I heard about The Halal Guys when a friend traveling from Orange City, California to Toronto made a pitstop in New York City just to get their chicken and rice. A few years later, The Halal Guys opened up a restaurant in OC, but it simply did not match up to the street version served in NYC.
New York City is known for a lot of things – New York web design companies, skyscrapers, Broadway, and the Statue of Liberty.
But for foodies, the street food scene is perhaps the most special thing about New York. With Arabian falafel, Greek gyros, and classic American hot dogs, its street food is symbolic of the melting pot nature of the city.
Without further ado, here are some of the street eats you must try in New York City:
King of Falafel & Shawarma
Locations (2): 30th and Broadway
53rd St and Park Ave
Bagging the Vendy Award for New York’s Best Street Food in 2010, King of Falafel & Shawarma is loved for its Middle Eastern food including shawarma, falafel, and chicken & rice.
Besides its regular offerings, the King also serves a number of dishes under the heading ‘Something Different.’ The ‘Omar’, for example, is a combination of chicken and shawarma with sautéed vegetables, tahini sauce, and a carb. For those of us who have a hard time deciding what to get, the King offers ‘The Teaser’ – a platter with a sampling of each of their meat selections over rice and salad.
Location: 50 Washington Square S
Dosas are a thin, savoury rice and lentil crepe originating from South India. According to popular opinion, NY Dosa’s Thiru Kumar (also known as the Dosa Man) makes the best dosas around.
NY Dosa serves a range of award-winning dosas including the classic masala dosa filled with spiced potatoes, as well as other traditional South Indian dishes. Each meal comes with a cup of sambar (a South Indian lentil and vegetable soup) and coconut chutney, making for a hearty and (relatively) healthy meal.
Not only is NY Dosa delicious, it is also vegan and gluten-free – making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.
Locations (4): West 55th St and Broadway
21st St and 31st Ave
Northern Blvd and Bell Blvd
3rd Ave Bay Ridge
King Souvlaki boasts a range of delicious Greek dishes including lemon potatoes, souvlaki, and gyros cooked using premium quality ingredients. Even their fries are deep fried in extra virgin olive oil!
Despite being street food, King Souvlaki tastes just as fresh as restaurant food. Head over to any one of their four locations for an authentic Greek experience.
Location: 140 Broadway
With two kati rolls for just $6, Biryani House is not only one of the best Indian food carts in New York City, it is also among the most economical. Although the kati rolls are exceptionally popular, Biryani House also serves delicious, generously spiced biryani, curries, and other meat-based dishes.
Biryani House adds a special twist to its biryani with additional white and hot sauces, not traditionally served with biryani.
If you’re in the mood for Indian and want the most bang for your buck, Biryani House is your place!
Locations (3): Broadway & 47th St
97 W 32nd St
429 11th Ave
Nuchas advertises itself as ‘immigrant food for an immigrant nation,’ and lives up to the slogan. Nuchas introduces a twist to the traditional empanadas, by filling the dough with flavors from around the world.
From Asian shiitake curry to all-American ham and cheese, Nuchas has something for everyone. For those with a sweet tooth, offers an apple, cranberries & Nutella pie.
The soft, warm empanadas at Nuchas combine the comfort of a pita pocket with the sophistication of gourmet meals to give you the perfect handheld food.
Jiannetto’s Pizza and Catering
Locations (2): 101 E 47th St
90 Front St
Jiannetto’s award-winning Grandma thin-crust Sicilian pizza features a delectable thin crust with an impressive red sauce. For only $2.75 per slice, Jiannetto’s pizza is one of the most delicious but cheap thin crust pizzas in NYC.
Besides pizza, the authentic Italian food truck also serves a number of classics such as Chicken and Eggplant Parmigiana and Baked Ziti.
If you love Jiannetto’s, you can even get them to cater for you! In fact, the catering menu offers a much larger selection than the delicious items available on the food truck.
Location: 151 W 3rd St
Before Anton’s, I had never even heard of Russian dumplings. But the Russian dumplings at Anton’s Dumplings do not disappoint.
Anton’s serves traditional pelmeni and pierogi (meat and potato dumplings) with an option of 5 incredible toppings: classic, chimichurri, teriyaki, horseradish, and beets.
With their delicate but slightly chewy shells and moderately spiced filling, Anton’s dumplings make for a delectable light lunch.
Location: 176 Lafayette Ave
We all need comfort food sometimes, and who doesn’t love a classic grilled cheese? Milk Truck on Lafayette Avenue serves a warm gooey grilled cheese to fulfill your cheese cravings.
Besides a classic grilled cheese, the truck offers other comfort food such as mac n cheese and delicious milkshakes to boot.
The next time you want food that tastes like a hug, head over to Milk Truck.
Wafels and Dinges
Locations (7): Central Park West & West 81st St
5th Ave & 60th St
Central Park – Center Drive
Bowleen Green Park
6th Ave & 42nd St
393 West St
1557 Broadway, between 46th & 47th
It would be tantamount to a crime to complete a list of the best NYC street food without talking about desserts.
Wafels & Dinges has won multiple well-deserved awards for its delightful desserts. Dissapointed by the soggy waffles served at American diners, a bunch of entrepreneurs decided to right the affront to the world-famous Belgian waffles and founded Wafels & Dinges.
This dessert joint serves fresh, crispy, authentic Belgian waffles along with dinges (roughly translated as toppings). It also offers ice cream made with premium quality ingredients, shakes, coffee, and lemonades. If it is your first time visiting Wafels & Dinges, try their ‘Throwdown Wafel’ ‘Wafel of Massive Deliciousness’ or any one of their ‘Legendary Creations’!
Location: 445 Albee St W
Churros, the crispy, fried, sweet Spanish treat is given a delicious makeover by Dulcinea Churros. After roaming the streets of Madrid and trying churro after churro, the founders of Dulcinea decided to hollow out the middle of the churro and fill it with a number of concoctions including Nutella and dulce de leche.
Besides their innovative stuffed churros, Dulcinea also serves the classic churros with a number of dipping sauces.
If you’re not really in the mood for churros that day, Dulcinea also serves a bunch of desserts including classic American donuts and banana bread.
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For someone visiting New York City, the ubiquitousness of the food carts and trucks is striking. For residents of NYC, street food is a crucial part of city life. As a result, there is an impressive variety in the types of street food you can get in the city. We hope that you’ll try some of our suggestions, not only to have a new culinary experience, but also to gain insight into the wonderful melting pot of cultures in New York City.