If we learned anything from our “State of The Union: What is a Foodie?” panel, it’s that the word is still a very polarizing descriptor—both a badge of honor and mark of shame, depending on whom you’re speaking to. A self-anointed foodie is just as much loathed by the public as the foodie who denies all association. That’s what originally prompted us to hit up culinary-world fixtures like Roy Choi and Andrew Zimmern to weigh in on whether to embrace the term or banish it altogether. The fact that no consensus was reached teaches us a valuable lesson: Everyone has an idea of what a foodie is, even if their definitions are all over the map.
As contemporary food culture continues to expand beyond Molto Mario and seep into pop culture currents, it has generated a whole new subset of “foodies”—like hypebeasts who’ll wait hours in line to try the newest Taco Bell breakfast item, or Brunch Queens who believe that getting plastered on mimosas is the highest form of Sunday entertainment. Being able to identify where people fall along the spectrum has become more relevant than ever.
To help you spot the different species that lurk these streets, we’ve equipped you with a handy field guide, complete with specs, rituals, lingo, and physical characteristics. Be careful—it’s a jungle out there.
There is no greater sense of satisfaction for the Outer-Borough Striver than being the only white, English-speaking person at an Asian restaurant. He firmly believes that the true sign of a good eating experience is a hand-written placard that reads “cash only.” He will visibly get angry when you call ethnic food “ethnic” (despite claiming that he “discovered” really authentic Burmese food located in a zip code that you’ve never heard of). Weekends are planned around day-long trips with friends that show what “the city is really like”—living in the LES is insufferable, after all. Rides for xiaolongbao harder than Chinese people do.
Apps on iPhone: Word Lens, Angry Birds
Listens to: Fela Kuti, Indonesian gamelan, Tito Puente, Mongolian throat-singers
Illicit thrill: Finding the most authentic regional Northern Chinese noodle house and not telling anyone about it
Worships at the altar of: Jonathan Gold, Robert Sietsema, Andrew Zimmern, immigrant Uber drivers
Eats at: New World Mall in Flushing, anywhere on Valley Boulevard in the San Gabriel Valley
Ostensibly a self-effacing “health nut” (that shame-eats Shake Shack), this downtown cool girl only drinks cocktails with muddled cucumbers and punny names like “Beets by Dre”—although she has never heard of the word appropriation. She can often be spotted at the farmers’ market with a New Yorker tote bag, Instagramming everything but buying nothing. Her ultimate dream? To quit her job in PR and “go work on a farm”—and when she says “farm,” she means Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and when she says “work,” she means “job in social media.” Learned about all of the best Brooklyn spots through GOOP. Aspires to be “bi-coastal.”
Apps on iPhone: Path, Bitmoji, PicStitch, Uber
Listens to: Haim, Blood Orange, Stevie Nicks (not Fleetwood Mac, just Stevie Nicks solo material), Banks
Reads: Cherry Bombe, The Cut, W, GOOP
Illicit thrill: Weed cookies, Molly Water
Worships at the altar of: Ruth Reichl, Man Repeller, The Bros Who Own Sweetgreen, The Olsen Twins
Eats at: Dimes, El Rey, Jack’s Wife Freda
Given that he hasn’t been in the same time zone for more than 24 hours in the past two months, this gastronomically inclined lord of the decks is always ready for a meal—anytime, anywhere (as long as it’s really, really late). While he can tell you a dope place to eat near any club scene from Arkansas to Auckland, he’s happiest when his tour schedule takes him through Tokyo, where he can be found Instagramming endless bowls of tonkotsu ramen. Sure, he’s got enough pill-popping anecdotes to last the whole flight to Reykjavík, but those days are behind him—”omakase is the new molly,” he’ll tell you over Line, and he’s developed a taste for Yamazaki 12 now. Want to hang? Swing by the new Korean-style izakaya concept in downtown Vegas that he just invested in—anytime after 4am is cool.
Apps on iPhone: DJ Player, Shazaam
Listens to: “Anything open format”
Reads: Mix, Djmag, ramen blogs
Illicit thrill: Chick-fil-A at the airport
Worships at the altar of: Anthony Bourdain, Jiro, the superheroes of “Ramen Alley”
Eats at: Ramen Lab, Lawson
Crusty skater punks may not have full-time jobs, but they’ve found a career in searching for powerful pizza memes—like this one. This chilled-out bro has always wanted a ‘za tattoo, but mom won’t let him. Forget porn: A bonafide pizzaboi jerks off to a poster of Katy Perry wearing a pepperoni-covered jumpsuit. He truly believes there is a Pizza Illuminati led by the Fat Jewish, and he’s desperate to join. Can regale you with “epic tales” of every scar on his body and dollar slice in his past.
