Photo: Luna Vandoorne/Shutterstock

11 Reasons You Should Never Eat Street Food in New York

New York City Insider Guides Food + Drink
by Alex Scola Jun 5, 2015

1. It has no business being that delicious.

So many ppl want this #halalguysnyc #nyc #shittyphotography #food #gyro

A photo posted by anik ahmed (@anikspointofview) on

It’s almost inconsiderate how good the food is. Because word gets out, and then you’re stuck waiting in line to get your fix. Take the The Halal Guys, for example, who despite mastering the fine art of turning out tons of perfectly-seasoned beef and chicken plates en masse, still have a line around the block virtually all day, every day. It’s almost like good food “takes time to cook,” or something.


2. The prices are good. *Too* good.

#notajoke $12 MAINE STYLE LOBSTER ROLLS $2 NARRAGANSETTS #16 Extra Place #happyanniversary TO US! (Whilesupplieslast)

A photo posted by Red Hook Lobster (@redhooklobster) on

This is America people, we thrive on capitalism– and by Jove we’re going to pay for stuff when we ought to! I don’t care how amazing Red Hook Lobster Pound Food Truck’s lobster rolls are, or how much lobster meat you get for their preposterously low prices. If it’s too cheap, I get suspicious. And you should too.


3. Food carts are painfully hip.

Big thanks to our friends at #solberpupusas. You guys were awesome and so was the food! #FRIENDSOFREDWOOD #redwoodstudiosny

A video posted by Redwood Studios (@redwoodstudiosny) on

God, just look this video for the Solber Pupusas cart… it looks like a party. Look at all of those satisfied patrons grinning gleefully with their full stomachs. Look at all those chefs having fun. Nobody wants that out of an eating establishment… fun is gross and probably unsanitary. Someone should warn those people.


4. And they use exotic (read: weird) ingredients.

Like Bolivian Llama Party… I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust llamas or parties when it comes to food.  Sure, they may have reviewers raving about their unique quilquina-calimari fry sauce, but I can’t even pronounce those words… and a long history of devotion to fast food restaurants has taught me to be wary of any ingredient that doesn’t start with “saturated” and end in “-ose.”


5. Many of the cart operators are entirely too friendly.

And do you know what that means? That means they might talk to you, ask you about your day, or share a story with you. Or worse — smile at you. Extroverted NY Dosas guy, do you not realize that I’m in no place to talk to you while I’m in the midst of unsanctimoniously stuffing my face with your delicious food?


6. And most will take “creative liberties” with the food they make.

My very last trip to #eddiespizzatruck in #nyc oh how I will miss this thin crust pesto goodness #pizza #nom

A photo posted by Becky (@rebeccajunelane) on

Like this zany flatbread margherita pesto pizza from The Eddie’s Pizza truck, using ingredients so fresh you can pretty much identify all of them on sight. Fresh ingredients, and combining two of Italy’s best flavors…who even does that? It’s like “Eddie” is on a mission to create the perfect pizza or something. I hate to break it to you Eddie, but no one in the history of ever has gone to New York to eat pizza.


7. Which means sometimes they go too far.

Like these “Kimcheese Waffle Fries” from Korilla BBQ. Yes, you read that right… Kimchi. Cheese. Waffle fries. We get it Korilla BBQ, you put together all of the most delicious foods into one beautiful, spicy, cheesy, fried dish. But you know what they say about too much of a good thing…


8. Be warned: you’ll have the opportunity to try foods from all corners of the globe.

Imagine being able to travel the world with just your tastebuds, while never leaving the same block in NYC.  Where every dish (like these lumpias from the Lumpia Shack) might be a slice of a faraway land you may never set foot in, and where the smorgasbord of authentic comestibles showcases a whole range of spices and cooking techniques that don’t exist in American cuisine. Doesn’t that just sound like the worst?


9. Or worse: they’ll fuse different cuisines to make something new and exciting.

“Greek Fries.” Really, SouvlakiGR? You may have created a new take on the classic French fry (by adding Greek spices and a healthy helping of crumbled feta cheese to them), and they may be wildly popular among your patrons, but we see right through your plan.

If we let this popular Greek food truck get away with this, who knows what madness food carts will try to pull next? Maybe they’ll put gravy and cheese curds in our fries? Or Korean Bulgogi BBQ on our tacos?!


10. Because in the street food game, nothing is sacred.

It's an art. #dinges

A photo posted by Wafels & Dinges (@wafelsanddinges) on

Waffles are for breakfast, and ice cream is for dessert, damn it! And no amount of Nutella, powdered sugar, fresh berries, or people emphatically praising this delicious, delicious sin on Yelp are going to change my mind. I’m looking at you, Wafles & Dinges.


11. And you never know when it’ll surprise you.

unreal #vegan #whatveganseat #cinnamonsnail

A photo posted by Lauren Kelly (@laurenkellly_) on

I think we can all agree, surprises are just terrible. Like at the Cinnamon Snail, an all-vegan food cart that (among a variety of other dishes) even serves donuts. Donuts, people! Imagine, there you are sitting down and enjoying the heaven that is a donut and someone tells you that surprise(!) it’s vegan and therefore likely cruelty-free. That would just ruin your whole day now, wouldn’t it? [feature: Steven Pisano]

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