company tours: Bring your small work group (8-12 people is ideal, but we can accommodate up to 20) out to Jackson Heights for a one-of-a-kind shared eating experience! You will bond over tasting new-to-you foods together in a number of eateries here. Get in touch for details.
2. Food tour for families/kids: This unique tour is best suited for kids age 5-10 (with a parent). We’ll hit up 4 or 5 eateries representing different countries and learn a little bit about each one as we “travel” through them. There’s a scavenger hunt and prizes (read: an incentive to try everything!). Parents eat plenty too.
3. School group tours: We can accommodate groups of up to 15-20 people, but twice we’ve successfully accommodated larger school groups via two back-to-back tours (one was 40 kids total; one was 28.) We’ve also led tours for a class of preschoolers and their parents! We will do our best to work with any size group. This tour and the neighborhood are ideal for students learning about immigrant communities, food culture, sociology, and more. It’s a great educational experience outside the classroom. We’ve led tours for universities, high schools, and middle school groups including NYU, Colombia University, Adelphi University, Duke University, the University of Mobile, Renaissance Charter School, Trinity School, and more!
See this write-up from Adelphi University about the food tour we led for freshman students.
Email [email protected] with any questions!
Gift certificates are available! Give the gift of an incredible food experience to someone you know. You can purchase these directly from our shop, and we’ll email it (or, if requested, print and mail) to you.
**PLEASE USE THIS GOOGLE FORM TO REQUEST A TOUR.** And if you don’t see what you are looking for here, please ask. We always try to accommodate special requests.
Can you accommodate dietary restrictions and preferences?
Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. We’ve worked with vegetarian, vegan, halal, gluten-free, and dairy-free guests, as well as celiac eaters, those with peanut allergies, and people who hate cilantro! We cannot guarantee against cross-contamination, of course, as none of the kitchens are necessarily gluten- or peanut-free, so please understand there is always a degree of risk assumed by the eater on a food tour. But we’ve never had an issue serving people with any allergy or restriction, so we are comfortable offering tours to everyone (we do ask for a liability waiver to be signed by all food tour guests at the start of the tour).
Who are the guides?
We currently have two: Laura, the owner of this business, still runs the majority of food tours. Our second guide is Sonya Gropman, a Jackson Heights local of 20+ years. She’s an artist, a licensed sightseeing guide, and the author of The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes and History of a Cuisine. She’s fantastic and has some Google reviews to prove it! (Sonya leads about 1-3 tours a month.)
Can children come on the regular tour?
Children of all ages are welcome on the regular food tour, but some of the food is at least a little spicy. We can request some milder spicing, but there will be some dishes they may not be able to enjoy. We do offer discounts for younger kids on this tour, understanding that they do not eat as much as an adult. For larger, mixed-age groups, we have successfully run “hybrid” food tours combining some elements of the family tour (like the activity packets for kids) with the stops on the regular tour. Strollers are recommended for young kids; we walk down some crowded streets. Check out this post recommending our regular food tour as kid-friendly for toddlers!
Can I do this tour more than once (and will it be different)?
We’ve had lots of repeat bookers on this tour, and while the second tour may not be drastically different from the first, we will do our best to incorporate a new spot or two as well as new/different dishes. We are also open to requests if, say, more Latin American food is desired on tour 2! Repeat bookers will receive a 20% discount on their ticket price when booking directly through us.
Is parking available near the tour start?
You may get lucky with street parking in Jackson Heights, or you may be driving around in circles for a half-hour. Please allow extra time for parking if you plan to drive. Alternatively, there is a paid lot close to the tour’s start, on 75th St. between 37th Ave. and Roosevelt Ave. Keep that in mind as your plan B!
I have luggage to stash. What are my options?
Occasionally we have held luggage for guests at our apartment near the tour’s starting point, but it’s not always possible. So we recommend a service called Stasher, which has stashing locations all over the world, including some in Western Queens and across Manhattan. Check out nearby luggage-stashpoints here.
What Covid-19 precautions are you taking?
Guides are vaccinated and boosted, and keep plenty of hand sanitizer on them during the tour.
Can we stop for an alcoholic beverage?
Alcohol is not usually a part of the tour (and it is not included in the tour price), but there is one restaurant we visit where wine ($7) and beer ($5-$8) is available to purchase. Guests are welcome to buy their own drinks on a separate bill. If you’re a private group and would like to incorporate an additional stop for cocktails/beer, we can do that too, but you will buy your own drinks and there will be an extra $5-per-person fee to account for the extra time. (We are also happy to point you to a bar for after the tour!)
Do tour guides accept tips?
