There’s a revolution taking place on the streets of NYC – and it sure tastes good. We’re on a quest for lively, open markets and must-sample street-food stands, and this is an excellent enterprise for gourmands on a budget. In fact, it’s such an approachable style of family dining that we’ve taken to it even when making our way around our home city of New York with our two-year-old son, Soren. Here, the food truck and artisanal market scene hold the same culinary currency as buzzed about bricks-and-mortar restaurants and celebrity chef-helmed kitchens.
The biggest problem will be indecision – what with shucked-to-order oysters, whole fried anchovies with pickled peppers, meaty lobster rolls and fancy nachos all there for the asking. As well as delicious red velvet ice-cream and chocolate-chunk pretzel cookies. With a toddler in tow, though, focus is required.
Try to tempt them with layers of chicken schnitzel, kale Caesar salad, Parmesan shavings and a perfectly fried egg, all held together on a salt-crusted pretzel roll from Schnitz. Then cleanse you palates with artisanal lollies (naturally) from People’s Pops. An apricot and sour-cherry ice pop for the kids and a refreshing mint-and-lemonade shaved ice for the parents.
The borough that is really elevating street grub is Brooklyn. In 2008, the Brooklyn Flea, a revival of an antiques and thrift market, began with just a few well-selected food vendors. It has since spun off into other Brooklyn Flea locations and the hyper-local and much-hyped Smorgasburg – a seasonal, outdoor food market with two Brooklyn locations and a new Manhattan outpost, which opened this spring at the South Street Seaport.
In our home neighbourhood of Park Slope, a fleet of food trucks turn up and park in Grand Army Plaza at the entrance to Prospect Park, twice a month on Sundays, from April through to October. Here, stalls serve everything from expertly folded empanadas and Lebanese tabouli salads to pressed cheese sandwiches and steamed Chinese pork buns.
Must-visit street food stalls: Calexico; Kimchi Taco Truck; People’s Pops; Pizza Moto; Rickshaw Dumplings; Schnitz; and Taïm. Also check out Brooklyn Flea; Prospect Park Food Truck Rally; Red Hook Food Vendors; and Smorgasburg.
Where to stay: Stay in the Carroll Gardens House where you can stay in your own two-bedroom apartment; from $215 per night. The Holiday Inn Express offers rooms with two double beds from $215 per night.