Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
May 25, 2007 04:33 PM

Quintessential NYC street food

So, my boyfriend & I are coming to NYC for a little trip & we want to see & do as much as we can while we're there. We're both foodies & eating is going to be our main focus for the trip. My question is, what's the quintessential NYC street food? What do we absolutely have to have before heading back home?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Okay these may not qualify as quintessal street food like not offered on the street per se but qualifies as unique food items that you can grab quickly and are really good. But beyond the falafel carts and the gross pretzels, there isn't much in terns of street food (in the traditional sense)

    I just polished off a Kati roll from the Kati Roll company on Macdougal between Bleeker and West 3rd. Get a paneer roll (hands down the best one). Really unique and good.

    Real street food --the Dosa Cart on the corner of west 4th and sullivan. He has really good samosas.

    Great jamaican patties from Jamaican flavors on Sullivan between bleeker and and west 3rd (get the barbeque ones).

    Great croissants from Patiserre Claude (on west 4th between) sixth avenue and 7th ave.

    Amazing grill sandwiches from Murrays Cheese on Bleeker, great proscutto bread and rice balls fram Faiccos next door to Murrays.

    the list goes on.....

    1. "The cart" at 53rd and 6th - chicken and rice. Late night. Very NYC...

      2 Replies
      1. re: theannerska

        i second "the cart". be prepared to wait in line. also knishes seem to be a NY thing (i think) but i'm not sure of where the 'good' knish carts are. you can go to the Lower East Side to the area around Kossar's Bialy and find some good knishes in the area, although not necessarily from carts.
        i'm also a big fan of QuikMeal I and II in midtown, on 45th st and 6th ave.

        1. re: theannerska

          I also like the cart at 53rd, but only for the combo chicken and lamb platter. For chicken only, I prefer the Trini Pak lady on 6th and 43rd Street. It's much more flavorful. Only open during lunch hours.

        2. "Churn Fun" on Hester street and Elizabeth. Its chinese rice roll noodles with peanut and sweet sauce. Theres also another cart on Bowery and Grand st.

          3 Replies
          1. re: DarthEater

            i think you mean cheung fan, thats what the rice roll noodles you're talking about are called in chinese...the cart you're talking about on hester and elizabeth across from dynasty is pretty good

            1. re: Lau

              I'm chinese, and in cantonese its pronounced "churn" as in intestines in cantonese because its rolled and shaped to resemble it. Cheung would be the last name of my ex.

              1. re: DarthEater

                I always thought they were called cheung fun as well. It's probably one of those people from different areas of the country pronounce things differently things. Anyway those chinatown carts are really interesting. Besides the usual "cheung fun", some of them will sell stuff like curry fishballs, curry squid, beef stew with tripe, fried chicken, spring rolls, fried thin white noodle and deep fried mystery fish gunk on peppers or eggplant. They probably don;t change the frying oil that much so its probably not the healthiest of foods.

          2. This is not quite street food but I think you should sample one of NYC's finest: Pizza! There are pizza joints everywhere but if you are into Pizza then Lombardi's on 32 Spring Street in Soho is the spot!

            If you have time to venture out of Manhattan, take the subway to Coney Island and grab a few hot dogs from Nathans. The Cyclones (a Mets farm team) also plays there, catch a game, or just take a walk along the boardwalk. This is very New York as well.

            Have fun in New York!

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiechan

              If you want the street food pizza experience, you can buy pizza off a truck in midtown somewhere. The pizza is not bad, its crispy liek a cracker and very saucy. I think the name of the truck was jiannetto's.

            2. If you're planning on staying only in Manhattan, various street carts throughout Chinatown (and the Dumpling Places on Eldridge St and elsewhere) & what's already been said are good suggestions. I'd also look thru some threads to find good falaffel places. And think about going to dba, a bar on 1st Ave and E.2-3rd St: they have a good selection of everything alcoholic & a backyard area to just sit at , where you're welcome to bring in food from anywhere and eat it. If you go there, a Katz pastrami sandwich is only blocks away.

              However, if you're willing to venture out of borough, check out:

              Red Hook (Brooklyn) ballfields threads on the Outer Boroughs board. If you're around during a week-end and like varied Central and South American home cooked foods, this is the place. DiFara's pizza threads as well (also Brooklyn). And the Flushing (Queens) Chinatown threads on walking thru the "malls" on Main St.