Purchasing food in New York City is no longer exclusively a habit of rushed businessmen and construction workers – it’s for anyone and everyone seeking a tasty meal! Between the ever-popular Halal carts and newer wave of more haute-cuisine food carts and trucks, there’s a mobile food vendor our there for everyone. Let me tell you about some of my favorites!
The Halal Cart, a particular breed of street food, has been popular in New York City since the early 1990s. Halal actually refers to the Islamic method of meat killing and preparation, though, which is similar to Kosher Laws. The carts advertising Halal food usually serve yellow rice with spiced chicken or lamb Gyro meat on top and a white creamy sauce and red spicy sauce. There are an infinite number of variations on these staples and an entire range of other menu offerings at these carts, such as falafel sandwiches and knishes. My favorite Halal cart for lamb and rice (I get half regular rice, half spicy rice) is on 115th and Broadway in Morningside Heights. They have salad on the side as well as extra veggies in the meat and their sauce is a delicious yogurt-ey explosion, unlike some other carts more mayonnaise-y sauces. However, I get my favorite falafel at the Halal cart on the Northeast corner of Amsterdam and 116th, because they add spicy fries to the falafel as they warm it all up on the grill.
Another favorite cart of mine, in the non-Halal category, is the Calexico cart in SoHo, with a cart at Prince and Wooster Streetss,as well as at two property-based locations in Brooklyn. These are honestly, truly the best I have ever had in New York City. My favorites are the Chipotle Pork with pickled red onions and crema, and the Carne Asada with a tangy avocado sauce.
In the truck category, my favorite so far is the Schnitzel N Things truck. Winner of the 2010 Vendy Awards, a street food competition hosted by the Street Vendor Project, this truck specializes in Austrian-style pounded, breaded meats. My favorite is the pork. The array of sauces at this truck is also impressive. I’ve enjoyed the Sriacha Mayo and Chipotle Sour Cream very, very much. The sides are pretty good, with the Austrian potato saldad and perfect French Fries being the best I’ve tried so far.
These are just a tiny portion of the variety available in New York City: there’s also steamed dumplings from the Rickshaw Truck, beef tongue sopes from El Rey del Sabor cart, pumpkin whoopee pies from the Sweetery Truck, and the tourist favorite, hot dogs in Times Square. You’re bound to find a dish to fall in love with!
Do you have a favorite food cart or truck?