MEALS ON WHEELS

A Tour of New York's Best Street Food

  1. Biryani Cart: Although cart competition is fierce in Times Square, Meru Sikder recently added a second, adjacent cart to feed the hundreds who line up for his 2009 Vendy Award–winning Indian food. (Shana Liebman)
  2. Bapcha: John Lee's 6-year-old cart near Rockefeller Center got a makeover this summer: a new name, a modern look, and, many say, a more inspired take on his dad's Korean recipes. (Shana Liebman)
  3. Rafiqi's: Fans rely on this multicart chain for "clean meat, clean counter," according to the three guys working the particularly popular Rafiqi's cart by the Empire State Building—which feeds hundreds daily. (Shana Liebman)
  4. N.Y. Dosas: Even nonvegetarians line up for Thiru Kumar's Vendy Award–winning South Indian crepes. The best is arguably the Pondicherry, a delicate, flaky lentil-and-rice-flour pancake loosely wrapped around curry potatoes, crunchy lettuce, and finely chopped vegetables. (Shana Liebman)
  5. Magdy's: This cart appeals to a more American palate with its well-known Philly cheesesteak: slightly greasy, very tasty shredded beef covered in melted American cheese on a hard roll. (Shana Liebman)
  6. Magdy's: Service is speedy, so don't be put off by the typical lunchtime lines. Magdy's wife, Jennifer (who quit her job as a schoolteacher to help), takes your order and money while you wait, and two extra grill guys bag and prep. (Shana Liebman)
  7. Carnegie John's: The modestly charming chef John has been in this spot next to Carnegie Hall for 12 years, and his one-man cart is so busy with regulars that he often runs out of the coveted chicken over rice. (Shana Liebman)
  8. Shirley's: The best recipes from Shirley's native Trinidad include a rich chicken curry: three pieces of juicy, bone-in dark meat slow-cooked in a mild orange curry, with steamed cabbage (or carrots or yams) on a bed of rice and peas. (Shana Liebman)
  9. Shirley's: The laid-back and likable Shirley has been dishing out her home cooking for many years—first at a storefront called Trinidad and Roti and, since 1995, in her very busy Financial District cart. (Shana Liebman)
  10. The Jamaican Dutchy: O'Neill, the cart's cook, makes a hearty curry goat that's long-stewed with terrific, subtle curry flavor. His herb-rubbed jerk chicken is the real thing—incredibly moist dark-meat chicken falling off the bone with heat that you feel in the back of your throat. (Shana Liebman)
  11. The Jamaican Dutchy: Don't miss the specials posted out front, and keep in mind that chef O'Neill and his sidekicks are on island time, so be patient. (Shana Liebman)

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