If there's one thing any New Yorker knows, it's that our food scene is perhaps the most diverse, decadent, and dummy delicious in the country. From home-perfected favorites, like the bagel and the pizza slice, to NY transplants, like poke and pierogies, New York City has it all. And while our cynicism and apathy are just as famous our baseball teams, us New Yorkers take two things very seriously: food and slang. So, whether you're a tourist attempting to blend in, a college student ready to leave their footprint on the city, or a bridge-and-tunnel foodie, this article is for you. This is a guide to NYC food slang that will make you sound like a local. 

1. Slice

Beatrice Forman

The slice refers to a singular slice of New York style pizza: wide, doughy, and dripping with grease. Synonymous with the lunchtime rush, the slice originated at Lombardi's Pizza in Little Italy, where locals who couldn't afford a whole pie paid what they could for a slice a cheesy chewy goodness. This tradition still holds true, with several establishments dishing out "dollar slices," which literally pack a bang for your buck. 

But, whether you're ordering a plain slice for one dollar or a margherita one for three fifty, make sure to top it with crushed red pepper and to always, and I mean always, fold it in half. 

#SpoonTip: Looking for the best slices on the West Side? Hit up Gotham Pizza for an excellent lunch special or Joe's for the best crust in town.

2. Hero

Beatrice Forman

The Midwest calls it a sub. Philly calls it a hoagie. Connecticut calls it a grinder. But New York? We call it a hero. Created for back-breaking laborers who worked factory lines, the Hero is just as much a part of New York culture as it as Italian. Made hot or cold with layers of cured meats, sharp cheeses, and no shortage of condiments, this sandwich served on a baguette makes all other sandwiches seem wimpy. 

#SpoonTip: For a taste of old school Italian flare and mozzarella that "flows like a waterfall", hit up Defonte's of Brooklyn. 

3. Bagel with Schmear

Beatrice Forman

Sorry California, your avocado toast is nice and all, but the real breakfast of champions is a bagel with a schmear. Schmear, a word borrowed from Yiddish, refers to anything spreadable — especially cream cheese. But, a bagel with a schmear is more than just a store-bought bagel with a dollop of flavorless cream cheese. It's an experience. 

For an authentic bagel experience, skip the line at Dunkin' Donuts and opt for your local bagelry. Not only will they will they know what a schmear constitutes (a solid layer of seasoned cream cheese, a couple of capers or chives, duh), they'll serve you the crown jewel of carbs. A New York bagel is boiled, never steamed, the perfect mix of tough and chewy, and should definitely not be rainbow colored. 

#SpoonTip: These establishments have been schmearing for decades. Try Russ & Daughters and Barney Greengrass to get your bagel fix, and maybe some lox if you're feeling fancy.

4. Softee

Synonymous with summer, opening up the fire hydrant, and a turf war more heated than the Sharks vs. the Jets, a Softee refers to a soft serve cone swirled from Mister Softee. Mister Softee, a franchise of trucks whose jingle can be heard about eight months out of the year, is the official purveyor of NYC's most consistent, nostalgic, and whimsical soft serve. 

#SpoonTip: To maximize your Softee experience (and secure that Instagram clout), order a vanilla Softee topped with their iconic chocolate or cherry magic shell, and a hefty amount of rainbow sprinkles.

5. Bodega

In Spanish, bodega translates to "storeroom or wine celar." In Taylor Swift lexicon, it translates to "your friend." In New York, it's a 24 hour cornerstore rich with eclectic culture and findings. It's the spot where you buy a lottery ticket, your morning BEC, and late night snacks ranging from Takis to plantain chips. 

A block's bodega is a community's epicenter. Closely associated with first generation Puerto Rican entrepreneurship, bodegas have seen the evolution of neighborhoods. They remain constant as gentrification sweeps over blocks, seeing demographics change from working class families to avocado toast loving millennial. In other words, your local bodega is kind of like a free history lesson.

6. Halal

Food trucks and street carts are the fabric of NYC's gastronomic scene, none more so than Halal. Halal refers to the bright red carts that populate Midtown, each serving up mouthwatering combinations of rice, beans, halal meat, greens, and am mix of condiments. Much like snowflakes, while each halal cart may look similar, no two are exactly the same. Liberal menu listings such as "chicken and rice" allow owners infinite room for experimentation. 

Take their iconic red sauce and white sauces. Riffs on Egyptian harissa and Greek tzatziki respectively, the sauces' spice levels and flavors fluctuate depending on the owner's heritage and tastebuds. Either way, each pita or bowl of halal is truly a one-of-a-kind street food experience. 

#SpoonTip: For the authentic Halal experience, stroll down Sixth Ave in midtown for cart after cart of chicken and rice. If brick-and-mortar locations are more your thing, check out The Halal Guys.

7. Ice

We're moving off the island of Manhattan for this one. Italian ices are the official summer treat in Brooklyn and Queens, thanks in part to their vibrant Italian communities. Italian ices is a slightly more American take on granita; both are made with natural fruit or fruit flavorings and lack dairy. While you may be familiar with franchises like Uncle Louie G's and Ralph's (both of which started in NYC), New Yorkers mean something entirely different when ordering an ice. 

A New York ice refers to a classic lemon Italian ice served at an old school, Italian mom-and-pop joint. It should be light, sweet, and refreshing enough to make you ask for a second scoop. 

#SpoonTip: For the best ice that doesn't come for your supermarket's freezer aisle, try Lemon Ice King of Corona or Court Pastry Shop.

8. Patties

When the rest of America hears "beefy patty," memories of hamburgers and barbecues appear. When New Yorkers hear those same words, they think of Jamaican beef patties, a savory turnover consisting of a flaky pastry spiced with turmeric and filled with spicy ground beef. Served in pizza shops throughout the Bronx and Queens, patties are proliferating. NYC schools served more than 3 million patty hot lunches in 2016. 

Those in the know sandwich their patties in between coco bread for a sweet balance to  the spicy patty. 

#SpoonTip: If you live in the boroughs, chances are a nearby pizza shop has your patty cravings covered. If not, franchises like Golden Krust sell frozen versions in your supermarket's freezer aisle.

9. Dog

No, I'm not talking about man's best friend. Dog is slang for a New York style hot dog, typically Kosher and topped with brown mustard and sauerkraut. This dog traces its roots back to 1851 when butcher Charles Feltman opened a hot dog stand on none other than Coney Island. These all beef sausages have been associated with New York ever since, thanks to a New York Journal writer popularizing the term in 1901.  

#SpoonTip: Sometimes a Yankee stadium dog just won't do, especially if it's off season. For a dog that's always up to snuff, head to Nathan's of Coney Island

There you have it folks. Use this New York City food slang, walk fast, and stand clear of the closing doors and you'll be a New Yorker through and through in no time.