Street food has experienced something of a gentrification in recent years. Where once the food truck was a stop off for a greasy burger or hot dog on the go, a whole world of cuisine is now available from the humble kitchen on wheels. Nowhere is this truer than in New York, a city that has always been a proponent of food on the go.
The traditional corndog or pizza stand are still very much alive and well in The Big Apple but delve a little deeper and you’ll find there is a lot more to street food than you first think. Ever wonder what a Korean burrito would taste like? Or an artisan ice-pop?
Discover New York City through its food trucks and get an authentic taste of American food at its greatest. Here’s ten of the best so that you can start your street food walking tour. Best to head out on an empty stomach.
It's not just a love truck, it's the truck that makes the best coffee on a go! I discovered it back in 2003 when I was working on Astor Place. Then I was their biggest fan on Wall Street in 2012. Now I come to Soho on weekends to catch them! These guys' coffee is amazing! Remember this orange blizzard of coffee! #lovetruckcoffee #prince #soho #coffee #togo #bestcoffee #nyc #coffeefans
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but as anyone who has to be up early will tell you, coffee is really the first and only important meal of the day. Love Truck Coffee is a bizarre, burnt orange truck on Wall Street that serves up hot and cold brew coffees in the financial district. Insomniacs among us will love their red eye coffees (coffee with an extra shot of espresso to wake you up) which are refreshingly un-bitter, while their iced coffees will keep you cool on a hot summers day.
Some of today's donuts and treats. Can you name them all? All 100% vegan and #kosher. #vegandonuts #vegan #donuts #donutscookiesandcream #donutsanddeadlifts #eeeeeats #fabfoodfiesta #betchyfood #stupidgoodfood #whatveganseat #hungrybetches #devourpower #dailyfoodfeed #thefeedfeed #eastcoastfoodies #eastcoastfeastcoast #eatingfortheinsta #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #veganfortheanimals #lickyourphone #nyceeeeeats #nyceats #foooodieee
Man cannot live on coffee alone and thankfully the Cinnamon Snail has you covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their main hangout is on the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue but check their Facebook to find out where else they may pop up in the city. The most famous food out of this truck is the mouth-watering menu of doughnuts on offer but their fusion food sandwiches are also to die for. There’s also a nice selection of tofu for the veggies amongst us.
Definitely not the cheapest of street food options by any means but it is one of the most memorable. Red Hook Lobster sell delicious Maine lobster and shrimp in a traditional New England bun. Red Hook has several locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as popping up at several food markets including Broadway Bites and the legendary Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. The food here is so good that it was even crowned the “Best Food Truck in America” for 2013 by Daily Meal so you know they’re doing something right.
There are dozens of great halal food trucks in New York City but Halal Guys is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of popularity and (arguably) the all-important taste. You’ll either spot Halal Guys food truck from their red and yellow umbrellas that encircle their stall – or else the perpetual queue of hungry mouths looking for some of the best gyros in the city. Meals come in a bowl or the traditional wrapped kebab style and the falafel option here is seriously delicious.
Find their trucks at 53rd and 6th, Amsterdam Avenue, East 14th Steet and several other locations in New York and New Jersey.
The humble soup is the staple of many a lunch and on 45th street between 5th and 6th Avenues it may have reached its pinnacle. $6 for a simple soup may seem a bit steep to some, but when the cold of New York’s bitter winters begins to bite, SOUP Cart is the one place all the locals line up. The crab bisque is particularly moreish.
If SOUP Cart is the saviour of the winter then People’s Pops saves the summer. The childhood favourite, the ice lolly gets an upgrade at Park Slope and the High Line, where the regularly changing flavours and locally-made ice pops will keep you cool as a cucumber. As these are artisan ice lollies the flavours are suitable sundry, from blueberry and Early Grey to strawberry and balsamic negroni. If they didn’t taste so delicious, they’d almost be too good to eat.
New York is known for its plethora of world cuisine, but one style of food that often gets overlooked in the Big Apple is Indian. Curry lovers can unite at the junction of 46th and 6th Avenue, just follow your nose to the delicious aromas and you’re sure to find Biryani Cart. It’s not the most authentic Indian you’ll ever eat, and it’s probably not the spiciest either. But for a $5 lunch in Manhattan it’s pretty decent.
The U.S. may have its up and downs with their next door neighbours Mexico, but one thing they sure won’t argue about is their food. If you can’t make it down to Tijuana for a traditional taco, try one from Calexico at the corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in Soho or in several other locations around the city. The tacos, at $4 a pop are great value, in particular the carne asada served with pico de gallo and avocado. Calexico are so successful they have even managed to transition into a brick-and-mortar establishment, with restaurants in Greenpoint, Red Hook and the Upper East Side.
The intro to this article did mention Korean burritos and that’s what you’re after then Korilla is the place that you will find them. With a restaurant in the East Village as well as several trucks making their way around the city, there is no shortage of fusion cooking to whet your appetite.
Dishes take the Mexico’s style of eating, with tacos, burritos and rice bowls, while the flavours within have a flavour of the East. The bulgogi rice bowl with kimchi is my meal of choice but go with friend, or your homestay host so you can mix and match your meals to try all that's on offer. Check Korilla’s Twitter feed to find out where their truck will roll up next.
With two restaurants and a food truck to their name, Souvlaki GR is one of the great names when it comes to Greek food in Manhattan. While their restaurants in Midtown and on Stanton Street on the Lower East Side have a detailed spread of the cuisine of Mykonos, their roving food truck takes the classics from their menu and brings it on the go around Manhattan. The souvlaki here are of course to die for as is the spanakopita and indeed the feta covered French fries. Check their website for a list of the truck’s stop off points throughout the week.
Cover image courtesy of Nick Harris.
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