Friday, September 11, 2009

Exotic and Vibrant on Staten Island

An excerpt of an interesting article from the New York Times about the influx of affordable, exotic foods in Staten Island, long the bastion of Italian restaurants and Irish pubs.

STATEN ISLAND had the highest percentage of Italian-Americans of any United States county in the 2000 census (37.7 percent). It’s home to scores of old-time red sauce joints, trendy trattorias and legendary pizza parlors, many justifiably beloved.

But amid the pasta and pies, there’s a growing variety of dining choices, not surprising given that it’s the city’s most rapidly diversifying borough, according to the city’s Human Rights Commission. Staten Island’s Mexican population grew more than fourfold between the 1990 and 2000 censuses and helped transform the once-rundown Port Richmond Avenue on the North Shore into a vibrant dining strip.

There is a slightly greater percentage of Asians on Staten Island than in the city as a whole and it has more than a third of New York’s Sri Lankan population, which has created a fascinating eating and food-shopping district in Tompkinsville.

The borough’s diners are starting to embrace the expanded options, said Pam Silvestri, food editor of The Staten Island Advance. “In the last two or three years, we see a lot of people crossing over to other parts of Staten Island they wouldn’t have gone to, and trying different types of food,” Ms. Silvestri said.

Read the rest here:

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