After the corks have popped and the ball has dropped, you could spend the first day of the new year on the couch in the dark with a bloody mary in one hand a bottle of aspirin in the other. Or you could recover on one of our New Year’s Day food tour scavenger hunts: New York’s Munch Around Chinatown or San Francisco’s Munch Around Chinatown & North Beach. (And for that really long-lasting hangover, in L.A. we have the Munch Around Downtown Scavenger Hunt on January 3.)
Beyond scouring iconic neighborhoods to answer fun questions, you’ll sip and nibble—or wolf down—some of the most effective hangover cures around. From Chinese rice pudding to liqueur-filled chocolates, here’s a sneak preview of the hunt treats that might be just what you need after New Year’s Eve.
Italians often insist they don’t suffer from hangovers; drinking is integral enough to their culture that bingeing is relatively rare. Still, they hale good, strong espresso as perhaps the ultimate day-after picker-upper. On the San Francisco hunt, stop by Caffe Trieste—where Francis Ford Coppola wrote parts of The Godfather—for some of the finest espresso around. The New York hunt, meanwhile, spends enough time in Little Italy for you to swig all the espresso you can handle—perhaps from Caffe Palermo, which also claims to serve “the best cannoli on Planet Earth.”
This rich, creamy rice pudding earns high praise in China for its restorative properties after a night of drinking. As luck would have it, our New York munch hunt features Congee, a restaurant specializing in that very dish. Toppings run the gamut—we often suggest duck or meatballs—but on New Year’s day, you might want to opt for egg (another superb hangover-fighter). (Image via K. B. R.)
Tea (Green or Otherwise)
Cultures from all over the world prize hot tea for combatting the curse of overindulgence—China and Japan particularly lean toward green tea. In New York, you’ll find plenty at the likes of the vibrant Vivi Bubble Tea or Nom Wah, the oldest tea parlor in the city. L.A. has you covered with the tea (and other herbal remedies) at Wing Hop Fung Ginseng. Or if you want to mix it up, our San Francisco hunt swings by Gelateria Naia, where you might score some Earl Grey…gelato! (Image via Kanko)
Soup is huge for hangovers. South Koreans, for example, favor haejangguk, a soup thick with ox blood (yikes). For the less adventurous but no less discerning palate, Joe’s Shanghai on our New York food tour serves utterly superlative soup dumplings, little dough pouches filled with broth and meat. You get your salt, your protein, and your carbs—all in a package cute enough to eat. Or try the hot pork-chop soup at Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles; the chefs put on quite a show.
Carbs, Carbs, Carbs
Fried or baked, cheesy or meaty, carbs often take the cake when it comes to soaking up a hangover. In New York, chow down on mozzarella-filled rice balls at Alleva Dairy or banh mi (a Vietnamese po’boy) at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery—not to mention pasta galore in Little Italy. In L.A., sample My Dung Sandwich Shop’s banh mi or the nearly century-old Philippe the Original’s “French dipped sandwiches.” And of course on the hunts you’ll encounter baked goods of every kind, such as Stella Pastry & Cafe’s ovali and Ferrara Bakery’s cannoli.
Hair of the Dog (Sort of)
If none of that food fits your style, just double down—it’s a holiday, after all! Our munch hunts aren’t boozy affairs, but in San Francisco you can eat all the alcohol you want. XOX Truffles specializes in handmade French chocolates, many of them dripping with irresistible liqueurs. We recommend the honey vodka or the spicy cayenne tequila. In L.A., try Mr. Churro’s Tejuino, a lightly fermented corn drink served with lime juice and salt. Feliz año neuvo indeed! (Image via XOX Truffles)