Streetside eating in NYC

Like some of you know, I trekked all the way from Mumbai to Colorado Springs (via AUH,JFK/LGA, DEN) to meet the Boarding Area set of bloggers and some other awesome bloggers for a weekend conference (sort of thing!) mixed with a tequila night and other fun stuff made possible by Randy Petersen and the House of Miles crew.

While I’ll discuss that on the blog later, on the way out, I thought I’d build in a couple of days in the schedule to pop into New York and soak in the city (always a good idea!), apart from meeting friends I haven’t met in a while. I had a schedule mess, and I eventually arrived in NYC a full 12 hours later than originally planned. And since I was tired, I did not eat anything on the 3 flights I had (COS-DFW-LAX-JFK) or in-between (those times were spent getting tickets reissued with the airline!).

So once I finally managed to settle into my hotel at NYC, I had to eat! And since I am not the room service kind of guy, I had to step out to eat. Shake Shack was right next door, but this was not going to be enough. So, I decided to walk it a bit to arrive at one of my favourite carts in New York at 46th St and 6th Ave, called the Biryani Cart. This was a random discovery in one of my trips a couple of years ago, and I have been always very happy customer to go back to these guys. The high turnover stuff here is the Kati Rolls and the Biryani, and I haven’t bothered to try the other new stuff that comes and goes. However, the guy makes a mean greasy Biryani, not too spicy (maybe in line with the local palate) and worth the 6$! Along the way, he won a couple of Wendy awards too! I grabbed a takeaway and brought it back to the hotel to eat in my room, so don’t be surprised with the luxury setting around!



The evening worked out no different. Initial plans were to step into a Greek restaurant mid-town, but after a few rounds of drinks with friends, we were not so game to make the trip uptown. As well, as it turned out the restaurant was temporarily closed.

So we walked over to another one of my old favourites in the face of a windy NYC evening, this one is called the Halal Guys and located at 53rd St & 6th Ave, right around the corner from the Hilton. I first went here when a friend told me they used to drive all the way from D.C. just for a midnight meal over here (and then go back!). The guy makes a spicy hot platter, with oodles of white sauce which I think is yoghurt-based to go along. Almost always crowded, night or day, go for the platter (rice and gyro, with lamb and chicken), which gives you a taste of all he has, unless you have a specific preference for lamb or chicken and don’t want to have the other.

photo 3

And by the side of the cart, you’d find an array of sauces, mostly the white yoghurt-based sauce I mentioned before, but also some barbeque sauce and in one corner, the hot-sauce. Do not try to have lots of it unless you’ve tried it before, because it is some real hot and wicked stuff! Most people won’t even look at it because it’s stowed in a separate rack. The portion sizes are massive, but I managed to wolf down a full helping by myself.


That was another $6 well-spent! Have you been to any of these places or do you recommend any street side food I should try when back in New York whenever?

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Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. great read mate..
    been to the Halal guys.. loove it
    u may try the Kati roll company on the 39th street near Times sq… tough to get a seat though!

    I just love the street honey roasted peanuts sold thru small outlets throughout the NYC!

  2. The dosa cart at Washington Sq park is a must. You might want to call before you go. There are plenty others as well e.g. the Mexican cart around 14th and 8th etc. The new crop of carts around Union Sq didn’t really impress me much though

  3. Check out Rafiqi. It’s a group of trollies street-side in the city. A solid notch ahead of Biryani.

    Less risk buying in the winter than the summer, imho. 😉

  4. Mmmm….love the Biryani cart. One of my standard stops every time I am in the city. Next time, check out Masala Times for some awesome Kheema Pav (ok maybe not as awesome as what you get in Bombay but still pretty good!)

  5. yep the Halal guys are indeed famous! I work downtown in financial district and there are a ton of food trucks here during lunchtime.

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