I worked an event at NYU Saturday where all the food was provided by 2 food trucks and a push cart. Talk about comfort food, this was an amazing assortment of good stuff at basement prices.
A few years ago the popularity of food trucks and street corner push carts really started to take off. No longer was the corner vendor limited to hot dogs and salted pretzels. These vendors became the new providers of quality quick lunches and super fast meal pickups.
Most of these vendors specialized in one type of food, offer great sides and for a few bucks you’re good to go. How can you go wrong.
Saturday’s vendors provided Dumplings by Rickshaw Dumplings, Empanadas by Nuchas and Indian Veggie food (Dosa), wonderfully crafted by cart vendor NY Dosas. These three street vendors kept me in specialty food heaven for the entire day. So great where their offerings that I had to come home and figure out exactly how I could emulate their food in my kitchen.
I immediately took to the internet to see if they offered recipes online. How stupid, of course they didn’t. I did find their information and will share their websites and twitter pages below. Here is a little info and some recipes for you to try and emulate their style.
Empanadas by Nuchas (Click Here): The Nuchas concept is according to their website, “inspired hand- held foods. Nuchas takes the traditional Latin American food to new heights. Fresh baked around the clock, Nuchos is a creative, convenient and delicious alternative cuisine.”
Recipe: Nuchas had more Empanadas than I can remember, right down to a Empanadas that included Nutelle (click above for their site). Here’s a cool recipe I found online from the Food Network site for making your own Empanadas.
1/2 pound ground beef steak
1/4 pound fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 package store-bought pie crust or your favorite pie crust recipe
1 tablespoon salt
1 pound fresh ground turkey or other ground meat
1 bunch scallion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 packets round dumpling wrappers (most brands have 30-45 wrappers per package)
vegetable oil for fryingFor the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot chili sauce
Serve dumplings hot with the dipping sauce.
NY Dosas ( Get the Full Story Here) https://twitter.com/nydosas : Thiru Kumar the owner of the Dosas food cart has been selling his Vegan food on the streets around NYU for over 10 years now. He was quick to tell how much of a legend he is in the area and I immediately found out that he was not joking. Lines formed quickly around his cart and he handled each and every order like a seasoned vet.
Here’s what newyork.seriouseats.com had to say about Thiru. “Perhaps the secret behind N.Y. Dosa’s long-standing success is all the hype, aided and abetted by Thiru himself. An incredibly animated Sri Lanka native with a ‘stache to rival Tom Selleck’s, Thiru hardly needs to be prompted when it comes to talking up his cart.
“I have fans all over the world–over 42 countries. There are fan clubs in California, in Japan. … Normally you would see all these articles up in different languages–all these reviews.” Not that Thiru is the only one to speak highly of N.Y. Dosas: the cart won the Vendy Award in 2007, and a quick Internet crawl reveals countless sparkling reviews from customers and critics alike.”
Like I mentioned above the food is 100% vegan and is made by incorporating veggies into a pancake type of crepe. Many are made with lentils, potatoes or rice. The taste just won me over and I wish I had the stomach space to try them all.
Thiru himself is a bit of a character and when I asked for the recipe he just smiled and said “I’m sorry, no Mr. Mike.” I searched the web for the best Dosas recipe and found this is not an easy dish to prepare. So believing a picture is worth a thousand words, check out the YouTube video below.
My wife works in mid town Manhattan and is always raving about the food carts and specialty food trucks. I now understand what she’s talking about. After sampling these three gems, I can’t wait to get back into the NYC for a taste of good city street food.