March 29, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A community-led group is hosting guided food crawls through Jackson Heights next month.
The restaurant crawls, which will see participants visit a diverse mix of local eateries to savor takeout food, will take place on April 9 and April 23. There will be two tours each day, with one beginning at 2 p.m. and another at 3 p.m. Each tour will last an hour.
The culinary dishes being offered include Indian, Burmese, Pakistani, Bengali and Colombian, with vegetarian options also available.
The crawls will be the latest offerings organized by Homecoming — an organization consisting of first-and second-generation immigrants passionate about food and bringing the Queens community together. The group was formed last year with the goal of supporting local restaurants and bringing more foot traffic into Queens neighborhoods.
Homecoming held its inaugural crawl in Elmhurst in June and then hosted a crawl in Jackson Heights in September.
Bryan Lozano, one of Homecoming’s founders, said that the group is looking forward to bringing the event back to Jackson Heights.
“We want to support the neighborhood the best way we can and the idea is to get people back into the neighborhood to sample the food – particularly after the pandemic.”
“We are really excited to support local businesses, it’s a great event and restaurant owners love it,” Lozano said.
The tours will follow the same route as last year’s Jackson Heights event, beginning at the Nepali restaurant Himalayan Yak with beef or vegetable momos on offer.
It will then be followed by a stop at the Burmese establishment Yun Café & Asian Mart for mohinga, which is a rice noodle and fish soup, or the tea leaf soup option.
The next destination will be Al Naimat Sweets and Restaurant for some assorted Pakistani sweets, followed by a stop at the Tong food truck to try the popular Bangladeshi street food fuchka.
The food crawl will then end at the Arepa Lady, where participants can try the beef and cheese arepa or cheese arepa.
The meeting spot for the tour is the public square area across the street from Diversity Plaza.
Lozano said that the guided component of the crawl is very important since it gives participants an understanding of where the food comes from and the culture surrounding it.
“We want to provide that context through history and the incredible diversity that is Jackson Heights,” Lozano said. “The tour is a combination of that immersive experience, food and storytelling.”
Each crawl will be capped at 15 participants. Tickets are priced at $80 per tour.
Organizers also plan on hosting guided food crawls more often this year and expand into different neighborhoods throughout the borough, Lozano said.
For instance, the group plans to host guided food crawls in Elmhurst in May and in Woodside in June.
“Our goal is to ignite food exploration into Queens neighborhoods,” Lozano said.
Tickets for the Jackson Heights guided food crawl can be purchased by clicking here.