Now Reading
Meet The Garbage Plate, The Historic New York Food Trend

Meet The Garbage Plate, The Historic New York Food Trend

The Garbage Plate is a historic New York food trend

There are times when you’re in the mood to eat a beautifully presented plate of food, carefully assembled by an artisan with years dedicated to their craft, and then there are times you want to eat something called a Garbage Plate.

Don’t let the off-putting name fool you: the Garbage Plate is a historic New York institution, as connected to the Big Apple as yellow taxi cabs and wild, experimental bagels.

It’s also extremely, extremely delicious.


Not all Garbage Plates are equal under the sun, but they all follow a general formula. A multi-layered dish, the bottom level is comprised of one or two sides of your choice. Most people get mac and cheese, and “home fries”, which are shorter, squatter chips; a little like wedges of roast potatoes.

The garbage plate is a New York speciality
Image: Wikimedia Commons

The next layer is when your meats come in; that’s when people load in everything from hot dogs, to burger patties, to fried fish, to vegetarian burgers for the non-meat eaters.

Then – and this is arguably the most important part – the snack pack is drizzled with a rich, onion-heavy sauce that turns the whole thing into a delicious, carb-heavy, sludge-y mess.

Oh, and on the side you’ll also get a big old pile of bread and butter, just to top the meal off.

Sure, the Garbage plate might not sound complex – you can think of them a little like an extreme version of a Halal Snack Pack, if you like. But still, there’s something about the sloppy simplicity of the dish that makes it absolutely life-changing.

See Also
Pilbara Broome West Australia WA

You also probably won’t be surprised to discover that the delicacy was popularised by university students, who’d rock up to the home of the Garbage Plate, Nick Tahou Tots, and ask for a plate “with all that garbage on it.”

Needless to say, the Garbage Plate is a lot; New York natives recommend that you starve yourself for a whole day before tackling one. To be honest, we’re feeling full just looking at these photos. Full, but also seconds away from booking a flight to New York and chowing down.

[qantas_widget code=JFK]Check out Qantas flights to begin your adventure in New York City.[/qantas_widget]

(Lead image: Wikimedia Commons)

Scroll To Top