Apps on iPhone: Domino’s, Papa John’s, Fish Eye Lens
Listens to: Burger Records, Ty Segall
Reads: Slice Magazine, Quarter Snacks, Thrasher
Illicit Thrill: Landing an ollie—with a pizza slice in both hands
Worships at the altar of: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jason Dill, Fuck Jerry, Slice Harvester
Eats at: 2 Bros., Max Fish
Jet-setter Finance Guy
Big Reds, big appetites, and big thrills—the ultimate trifecta of luxury. This globe-trotting money man wears RL jeans to a “hip” restaurant because his guy at the Polo Mansion told him they’re “authentic.” He’ll make sure to let the hostess know he’s paying for his Tock “dynamic deposit ticket” with a Visa black card. If he wants a casual night out, he’ll grab his Marquis Jet hat for a simple order of lobster mac-and-cheese. Always orders his meals by do-ing things (“We’ll do a porterhouse for two, and we’ll do some truffle fries”). A good restaurant, he’ll assure you, “feels alive” with hospitality. He loves nothing more than to banter with the sommelier or waiter—since, as a minority investor of another restaurant, he can “connect to the people.” Still Ubers to Roberta’s. Loves taking kitchen selfies with Michelin-starred chefs.
Apps on iPhone: Dow Jones Industrial, Bloomberg Business
Listens to: Whatever Pete Tong tells them is cool (plus Hayden to deal with stress)
Reads: Monocole, Robb Report, the “Pink Pages”
Illicit thrill: Credit-card roulette after a meal at Carbone
Worships at the altar of: Jeffrey Chodorow, Ron Berkle, Steve Wynn, Drew Nieporent
Eats at: Nello, Arlington Club, Polo Bar (if they can get in), Hakkasan, Cipriani
The hipster doesn’t want to make a big deal out of the invite-only soft opening he attended the other day, but will tell you anyway. He’s friends with people who own Roberta’s, Bowery Presents, or Union Pool, but won’t readily admit it. He travels by fixed-gear bike gang (matching tats, duh), and constantly talks about “moving to Philly.” Just to be clear: He was at Rockaway Taco before you. Claims to read and understand Le Fooding. Has made multiple appearances as “Third Person From The Left Eating A Satay on Chef’s Night Out.” Thinks Ridgewood is the hot new dining neighborhood, but doesn’t want to admit it, so he publicly tells people he’s really into Middle Village these days. Only drinks “Bud Heavy” but is currently experimenting with herbs de Provence bitters and his own Fernet, which he bone luges. Deep dark secret: Duke alumnus.
Apps on iPhone: Simply Organic, Seasons
Listens to: Father John Misty, Tennis, Arcade Fire, Serial (before you did)
Reads: Modern Farmer, Diner Journal
Illicit thrill: Seeing estranged father, but only when he’s picking up the tab (at Del Posto); waiting in line to buy a Cronut (hoping none of his friends will see)
Worships at the altar of: Andrew Tarlow, Ignacio Mattos, “My friend Danny [Bowien]”
Eats at: Bun-Ker (“It’s a nice ride”)
Everything he learned about food is through Action Bronson’s Fuck, That’s Delicious. He has acquired multiple sets of Supreme espresso cups that sit on top of a $100 dollar design book with a spine that’s never been cracked. Like any good hypebeast, he always wakes up extra early so he can be first in line to snag the newest limited-edition Shake Shack burger special (and, of course, has his girlfriend save him a spot in the Supreme line, too). He still thinks Jacques Pepin is one of the two robots from Daft Punk. Prefers food that has a logo on it (e.g., Umami Burger) and considered traveling to Japan just to eat at the new Taco Bell. Breaks out the deadstock The Hundreds x Tapatio collabo when he invites his girl over for taco night.
