New York, the greatest city in the whole world, offers as many options in the street food as it does in its discerning landmarks. The Empire State Building and the Central Park are surely a must-have on your bucket list, but what about the extensive food list every gourmand carries to this gigantic city? From Oyster hawkers of the 18thcentury to the push carts of the Lower East Side in the 19th, to the neoteric food trucks that roll around in the 21stcentury, this always on-the-go city has evolved big time! And surely, NYC’s meals on wheels are a delight, serving everything from the cliché burgers, hot dogs and ice creams to falafels, waffles and delicious seafood!
So, to try gulp it all as you vacay in New York, take note of the best street food in NYC and where you can find it:
1. The Cinnamon Snail
Most rightfully named, this vegan snail was hard to get a glimpse of, since it gave a guest appearance in public events and private caterings only. Thankfully, the much adored food truck has spread its wings and recently opened a brick n motor by Penn Station. The truck can also be seen roaring around in streets through their Twitter account. Cinnamon Snail’s signature ‘samiches’ like Maple Mustard Tempeh and Thai BBQ Tempeh are on every vegetarian’s list. Self-educated chef Adam Sobel serves amazing Korean BBQ Seitan and acclaimed desserts like Crème Brulee Doughnuts and Fig Pancakes. Its pastry and donut list changes everyday and is so wanted that it’s now eulogized as the best ‘gateway drug’ to vegan food.
2. Wafels and Dinges
Meaning Waffles and Things in Dutch, the ‘things’ refer to the melange of toppings garnished on the dishes. Crisp on the outside and deliciously chewy inside, their Golden Belgian Waffles are equal parts sweet and savoury. Immensely successful and ubiquitous in the city that never sleeps, Wafels and Dinges are sprinkled all across from Central Park to Lincoln Center, to Hamptons Jitney and Downtown Brooklyn. Now owning a full-blown café in the East Village, the variety includes offbeat dishes like Bartlett Pears with Walnut Blueberry crumble to bacon, banana and peanut butter. If you ain’t a sweet tooth, try the savoury alternates like salmon and cheese toppings. Get to one of their trucks in an act of serendipity, or simply follow them on Twitter to stay updated, these superstars are open until 2 am on weekends, to aid the beer-struck for an after meal!
3. Halal Guys
This is one of those movie-style, NYC top success stories, where three Egyptian immigrants set up a food cart catering mostly to the Muslim cabbies who observe their religious dietary guidelines. Now roughly 26 years later, this brand is such a honcho that it has over 200 franchises spreading out from Vegas to Kuala Lumpur! Serving everyone from cabbies to the suited-up corporate people, the first one ever was established on the 53rdStreet and 6thAvenue. The best part about this one is that they have managed to keep the taste and and quality intact all these years. Try their Chicken, Gyro or Falafel, teamed with pita or rice and cooked in red and white sauce; you’ll be bound to ask for more!
All you Maple-ites out there! Get ready for some maple syrup shower on offbeat and boringly cliched cuisines. Snowday’s menu, self-eulogized as the Gourmet Lumberjack, features heavy loads of maple syrup- Maple Chimichurri on their pork ribs and gooey grilled cheese varieties with a dash of maple. Initiated as a social change, this food truck came into existence when Drive Change (an NYC based organization) began to train and epmployee former incarcerated youth, in order to give their lives a good direction after getting out of the prison.
5. Korilla BBQ
Tex-mex is so cliché now that it no longer holds a place in the fusion food category. But did you ever hear of Ko-mex? That’s the new Tex-mex- Korean Mexican Food! Korilla BBQ is so pro at Ko-mex; it knows exactly how to blend the two food cultures and leave them tasting better than the original ones! Consider a Bacon Khimchi Fried Rice or a Burrito with Bulgogi; they are beyond delicious! And if you get annoyed with the long lines, their Kimcheese Waffle is sure to melt your heart out!
6. El Rey del Taco
The Queens’ King of tacos has managed to extoll the virtues of their salted beef and al pastor varieties, so as to cheer on the truck as a Vendy finalist. Run by an Astorian for more than a decade now, these people serve well-seasoned meats in tortillas and on tortas, from late evening until early morning! Loyalists can be found hovering on their original location near the N, Q train at the 30thAve. then there’s one at the Ditmars Blvd, making the whole locality a popular one!
7. Solber Pupusas
This slurpilicious El Salvador express is unarguably synonymous to Yummy! Moving around the Red Hook Ball Fields, you can easily spot one with a vast line-up of dedicated customers. This Vendy Award winning truck (Call it the Oscar for street food) is run by a couple that serve excellent veggie, meat and cheese Pupusas with all the possible fix-ins like coleslaw, tomato sauce, sour cream, cabbage, onions and pickled jalapenos. Try their hot seller- Salvadoran style Grub; the round patties appear like tortillas at first glance but are stuffed with all things delicious! Then there are other mouth watering alternatives like Hot Chorizo, Tamales and Madura!
8. King of Falafel and Shawarma
Astoria’s local celebrity, Fares ‘Freddy’ Zeideia, has been doling out Vendy award winning kebabs, falafel and shawarma since the early aughts. Found at 29/18 Broadway near the Broadway N/Q stop, it now owns a brick n mortar home at this Middle Eastern spot, marked by a cheeky #YEAHHHBABY wall-art. Crowd favourite is the thinly sliced beef n lamb shawarma, but new experiments keep making their way through on their expanded menu. Try a falafel burger with zaatar and tomato or a simple daily-baked Pita bread; everything is downright yummy!
All those savoury Egg Sandwiches that you try at fancy restaurants owe their roots to this one; Eggstravaganza is the ultimate garb-and-go food on wheels. Another Vendy award winner, it serves excellent breakfast and lunch options like sandwiches, wraps, tacos and portable platters. Don’t miss out on their Mexican men, it’s flattering, especially the one including homemade chorizo! You can easily spot one at 52ndstreet and Park Avenue.
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