May 12, 2016 By Michael Florio
Jackson Heights residents can explore the vegetarian eats from South Asia and South America that are available in their own backyard during a new food tour this weekend.
The first ever Vegetarian Delights of Jackson Heights food tour will be held on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will meet at Diversity Plaza.
Joe DiStefano, a Queens food expert who has been presenting food tours in the borough for the past five years, and Howard Walfish, creator of the website Lost Vegetarian, will host the event.
Attendees will sample dishes from a half dozen Jackson Heights establishments including the Arepa Lady, Dhaulagiri Kitchen, Bombay Chaat and Patel Brothers.
The tour will start at Bombay Chaat, located in Diversity Plaza. DiStefano will then lead the group to the other locations around Jackson Heights on the walking tour.
“The South Asian leg of the culinary trek begins with Bombay Chaat and moves on to include Tibetan momo dumplings, Nepalese rice donuts, Punjabi specialties and more,” the event page reads. “After shopping for ingredients at Patel Bros. [we will] depart for South America to sample Mexican and Colombian delicacies, including those offered by Arepa Lady.”
DiStefano said he decided to organize this event after Walfish contacted him with the idea.
“I am not a vegetarian, but I loved the idea of focusing on South Asia and South America,” DiStefano said. “There are a lot of vegetarians in the area and it seemed like a great idea.”
“Whether you are a vegetarian or not, Jackson Heights offers such a diversity of foods,” he added. “This is a great way to explore the food and culture.”
This is the first vegetarian tour in Jackson Heights he has hosted.
“If it goes well I would definitely host another,” he said.
DiStefano is looking to cap the event at eight people; half of the tickets are already sold. Tickets to attend cost $64.29 each and can be purchased here.
Having gone in some of these grocery stores near Diversity Plaza, all i can say is you’ll need to hold your breath. Anybody who’s been to Trade Fair knows what I’m talking about — the smell of garbage pervades the air in some parts of the grocery shops.