2006_10_GothamSamiul.jpgIt was a cool, but comfortable night in the courtyard of St. Mark's Church last night as a few hundred street food afficionados gathered to pay tribute to the four vendor finalists, nominated by their regulars and fans. The competition was fierce, but the nine judges were up to the task, tasting sample platters from each of the four carts and scoring them in a range of categories, including flavor, presentation, the flair/personality of each vendor, and the "addictiveness factor."

The tension was palpable, but the time to announce the winner had finally arrived. NY1's Roger Clark shared some of the judges commments about each of the finalists, and then former New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton announced the runner-up and the winner. Thiru "Dosa Man" Kumar once again took the runner-up honors, while Samiul Haque Noor from "Sammy's Halal," at 73rd Street and Broadway in Queens took the cup. Sammy serves exceptionally flavorful and superbly spiced Halal chicken, lamb & beef over fragrant basmati rice, and was thrilled to win the award.

The event benefitted the Urban Justice Center's Street Vendor Project, a nonprofit organization that provides a voice for the ten thousand people who sell their wares on the streets and sidewalks of our city.

Be sure to visit all the finalists -- they're all winners in our book.

Photo by Chris Steighner