Monday, July 21, 2008

Street meat showdown in midtown Manhattan

Those who know me personally are aware that I'm a huge fan of street meat, both here in my home in New York City and around the world. When done well, it can be an inexpensive, delicious, and filling meal - be it at the taco trucks of Woodside, the Uigher kebab vendors in Flushing, or the Red Hook Ballfields for some ceviche or baleadas.

While Latin American and Asian vendors tend to dominate the outer boroughs, the keystones of the Manhattan street meat scene are the aptly named "lamb over rice" and "chicken over rice". Served up by Indians, Pakastanis, Israelis, Greeks, Trinidadians, and more, this platter generally consists of just a few staples: Grilled chicken or lamb; rice; a small salad; and a choice of several sauces - white, green, red, and hot, to name a few. (As for what each sauce contains, I have no idea - each of their flavor profiles can be summed up by their description - the white sauce tastes like "white", the hot sauce tastes "hot", etc.)

My wife works in midtown, and as such I've had the fortune to sample a few of these vendors. Each of us has our favorites - I tend to go for the more Caribbean spiced version from the Trini Pak Boyz on 44th, where my wife prefers the Kwik Meal cart on 46th and 6th. However, we've sampled little outside of those two carts, and certainly not as scientifically as in Midtown LUNCH's excellent Street-Meat-Palooza: A 13 Cart Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown. A team of 20 street meat fans sampled 13 vendors and rated them on the individual components and overall package.

My favorite cart came in 7th, while my wife's came in 5th. All I know is that next time I'm in midtown for lunch, we'll both be making a trek up to 53rd and 6th.

Street-Meat-Palooza: A 13 Cart Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown (Midtown Lunch via

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