Friday, July 24, 2009

No Ordinary Street Food

The other night we emerged from The Museum of Modern Art a bit before Midnight, rather bleary eyed after viewing three hours of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (included in that three hours ware at least 30 minutes of head snapping dozing). As we wobbled down 53rd Street, there was this line of about 100 people on the southwest corner of 53rd and sixth that seemed to lead to nowhere. It turns out they were lined up, as they apparently always are, day or night, to be served a helping of chicken and lamb over rice, usually smothered in a special white sauce, from one of New York’s best known Halal street carts, one of many such carts in the city. Halal is a kind of Muslim kosher food, which means simply that the meat is the result of a special slaughtering process. Whatever it is, the cart on 53rd and 6th is one of New York’s most famous street food venues, serving thousands of customers a day. Tourists and natives come from far and wide to stand in line, inhale the fragrance of greasy, overcooked sauces, and to pay as little as $6.00 for a full plate of this Middle Eastern staple. I still haven’t actually had the unique experience of waiting for an hour in anticipation of this special treat, perhaps because Midnight is not my best time of day. Oh, but how the people swear by it! Reprinted here is one customer’s reaction whose words stand in for the opinion of many, many others:

“How can one little cart serve up so much glory? Contemplate THAT while you stand in the line that runs down the block. But it’s worth the wait, esp. if you’re a street food junky. Cheap,filling eats and a colorful cast of characters to entertain you while you wait. And it tastes delicious whether you hit it up at 8 before you head out, or at 4 am before you head to bed.” Geetika A. of New York.

Editor’s Note: Apparently, the authentic and best food is strictly available between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. So don’t be fooled and settle for the second-rate stuff that can be found on the same corner but during normal working hours. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. As is true for so many New Yorkers, it appears that there is only one 8:00 for the lovers of Halal carts.
    But what I want to know is how La Dolce Vita induced such neck snapping dozes?