As a fellow food tour owner (Taste of Troy Food Tours)and a former resident of Queens, I was excited to discuss Queens Food Tours with Richard Mumith, as part of my discovery of my partners in food tourism. I have travelled pretty extensively around the world and one of the things I loved most about Queens, was that each neighborhood made me feel like I was overseas again. Now that I live in Upstate New York, I tend to visit Manhattan more than Queens when I travel Downstate. After interviewing Richard, I realize that I am overdue for a trip to Queens.
My next trip to NYC will undoubtedly include a visit to Queens and I wanted to share my interview with Richard Mumith to encourage others to venture out of Manhattan and explore other boroughs/neighborhoods when visiting the beautiful NYC.
Tell us about yourself and your food tour
My name is Richard Mumith. I am the “Chief Eating Officer” of Queens Food Tours. We are a food tour company in New York City that focuses exclusively in the largest, most diverse and most underrated borough—Queens. Yes folks, contrary to popular perception, there is more to NYC than just the “city”.
Now, I use the word underrated because in a major tourist destination like New York, we all know its Manhattan that gets most (if not all) of the limelight. And we get it. It’s a beautiful and breathtaking city unlike anywhere else in this world. As a matter of fact, it might sound crazy, but we actually encourage first time visitors to stay in Manhattan and do all the touristy stuff like the Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, Times Square, etc… Once they’ve seen all that, we ask that they come check us out for an entirely different experience that showcases a more authentic, and far tastier, side of New York. We may not have the skyscrapers, but when it comes to the food scene, Queens is the king of the boroughs. And we actually built a business to prove it.
When did you start your business?
We started in 2014 as a side hobby, but due to the growing interest in Queens (it was named the #1 destination in America in 2015 by Lonely Planet) and positive feedback of our tours (we are the #1 rated tour company in all of Queens), we have gone full time starting the summer of 2016. Currently, we offer our flagship Long Island City Food Tour, which covers the Western point section of Queens, otherwise known as the “gateway to Queens”. We started with this neighborhood because of its rich industrial past, its artistic presence, and vibrant culinary scene.
Tell us about your city and what made you start a food tour there
I’m from Queens, which is a borough of New York City. Now for many folks, the term “New York City” itself means Manhattan and Manhattan alone—everything else is considered the “outer boroughs”. I’ve actually met some people who are convinced that NYC is the area only within Times Square. In reality, there is no such thing as the outer boroughs. NYC by its definition consists of 5 boroughs–Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx—which were all consolidated in 1898 to form a single city. Queens happens to be the largest and most culturally diverse of the 5 boroughs. There are over 200 nationalities represented and over 150 different languages spoken. Can you imagine how awesome & authentic the food scene is?
The beauty of Queens is that each neighborhood has its own defined cultural and ethnic identity. That’s something you’ll immediately note just by its cuisines. For example, Astoria is home to some of the best Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines you’ll find in New York City. In Jackson Heights you’ll find amazing Bengali, Indian, Nepali, Tibetan, and Latin food. Up for some Uzbek and Georgian food? Come to Forest Hills. Flushing is a larger, and far more diverse Chinatown than the actual Chinatown in Manhattan. There you’ll find endless varieties of dumplings, dim sums, and Chinese cuisines that varies by region whether its Cantonese, Szechuan, or Hunan. You’ll also find Vietnamese, Korean, Taiwanese and every other Asian delicacy you can think of—even exotic ones like jellyfish, pork intestines, bone marrow soup etc… In short, Queens is as quintessential NYC as it gets—a melting pot of various ethnicities, culture, and traditions. It’s not too hard to imagine why we started a food tour in Queens.
What makes your food tour different and unique?
I think the most unique aspect of our tours is that we showcase a very different side of New York City, one that most folks are not too familiar with (or even know exists). And that’s all the reason to take our Queens Food Tours because you’ll discover culinary gems and interesting tid-bits that you would NEVER find on your own or in guide books. Queens might not have the glamour and skyscrapers of Manhattan, but our culture, authenticity, and food scene is unmatched. We welcome all visitors to see and taste the difference.
What type of food do we get to try?
We try a wide variety of dishes that are as diverse as the borough itself, yet reflective of the neighborhoods own unique history and charm. We’ll taste a burger with a recipe that goes back 100 years, an authentic French patisserie, a rustic Italian eatery from the heart of Naples, and many more! The historic, cultural and culinary attractions of LIC each have their own story and unique flavor that excites the senses.
Thank you Richard!
For more information on Richard’s tours, check out www.queensfoodtours.com Next time you are visiting New York City, be sure to book a tour with Queens Food Tours. Tell them their neighbor in the Upstate New York, Taste of Troy Food Tours sent ya!