By Adam Poplawski
During lunch time in New York, people line the streets looking for a relatively cheap food option, and now, food trucks are part of that ever-growing list of choices.
Although Halal carts, like Halal Brothers dominate the scene throughout the five boroughs, there is plenty of competition from other food trucks and stands, such as Waffles and Dinges.
Food Trucks exploded into the New York dining scene in the past decade and their presence has been growing ever since. Now, in addition to the already plentiful Halal carts, there are food trucks that serve Thai, Vegan, and even Polish food. Food trucks aren’t just cheap eats and have evolved into a medium that has more expensive options as well.
“I love food trucks because they’re so accessible and usually have great food, and they’re not too expensive,” said Joyce Ling, a student at John Jay.
Ling added one of her favorite meals was chicken over rice from the local Halal truck outside of the school. Its flavorful meat, balanced with a variety of sauces and rice makes it a popular choice at John Jay.
Waffles & Dinges, which makes fresh Belgian and Liege waffles, was able to branch out from a food truck into established food stands and even a brick and mortar location in the East Village. Their success is a path that many food truck owners would like to emulate, but that usually means an increase in prices.
The waffles at Waffles & Dinges are not the airy waffles that Americans are used to. Instead, they are Liege waffles, which are dough based waffles, as opposed to the batter based ones that most of us know and love. They’re hot, crispy and sweet due to the Belgian pearl sugar that is folded into the waffle dough. When they hit the waffle iron they expand slightly and an amazing smell fills the air.
You can eat one plain and be completely satisfied, most eat it with whipped cream and speculoos, their famous cookie butter spread made from spiced Belgian cookies.
“Well, I’ve always wanted to try food trucks but I’m always afraid of the sanitary issues,” said Christina Zhu.
Some people are worried about the safety of the food in food trucks, and the image of mice running underneath a hot dog stand is one that can definitely traumatize some.
Food trucks and stands now dominate nearly every major street, especially those that are surrounded by office buildings. Food trucks do not spend money on rent, but they still need licences and must go through other bureaucratic steps to get their food to us.
“The halal trucks are my favorite, and I feel all the trucks break up the street and make them feel more welcoming,” said Vincent Blandino, a student at John Jay.
The extremely popular Halal Brothers is another example of a food truck that evolved into owning a storefront. It is one of the most heavily reviewed eateries in the entire city, sitting at just over 6000 yelp reviews, averaging four and a half out of five stars.
They are known for their chicken and lamb over rice, and especially for their famous white sauce. The line at the Halal Brother’s location in Midtown always stretches to the end of the street with hungry tourists and professionals waiting for their food.
Although food trucks can be affordable, one New York resident, Kevin Ching, said “I like how food trucks offer some variety from other lunch places, but I often find that the food trucks are overpriced.”