Al Roker Uncovers The Origins of Bagels and Lox in New York City

In his new TODAY All Day series “Family Style,” Al Roker explores New York City to learn about the origins of bagels and lox. Al visits Russ & Daughters where he learns how to slice smoked salmon, then he tours one of the largest fish smokehouses in the U.S. For a taste of the future, he also learns how to make vegan “lox” from cured carrots.

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Comment (86)

  1. Wrong…..that Canadian connection with smoked salmon is such a misnomer…..smoked fish & smoked salmon is definitely also a Baltic + Scandinavian + German thing just like bagels so both most def came from the Jews and the old world……not Canada????? I hate how these pop-historian hipsters just make up narratives thinking “who will know the difference or check my facts…as long as it sounds good” that dude was just making up sound bite connections as he talked…..I guarantee you that the smoked fish on a bagel thing had absolutely nothing to do with Canada….

  2. Love that they are focusing on the origins of a bagel as a food brought to the US and made by by Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Many other YouTube videos on bagels completely erase this important history!

  3. I just literally had a bagel and cream cheese and tomato onion and lox! yes I love a good bagel!!! Im in New York Daily for work and I live in New Jersey but nothing beats a good bagel! I pray to God the resolve the cream cheese shortage or else New yorkers will revolt

  4. I knew a Federman when he was a medical student, now a physician. only jewish boy whose family was disappointed he went to med school instead of staying in the family business…

  5. I’ll never forget the shock when I went to Russ & Daughters for a lox bagel and asked for a little roe on it. The cashier turned the iPad around and the total was $45! Russ & Daughters leaves an impression one way or another 😂

  6. This was an awesome video … but the only thing I can think of after watching the whole thing is that a really high percentage of Acme Smoked Fish Company employees are probably married to other Acme Smoked Fish Company employees. Fish and smoke can’t be easy to fall asleep next to.

  7. I can't prouve it but I heard many times say that the Montreal's bagels, where I live, are the best in the world, including those from NYC, where I lived too but I didn't taste those mentioned. What I can say is that the Montreal's bagels are so good and very comforting during our winters!

  8. My family has been going to Russ & Daughters since it first opened. Every Sunday growing up my father would take me with him to pick up the nova, (gaspe salmon) bialys, bagels, herring in cream sauce, matjes herring, sturgeon, sable, baked salmon, olives, sour tomatoes, pickles, cream cheese, tomatoes, onions and lots of lemons. Oh and lox wings; my favorite. Let’s not forget the chocolate babka, chocolate twists and halavah! A beautiful feast. My brothers both live out of state now but have their R&D fix shipped!!! If you haven’t been there go. Enjoy.

  9. Great segment Al, I grew up on the Lower East Side back when Ratner's was still open and know a good bagel and lox sandwich when I eat one. All great in this episode except…the vegan thing, because it is so far afield from the bagel and lox and Jewish culture. I grew up in a place with old timers eating herring with their hands, and spewing Yiddish folktales. They would never turn away from a piece of salmon, smoked or pickled, nor from shmaltz herring with kichel. Vegan, what's vegan they'd say as they spread chrein (horseradish) on their gefilte fish. Basically, you want to be vegan, gezunterheyt (go ahead). But sorry ladies, carrots will never be lox. You might want to make tzimmes out of them instead!

  10. Cmon New York stop playing yall freaking out over a shortage of cream cheese when you can just make it how you gona act like y’all the kings when yah buggin over some cream cheese

  11. As a Southerner who doesn't know what a bagel is, I'm proud to say I've never eaten one and don't ever plan on eating one. Yankee food doesn't sit well on my stomach.

  12. How NY claims its the city that never sleeps is just a lie and a hilarious joke. Try and go to diner in Brooklyn or Times Square at 2am. Its closed because they sleep lol.

  13. the only incorrect statement was that they are serving Kosher food. since they are not kosher certified, {{and many items cannot be kosher [like sturgeon ] }} . they had a kosher outlet until covid ,if i am not mistaken….

  14. I do my own flax seed and garlic bagel ( low sodium) and no preservatives after watching some tutorials on youtube and I was so surprised that my bagels were far better than the industrial frozen ones. I am so proud of my home-made bagels 😉

  15. It makes me so happy how one of my favorite foods is so tied to my culture 🙂 and how all New Yorkers love it so much. Proud to be descended from Jewish immigrants


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