Let’s Eat Together: 8 Stories Celebrating Food + Our Nation of Immigrants

Long Island owes so much of its culinary landscape to the hands, minds, and bodies of immigrants. Today—and every day—we celebrate their contributions.

Prep work at Dominican Restaurant #4 • Photo by Yvonne Albinowski

Nothing brings people together quite like a good meal. Even disastrous meals, if we’re being honest, we tend to look back on fondly: spending hours searching for a turkey in Rome for Thanksgiving, or the time we melted the spatula into the cake batter. Hey, no judgement now, pretty sure you’re remembering one of your less successful meals right now too.

Joking aside, these are uncertain times we’re living in and it may just be more important than ever to embrace the power of food to bring people together. We’re a nation of immigrants, whether you rejoice that or try to deny it, it’s fact. Can you imagine what our foodscape would look like if we had closed the door on immigration so many years ago?  On Feb. 21, 2017, a group of food content creators will share how food traditions are born, adopted and endeared in this country on social media through the hashtag #ImmigrationIsTasty. In anticipation, we looked through archives to share some of the stories that celebrate the richness and diversity of the cuisines and cultures that make up our little piece of America.

The Ellas: Taste of Africa in Deer Park

The Ella’s, Taste of Africa owner Isaac Asare and his wife Gloria always have a smile for patrons. Photo: Doug Young.

Konkotey. Banku. Tuo Zafy. Egushi. Yoke Gari. The words sound like a rhythmic chant from a distant land and, indeed, they come from a faraway place. But they are not incantations, they are delicious dishes from Africa, and there is only one restaurant on Long Island where you can get them. Read the Story.

Dominican Restaurant #4: Number 4 in Name, Number 1 in Taste

Photo by Yvonne Albinowski

Sometimes friendly service and a big plate of fresh rice and beans is what your world needs. Dominican Restaurant #4 always delivers. Read the Story.

Rincón Criollo: A Cuban Success Despite All Odds

Dishes Include Rabo Encendido-Oxtail Stew, Morosy Cristianos-Rice and Beans cooked together with bacon, and Platanos Maduros Frito-Fried Sweet Plantains. Photo by Joseph Popovich

One doesn’t have to travel far to get authentic Cuban food. Rincón Criollo, a family-run business with locations in Corona (Queens) and Huntington Station, serves up fantastic Cuban cuisine, along with a most remarkable success story. Read the Story.

A New Lunar Year, a New Untradition

Photo by Su-Jit Lin-DeSimone

Holidays have never exactly been what one would call traditional in my family.

Perhaps it’s for that reason that I’m obsessed with authenticity and origin. There’s a certain amount of cultural disconnect that comes with being a first-generation Asian American growing up in middle Long Island. A rootlessness as your parents decide what traditions to divorce themselves from, or let slip away for the sake of assimilation and convenience. An even greater dissipation with age as family members move away and create or resurrect traditions of their own.Read the Story.

The 5 Best Middle Eastern Restaurants on Long Island

here's to new experiences 🍢

A post shared by Hunter Hess (@hunterghess) on

Like the country it belongs to, Long Island is far from perfect. There’s a lot we could always improve. But what makes Long Island what it is—and makes the job of sharing the stories of how our region eats and drinks so exhilarating—is the cultural diversity of the people who call it home. Read the Story.

It’s All About Balance

A Carle Place Sushi bar becomes one with the neighborhood while keeping true to its roots. Photo by Joey Popovich.

He was a 25-year-old Japanese Olympic wrestling hopeful sponsored by the New York Athletic Club. She was a typist for the Toyota Company who was offered a trip to New York to write a report on baby nurseries for a mothering magazine back home. Read the Story.

Home Is Where the Bread Is

Bozena’s Polish Restaurant. Photo by Lindsay Morris.

Immigrants bring their foods and flavors with them wherever they go. Even as the next generation assimilates, when the kids and the grandkids want to celebrate, mourn or find comfort, they look to their grandmother’s cooking. Read the Story.

Long Island Latino Vintners Association

Serferino Cotzojay of Long Island Latino Vintners Association. Photo by Estefany Molina.

Many of the Latinos employed at Long Island wineries come from countries where social, political and economic conditions are dire. These jobs represent a vast improvement over living conditions at home. But if the Long Island Latino Vintners Association has its way, winery work for Latinos will become not just a job but a vocation. Read the Story.

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Bridget is the digital strategy editor for Edible Manhattan, Edible Brooklyn, Edible Long Island and Edible East End.