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8 Mouthwatering New York City Food Trucks and Carts

Category General

|by Mark Robinson |


Dig in at these affordable, portable eateries

There are plenty of terrific places to eat in Manhattan, from bistros and fine dining, to grab-and-go fast food. It might not immediately occur to tourists, but there are also a wide-range of food trucks and food carts that are offering up some pretty tasty bites at great prices. Here are some of Manhattan’s best food carts and food trucks to check out while taking a bite out of the Big Apple

Take a bite out of the Big Apple at these Manhattan food trucks and carts (Photo: iStock)

Take a bite out of the Big Apple at these Manhattan food trucks and carts (Photo: iStock)

Ling’s Sweet Mini Cakes (Chinatown)
An adventure to Chinatown will bring you within grasp of Ling’s Sweet Mini Cakes. Since 1982, this cart has been serving mini cakes (which are technically egg waffles) The toppings choices are plentiful, including peanut butter, Nutella), condensed milk and chocolate drizzles. Ling’s is a must-visit for anyone who wants to sample the best of food cart desserts in the Big Apple.

Mister Softee
It’s a New York City institution, so we won’t be leaving the Mister Softee trucks off our list! Listen for the jingle and the jangle of the music box tune that summons kids (and the young at heart) to make the difficult decision of which ice cream or frozen treat to walk away with. Whether it be a soft serve chocolate vanilla twist, a banana split, or a strawberry milkshake, what is better than an ice cream parlor on wheels that drives into your neighborhood?

Calexico Cart (132 Wooster Street)
Burritos, tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas are all on offer at the Calexico Cart, drawing from the cuisine of Calexico (a small town on the border of California and Mexico). Enjoy a Cali-Burrito (carne asada, chile-cilantro fries, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream), Baja Fish (beer-battered fish, spicy slaw, mango salsa, our special sauce), Chipotle Pork Tacos (slow-cooked chipotle pork, pickled red onions, pico de gallo, sour cream) or a chicken, steak or shrimp fajita. The menu offers a plethora of combinations and tasty sides to go with whatever you choose. 

The Cinnamon Snail (2 Pennsylvania Plaza)
Among the divine (as food trucks go), The Cinnamon Snail in Pennsylvania Plaza is a little slice of heaven. Their breakfasts alone will have you lining up, day after day, for offerings such as Apple Pecan Pancakes, Tapenade grilled tofu baguette, or the Chipotle Seitan Breakfast Burrito. Sandwich options include Maple Mustard Tempeh, Creole Grilled Tofu, or Thai BBQ Tempeh. Best of all, the menu is all vegan, so even their savory burgers are in line with that dietary lifestyle. 

Wafels and Dinges (15 Avenue B)
Making their mission to “give America’s Belgian waffles a serious upgrade,” Wafels and Dinges is certainly living up to its promise. A “dinge” is a Belgian word for “whatchamacallit,” and this portable restaurant uses it to describe its toppings. On top of a homemade waffle, diners can enjoy spekuloos spread, dulce de leche topping, Vermont maple syrup, Belgian chocolate fudge, strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and/or powdered sugar. Wafels and Dinges’ menu boasts what they refer to as “Legendary Creations” including the Throwdown Wafel, De Bom, De Turtle Wafel, and the WMD (waffle of massive deliciousness). They also sell delectable ice cream and shakes. 

NY Dosas (Washington Square Park) 
For a taste of South Indian food that is both portable and delicious, check out NY Dosas at 50 Washington Square, just inside Washington Square Park. Lentil and rice crepes, Pondicherry Masala and Rava Masala Dosa are standouts of a menu that caters to vegetarian and vegan diets. Of course, their specialties are the dosas, South Indian crepes made of rice and lentils and served with coconut chutney and sambhar.

The Halal Guys (Multiple Locations) 
The hypnotic aromas emanating from the Halal Guys carts will have you drifting in their direction before you even see them. Sides of falafel, hummus, baba ganouj and fries make for great starters to such main courses as beef or chicken gyros. Don’t forget to get a piece of their scrumptious baklava for desert. The Halal Guys can be found all over the city – just follow your nose.

Tony Dragonas (62nd Street near Madison Ave.) 
Tony “The Dragon” Dragonas is a popular spot for the Madison Avenue business crowd to enjoy a tasty lunch on the go. Plates of wild salmon, pork souvlaki, spinach pie and grilled shrimp are served with sides of rice pilaf and your choice of arugula or garden salad. The tempting sandwich choices include a ribeye steak and mozzarella hero, the prosciutto panini, lamb gyros and a Mediterranean veggie pita. Burgers more your thing? Don’t worry, there are plenty of options. Among them are the Gypsy Burger (with mozzarella, chili moni and mayonnaise). 

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His new book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, hit shelves in October 2019. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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