Tips are 100% optional, of course, and they are much appreciated! If you enjoyed your food tour, please feel free to tip a little extra. We work hard to keep the tour price as low as we can while running a business, buying compostable materials, tipping well at each restaurant/vendor, and continuing to donate monthly to neighborhood causes. A lot of work goes into the planning and logistics of tours so we can accommodate big group sizes and dietary restrictions, and keep tours moving smoothly. It doesn’t end with the actual tour either: You will also receive a tour recap email detailing the stops made and foods eaten within a few days after the tour!
How much walking will we do on this tour?
For the weekend tour, we walk about 1-1.5 miles in total, while the weekday tour is less than a mile. Many of the food stops are in a compact area of Jackson Heights.
Are there bathrooms along the route?
Yes, there are at least three bathrooms available along the tour, sometimes more. We will always let you know where they are!
Who do you donate to, and how much?
As part of our Feed Your World initiative, about 5% of each month’s food tour profits is donated to a local food pantry (including Love Wins and the Lion’s Share) or other local cause, including nonprofit Queens Together, which supports our borough’s restaurant community while fighting food insecurity among residents, and Make the Road New York, a nonprofit org with local offices that works to protect the rights of immigrants and working-class families here and across NYC, including in the areas of: workplace justice, tenants’ rights, immigrant civil rights, language access, LGBTQ justice, public education, health care access, and immigration reform.
Here are some donation figures since resuming food tours in 2021:
June 2021: $100 to Love Wins Food Pantry
July 2021: $175 to Lion’s Share Food Pantry
August 2021: $136 to Make the Road NY
Sept. 2021: $90 to Love Wins Food Pantry
Oct. 2021: $145 to Lion’s Share Food Pantry
Nov. 2021: $100 to Urban Justice Center/Street Vendor Project
Dec. 2021, Jan. 2022 + Feb. 2022 combined: $220 to Lion’s Share Food Pantry
March 2022: $50 to Louie’s Pizza (post-stabbing) + $25 to Elmhurst’s community fridge
April 2022: $80 to GrowNYC
May 2022: $200 to Make the Road NY (toward new community center!)
June 2022: $100 to Trinity Place Shelter (for LGBTQ+ youth) + $28.75 to Napoli Pizza in Astoria (post-fire), plus a gift certificate donation to Trinity Place Shelter’s gala ($150 value)
July 2022: $90 to Lion’s Share Food Pantry
August 2022: $110 to Queens Together (toward Thanksgiving turkey giveaway; donated in Oct.)
Sept. 2022: $100 to Urban Justice Center/Street Vendor Project, plus a gift certificate donation to SVP’s gala ($150 value)
Oct. 2022: $150 to Make the Road NY
Nov. 2022: $200 to Love Wins Food Pantry
Dec. 2022: $200 to Lion’s Share Food Pantry
Jan. 2023: $150 to Queens Together (Restaurant Month); $100 to Make the Road NY
Feb. 2023: $90 to Astoria Halal Fridge
March 2023: $276 to Urban Justice Center/Street Vendor Project (Scavenger Hunt fundraiser!)
April 2023: $150 to Make the Road NY (toward new community center!)
May 2023: $150 to Make the Road NY (new community center) +
Stuff we have to say: By purchasing or participating in an itinerary or food tour from Eat Your World (EYW), you (i) understand and agree that EYW is not responsible for anything consumed (e.g., food or beverages) on your tour, or any accidents, injuries or other loss that may occur during your tour; (ii) waive any and all claims of liability against EYW and its owner-operators, for any reason; use of the itinerary and/or participation in an EYW tour is at your own risk; and (iii) grant EYW a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free fully paid license to use any photographs or other likeness of you taken while you participate in a EYW tour. We do provide a liability form for guests to sign before food tours.
See 60+ more reviews on Google.