Apps on iPhone: VSCO cam, Instagram, Doodle Jump, Supreme, SNKR
Listens to: Kanye, Odd Future, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky
Reads: Complex, Hypebeast
Illicit thrill: Sneaking past the line at Kinfolk, Duane Reade sushi
Worships at the altar of: Jeff Staple, Eddie Huang, Nigo
Eats at: Cafe Habana (elote), Shake Shack, Sweet Chick, McDonald’s when the McRib is on
Clad in ill-fitting jeans and a t-shirt from a brewpub you’ve never heard of, the beer nerd’s idea of personal hell is a bar that only has Bud Light and Goose Island IPA on tap (sell outs!). That new brewery you really love? He’ll have you know it contract-brews out in Wilkes-Barre and is totally overrated. Oh, and that black IPA you tried last week? The beer nerd prefers to call it a “Cascadian Dark Ale,” thankyouverymuch, and he’ll be sure to remind you that he couldn’t hang out that night because he was tasting oak-aged, spontaneously fermented sours at a nanobrewery in the Deschutes Forest. This weekend, he’s looking forward to pulling his Sriracha-infused stout out of the fermenter (a.k.a., a bucket in his closet), then hitting up a bottle swap with a dude who just scored a haul of Heady Topper. His breath smells like a dime bag (did you know that hops and cannabis are part of the same family?), but don’t you dare suggest he has a drinking problem—would a real alcoholic drink vintage gueuze on the regular?
Apps on iPhone: Untappd, Tap Hunter, BJCP Styles
Listens to: GWAR, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, live Pig Destroyer recordings from Dark Lord Day
Reads: Beer Advocate, Yankee Brew News, Ale Street News
Illicit thrill: Paying homeless people to wait in line for extra bottles of Cigar City Hunahpu
Worships at the altar of: Sean Hill, Vinnie Cilurzo, Michael Jackson (the writer, not the pop star), “my friend Sam (Calagione)”
Eats at: The nearest gastropub with 20+ taps and meat served on wooden boards
The Brunch Betch can be spotted in the wild (a.k.a. Nolita) pounding on her iPhone and complaining about the calories in the Eggs Benny (all while sucking a quart of orange concentrate-flavored vodka through a straw). She went to State School (or had a State School Experience at an Ivy), and she will only order the french toast after a successful week of “skinny days” where she eats Liquiteria açaí bowls that she doesn’t realize are extremely high in fat. At least half of everything in her clutch is bedazzled in Swarovski, which is why you’ll never see her in the East Village (she still thinks Alphabet City is “totally sketchy” in 2015). Watches Broad City (doesn’t get the jokes). Last seen stumbling out of Pranna with her flats in her hand at 2:43 pm, yelling “Yassssss, bitch! Yassssss!”
Bag (daddy-bought): Celine
Bag (boyfriend-bought): Birkin
Bag (self-bought): Lily Pulitzer/Vera Bradley Weekender
Apps on iPhone: Tinder, JDate, MyFitnessPal
Listens to: Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, Zedd
Reads: Elite Daily, Buzzfeed, Cosmo, really whatever’s in her Facebook feed
Illicit thrill: Lying about SoulCycle, trying “dim sum” while shopping for knock-off bags on Canal
Worships at the altar of: Ryan Gosling, Lauren Conrad
Eats at: (Uptown) Sarabeth’s, (Downtown) The Dutch, (Brooklyn) Five Leaves
As a newly-reformed foodie who has recently graduated from Bud Light and Natty Ice, this bro will confidently refer to Stella Artois as “craft beer.” He jokes with his boys about aspiring to one day eat like Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi but is secretly manorexic. Was especially pissed off when his two other roommates also dressed like Guy Fieri last Halloween. His desk at work constantly looks like he just did a week’s worth of shopping at Trader Joe’s, but those are just his “pre-gym snacks.” He honestly never realized how dope Brooklyn was until he ate a ramen burger at Smorgasburg. Since he tore his ACL and can’t play football anymore, he spends his weekends building smokers out of garbage cans on his Murray Hill rooftop.
Apps on iPhone: Immaculate Infatuation, Tindr
Listens to: Macklemore, Tiesto, Diplo, Avicii, G-Eazy
Reads: Foodbeast, ESPN, Total Frat Move, BroBible
Illicit thrill: Inhaling bags of ShackBurgers on cheat day
Worships at the altar of: Adam Richman, Guy Fieri, Epic Meal Time, Dan Bilzerian
Eats at: Hill Country BBQ, Dallas BBQ, Bro Jo’s, other “real” barbecue spots