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Mar 11, 2010 08:33 AM

Non-professional Street Food?

In the morning right outside the subway entrance on the NE corner of 14th St & 1st avenue, there is often a woman selling the Daily News, who also sometimes sells her own tamales for $1.50. They're delicious, cheap and there is a homemade feel to the food and in the act of purchasing. She essentially just has a cooler with a handwritten sign on it. It's non-professional and she is likely just making them in batches in her apartment.

Also, years ago I came across women who sold tamales too, right outside the Jefferson St. L Subway stop.

Does anyone know any other regular non-professional food sellers with homemade type food for sale on the street. Where the seller is often at a single location on a somewhat consistent basis?

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  1. There used to be a woman on 28th St between 6th and 7th who sold some type of open-faced torta with pork, salad and cheese to workers in the flower shops there. She had a cooler and a knife and it had the same feel y ou are describing, but I haven't seen her in over a year.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LloydG

      sounds more like a tostada, the flower district one.

      a lot of these, especially in manhattan, tend to be more migratory than the outer borough ones; possibly food license issues, that sort of thing. I've bought tamales once totally on the go from a woman who was kinda moving through east midtown, but not actually setting up in one spot.

      1. re: bigjeff

        That's right, the food license issue, that makes sense. Too bad, though in the bigger picture, it's probably better they enforce that than not. I guess technically, this means they would also have to shut down a kids lemonade stand! I actually did that once growing up in the suburbs - in nyc I would have been an 8 yr old public enemy, haha!

        1. re: EliEats

          There is a lady selling tamales outside the Mexican Embassy on 38th (or 39th) btwn Park and Madison.

    2. I just remembered of course, that throughout chinatown, you've got all sorts of ladies running around with shopping carts and coolers; along grand, closer to forsyth and chrystie are always some vendors for zhong ("chinese tamale", haha) and, some of those semi-permanent stalls that sell all manner of random baked, steamed and fried breads and braised meats; there are a few of those under the manhattan bridge at division street (the one that has all the good set up in front of the open kitchen and sells those $1 mustard green and pork bings also has an amazing roast pork pastry unlike any I've ever had; no food coloring so the filling is just "pork"-colored and baked in a shell that almost reminds me of a thick knish crust. The vendor keeps those in a plastic bag usually; this is the stall right in front of the big supermarket that's built into the foundation of the manhattan bridge right there; I think it's a Hong Kong possibly.

      that is, of course, blurring the line between professional and non-professional.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bigjeff

        the aforementioned roast pork "knish" is at 75 East Broadway, right under the bridge. roast pork pastry is now $1.25. pork (lotta fatty bits) with scallions, in a great pastry shell. these are in a metal tray, the ones in the plastic bag have no filling. both are delicious. he also seels "hong-zau", which is the fermented red rice paste that you can marinate chicken in for a funky hakka-style drunken chicken. yummy.

      2. I used to get tamales from a guy and his son around 17th st and PPW in Brooklyn on Sunday mornings. They were soooo good...