Union Square Holiday Market Guide: What to Eat, Drink and Buy



Union Square Christmas Market | Photo by Jacob Williamson

Union Square Christmas Market | Photo by Jacob Williamson

Each year, the Union Square Holiday Market draws some 160 vendors and a glittering festive atmosphere to a bustling Manhattan thoroughfare, flanked by sidewalk chess hustlers and a year-round farmer’s market. Navigating the labyrinthine stalls can overwhelm even the most seasoned New Yorkers and energetic tourists, so we’ve beaten the pavement to identify the best places to stop for snacks, drinks and food giveaways.

The market is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until December 24. Most if not all of the food stalls are on the southwest side of the park, near Park Avenue South between 14th and 15th Streets.

Here, our picks for the 10 best things to eat, drink and buy at Union Square Holiday Market.

From Sunnyside, Queens comes this confectioner specializing in mochi-stuffed shortbread cookies. Located near Union Square East, the stand changes menu daily and sells ube, matcha and salted caramel stuffed cookies, as well as butter mochi, Basque mochi cheesecakes, hot coffee and Filipino hot chocolate.

If you’re craving a classic apple cider donut or need to warm up with a cup of hot apple cider, head to this south-facing stand. A Hudson Valley orchard outpost that grows about 50 varieties of apples, eight types of pears, as well as peaches, plums, and nectarines, Breezy Hill also occasionally sells fruit in Union Square. Green market. The Holiday Market stand offers donuts to eat in or take out, as well as oversized chocolate chip cookies and ginger cookies.

After losing his job at a restaurant at the start of the pandemic, Daniel Corpuz started selling handmade candy, which led to an appearance on Netflix’s first season. Chocolate School. Last year, fans lined up to buy her chocolates at another winter market in New York, where Corpuz sold out daily, often within 20 minutes of opening. The lines seem to have died down this year, but consider yourself warned.

Union Square Christmas Market
Union Square Christmas Market | Photo by Jacob Williamson

Located in a prime corner stall near the south side of the Holiday Market, this stall sells duck fries, duck and beef burgers and a selection of poutines, including one with duck bacon, cheese in fresh grains and duck sauce. It’s the perfect stop for something warm and hearty in the middle of a long day of holiday shopping.

Two brothers from Brooklyn run this restaurant business and a pop-up truck that sells Latin American street food. Follow the sounds of Daddy Yankee or Bad Bunny to their bustling market stall, where piping hot empanadas filled with beef, carnitas or cheese and spinach are served with an array of homemade hot sauces accompanied by homemade fries. yucca and hot cider.

Reusable tea towels are the signature of this Swedish design company, but the chic patterned plates, platters and other tableware from the holiday market make great gifts for anyone who likes to entertain. The shop offers bundle deals on several towels and textiles, so you can buy something for a stylish friend and yourself at the same time.

Rubies in the oven
Rubies in the oven | Photo by Jacob Williamson

If you’re shopping for someone who likes to cook or stock your own pantry, stop by this stall towards the south side of the park. Run by a mother-daughter duo from Long Island City, Queens, Mama Lam’s sells hot, medium, and mild Malaysian curry pastes, as well as hot sauces and chili oil. All jars and bottles are brightly packaged and available in traditional and vegan varieties.

Among the most popular food vendors in the market, this outpost of a popular Lower East Side storefront sells Korean-style corn dogs. Each slice of beef or mozzarella is coated in rice or potatoes, then fried until golden brown. There are even half-beef, half-cheese options for those with holiday shopping-induced decision fatigue.

Inspired by the tea culture she shared with her grandmother growing up on the Chinese coast, Lisa Li created this beautifully packaged whole flower herbal tea purveyor. Sourced from family farms across Asia, The Qi’s curated offerings include Shangri-La Rose, Chrysanthemum and Blue Lotus teas. Look for the cozy booth near the east side of Union Square.

Next to this retailer’s collection of fair trade scarves and handicrafts is a small cookie counter. It sells softball-sized cookies like Classic Rock, or salty chocolate chunks, The Casbah, made with fresh mint and dark chocolate, and Hoi An, a Vietnamese coffee-flavored cookie with sweetened milk. and dark chocolate.

Emily Saladino is a New York-based writer, editor, and recipe designer. Formerly digital editor of Passionate about wine and editor of VinePairhis writings have been published in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, BBC, and others. She is currently reviewing wines from Greece, Crete and Georgia for Passionate about wine. A former cook and professional bartender, she holds a Culinary Arts Diploma from the French Culinary Institute and a Level II certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

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