Best Street Food Venders in New York City
When the Big Apple finally got street food correct sometime over the last decade, a vital parcel of the city’s culinaryscape set like good aspic. Now whether you go upscale (think Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin), mid (think Frankies Spuntino, Prune, Mission Chinese), ‘hood comfort or street, regardless of income level or taste, good food is on offer.
Street food was once the sole compass, for the most part, of hot dog carts. Change, however, has come swiftly to Gotham. Now the panoply of grub in store for hungry ambulators spans a wide spectrum and, at last, reflects the demographics of a metropolis where over 800 languages are spoken.
With that, take a look at the current crop of best boulevard bites in New York City.
Tortas Nezas, Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens
Daily from 1pm-1am at 111th Street and Roosevelt, a few blocks away from Citi Field
Chef/owner Galdino Molinero prepares authentic Mexican tortas – a sandwich-like concoction – just minutes from where the New York Mets play baseball. Molinero is evidently a football fan – the names of his signature tortas are nods to Liga MX clubs.
Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls
Summer, open from noon-11pm everyday
The name is superb, first of all. But much more importantly, the New Orleans style sno-balls (not snow cones) Neesa Peterson serves every summer makes the fiery inferno that is New York in July worth the sweat.
Xin Jiang Prosperity Kebabs, Chinatown, Manhattan
Monday-Sunday 10:30am-8:30pm at the corner of Forsyth St & Division St
Xin Jiang food is, in essence, Uyghur food and reflects the tastes of Central Asia more than Han China. Prosperity Kebabs marinates tender hunks of lamb, beef and chicken in spices and skwers them over 100% pure charcoal.
Monsieur Singh Lassi
Summer, 2.5 months, daily from 12pm-6pm
Chef/owner Karan Gera is a relative newcomer on the street food scene but has won a fervent cadre of followers with the cool yogurt beverage that is the de facto national drink of India.
Melt Bakery, High Line, Chelsea, Manhattan
Daily from 11am-8pm
Any half-decent street food vender can make a wage next to the High Line but Melt Bakery’s ice cream sandwiches are impossible to resist – seasonal and local too.
Baby Got Back Ribs
Summer, Smorgasburg, Brooklyn; Fall, Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street, Madison Square Park, Manhattan
The saucy name hints at the saucy, sweet, fall-off-the-bone ribs hordes line up for at the Smorgasburg flea food market in Brooklyn and at Madison Square Park in Manhattan. Chef/owner Robert Liano also makes a dry rub rib for the overly-sanitary.
Pestle & Mortar
Saturdays at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn
Ceviche – sublime ceviche – is the specialty at Pestle & Mortar, another vender at Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg, by the way, is at East River State Park (Kent Avenue and N. 7 Street) on the Williamsburg waterfront on Saturdays and on the DUMBO waterfront at the historic Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park on Sundays.
Cram a bit of the City of Brotherly Love in your maw, courtesy of Phil’s Steaks, home of “Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks”. A restaurant is in the works but for now, the outfit patrols the streets of the city.
Owners Sienam and Vik Lulla left the restaurant racket after almost a decade and put all that know-how into a Tibetan momo/Indo-Chinese food truck.
Mayhem & Stout
Summer, Dekalb Market daily until September
A good, slow braise is the epitome of comfort food. This is the bedrock philosophy behind the short rib, brisket and pork shoulder sandwiches Mayhem & Stout makes at markets all over the city.
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