This week's NYT Dining section dove into one of Gothamist's favorite subjects: street food. The Times highlights the "Arepa Lady," who is very well known to visitors to the Chowhound message boards; Alpha hound Jim Leff has attempted to explain her magic:
Nearby, others grill arepas on street carts, but they are not The Arepa Lady (look for the tiny, ageless woman with the beatific smile). They all use the same ingredients and similar grills, but only her arepas have that certain cosmic expansiveness. You try one, and first reaction is "mmm, this is delicious". But before that thought can fully form, waves of progressively deeper feelings begin crashing, and you are finally left silently nodding your head. You understand things. You have been loved.
Okay, so not all street food might not be quite that transforming, but it is generally cheap, quick, and authentic. Some of our street food favorites include the dosa cart on the south side of Washington Square Park, Daisy May's chili carts (three locations), and the taco truck on 96th and Broadway. eGullet's NYC forum discusses their favorite street vendors, which include several women selling tamales in Manhattan and Queens, and carts in Chinatown selling everything from moon cakes to spring rolls to savory buns with a variety of filling. The owner of the pushcart often parked late-night on the southeast corner of Ludlow and Stanton (making a mint off of hipsters battling the drunken munchies, we'd imagine) was the subject of a Gothamist Interview; his menu is Korean-influenced, but is certainly non-traditional, and includes a hot dog with kimchee.
People are extremely passionate about street food. A Gothamist reader who has moved upstate recently wrote asking us to track down a recipe for the chicken, rice and white sauce from the halal falafel carts -- we could certainly use a little reader guidance on this one, at least until we have time to break away to do some proper investigative journalism!
Gothamist wants to hear about your favorite street food -- where is it, what's served, and how much is it going to set us back?