Small group food tours
“Our family of four with 12 and 16 year olds truly enjoyed every minute of Laura’s hidden gem food tour of Jackson Heights. We sampled so many dishes that were all unique, flavorful, freshly prepared and presented lovingly by our attentive, friendly, and easygoing host, who also contextualized everything within the neighborhood’s history and the origin country’s culture. Couldn’t ask for a better way to get to know the food of an extraordinarily diverse and culturally rich neighborhood only 10 minutes away from where we’ve lived for nearly two decades. We’ll be going back for sure, and sending everyone we know on Laura’s [tour].”—Gordon from Astoria
“Laura was incredibly knowledgeable about both the history and food culture of the neighborhood. We had 4 children in the group and they all had a great experience. She absolutely went the extra mile to ensure we all ate well and learned a lot.”—Martha and family
“Laura is such an engaged, charming, knowledgeable guide. Her background as a travel writer really shows. And what a memorable culinary experience! I’d rank it a top three in my forty years in and around New York City.”—Dale from CT
“DO THIS TOUR. It was incredible! I truly felt like I was in a new world experiencing a new culture. Laura was a local expert and took such pride in her neighborhood. This was wonderful for locals and visitors alike!”—Rebecca from NC
“We had such a great time with Laura! She has so much knowledge about the history of the area and gave us such a special and personal tour. We tasted amazing things we’ve never eaten before, and we ate in places we never would have gone into ourselves. Truly a local experience full of hidden gems. She accommodated our gluten and dairy allergies perfectly, and we felt completely safe in her hands. Thank you so much!”—Grete from Oslo
“In a little over two hours, we felt like we had traveled with our guide, Laura, around the world. Jackson Heights is Laura’s neighborhood and happens to be one of the most diverse neighborhoods in NYC. Laura loves it all and is a student of its people, culture, and history. What a beautiful mosaic smorgasbord of food! From India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet, Colombia, Thailand—and some I may be missing. We ducked into small restaurants, eating dumplings, chaats, fresh-baked bread, Thai dessert, chatting with the cooks and owners, watching street musicians and local dancers, and soaking up all the festive neighborhood vibes. It was a fabulous time—and delicious. Laura is a great teacher and travel companion. One of the best food tours EVER. Highly recommended!!” —Joy from Cincinnati
“Laura is absolutely amazing. Not only is she just a great person, but she knows the neighborhood inside and out. The food selection was perfectly varied and she knew based on speaking with us exactly what we would appreciate the most. If you have the chance I would highly recommend spending time with Laura. Thank you.” —Holly from Delaware
“We had a wonderful experience with Laura. She knew the places, the people and the best things to eat. She was able to adjust the tour to accommodate dietary restrictions. She is knowledgeable about the neighborhood, has a lively manner and good sense of humor and adventure. We would highly recommend any tour she put together.” —Jude from Philadelphia
“We loved to experience this wonderful trip. Laura is an exceptionally good and fun guide, giving us an insight into other cultures that we would otherwise never have experienced. Laura, thanks, we went home to Iceland with wonderful memories.” —Sigríður from Iceland
“If you’re looking to see a side to NYC that’s off the grid, this is the perfect experience. Laura was a great host and knows all the top spots to try authentic diverse food. We went to areas in Queens that as a tourist, you would never know about. And the food was sensational!!!” —Jasmine from Australia
School group food tours
“Laura put my idea to ‘break bread and build bonds’ into action. She accommodated a class of first-year seminar college students, including food allergies and aversion to spicy food! I appreciated how Laura and Scott introduced students to the neighborhood through cuisines they might have never tried on their own. Laura attended to student’s curiosities about the food they were eating, while highlighting the immigration trends that make Jackson Heights a culturally diverse neighborhood. I look forward to working with Eat Your World again.” —Jacqueline Olvera, assistant professor of sociology at Adelphi University
“I loved everything about the food tour. I thought it was really cool tasting different types of meals that I never would imagine myself eating. It was great to experience different cultures in real life instead of a classroom setting.” —Adelphi U student (Sept. 2019)
“The food tour was a very exciting experience for me. I’m thankful to have tried so many delicious foods, especially from cuisines I’ve never eaten before. I definitely plan to eat a broader variety of foods on a regular basis now! I learned about Jackson Heights’ diversity. I had bonded lots with my classmates by the end too!” —Adelphi U student (Sept. 2019)
“This field trip was an amazing experience. I live only 20 minutes from the food tour and I’ve never seen any of it before. It felt like I was in a completely different country, from the stores to the people and the clothing they were wearing. It taught me about what these different cultures eat and that many of them use similar ingredients, like cilantro and many spices.” —Adelphi U student (Sept. 2019)
“Thank you for taking us to eat different kinds of food. We all appreciate how much you helped us. You inspired me to try new things. You opened our eyes and now I’m never afraid to try new things.” —Ethan, age 9 (Oct. 2015)
Team-building food tours
“The team had a great time, it was a hit!” —Brooke Lavery, The Local Foreigner (May 2019)
“Our work team thoroughly enjoyed the food tour led by Laura and Scott. In addition to wonderful food, we were provided interesting details of each country’s cuisine. We tried so many different things, I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite dish! Laura and Scott were also very flexible—they were more than happy to add a beer stop to our tour upon a last-minute request. We left feeling full and happy. I plan to recommend the tour to friends and other work groups.” —Ann Kane, charity: water (Oct. 2017)