The Absolute Best Food Carts In NYC

In the city that never sleeps, the options for food are far from few. And with a population of over 8 million people, per the 2021 Census, meals come in every shape and size. From dozens of Michelin-starred restaurants to easy late-night eats for party-goers, New Yorkers aren't low on choice. Food carts are undeniably a crucial element of the city's culinary landscape, serving up international cuisines and familiar comfort foods.

Oysters and clams from the nearby harbors were the first street eats, according to the New York Food Truck Association (NYFTA), and by the 1950s, ice cream trucks joined in. Nowadays, NYC health restrictions limit the number of permits given to mobile vendors to a few thousand, leading to an unfortunate underground market. While operators must deal with several bureaucratic factors, city dwellers are faced with an abundance of delicious meals at seemingly every street corner.

All the same, there's amazing street food and then there's the kind of stuff that will put you out for a few days. Discover the absolute best food carts in NYC to satisfy all of your cravings and discover new dishes in the process.

Tacos El Bronco

Tacos are a great candidate for street food since they already come in a portable format. Plus, there are countless ways to customize the fillings and create new menu options without having to make major changes. Tacos El Bronco, a Brooklyn-based food truck, is typically stationed near Sunset Park on 37th and 5th, and the lineup and tempting aromas will make it easy to identify. Word on the street says you can even call ahead to place an order for pickup.

YouTube foodie JL Jupiter identifies Tacos El Bronco as having the best tacos in the city, and it's hard to argue with the statement. With authentic Mexican fillings like beef tongue, veal head, and pork stomach, it's worth stepping outside the box of ordinary taco meats and tasting something unique. Of course, standard cuts of beef, chicken, and pork are available if you'd rather play it safe.

The tacos might look small but they're stuffed to the brim, optimizing the tortilla to filling ratio, as observed by The Infatuation. The outlet recommends dipping the beef stew (birria) tacos in a side of consomé to maximize the interplay of textures and savory flavors. At about $2.50 per taco, feel free to experiment with assorted fillings to get a taste of everything on offer. The truck also operates a brick-and-mortar location on 4th Avenue, if you're looking to enjoy an indoor atmosphere (via NY Magazine).

The Halal Guys

Food cart success stories don't get much more inspirational than The Halal Guys. Founded in 1990 by three Egyptian immigrants who started off selling hot dogs, the business has since expanded to include hundreds of franchises across five countries. Still, the original Midtown location on 53rd Street and 6th Avenue continues to receive a steady influx of clients, eager to dig into a hearty meal for around $10.

Whether or not you only eat halal meat, you shouldn't hesitate before getting in line to taste the mouthwatering dishes. The menu options are straightforward and consist of either a platter with rice or a pita sandwich with your choice of chicken, beef gyro, falafel, or a combination of proteins, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, extra toppings, and most importantly, the famous white and hot sauces. The contents of the famous white sauce were the source of speculation for decades until the food cart recently swapped its squeeze bottles for sauce packets labeled with the ingredients. The verdict? It's a mayo-based sauce with unidentified natural flavors (via DNA Info).

In the past, other halal food vendors have set up shop with similar names close to the first location to cash in on the popular business, per the New York Post. However, the OG Halal Guys ultimately took legal action to limit obvious copycats.

NY Dosas

If you can't make it to Southern India or Sri Lanka to try the ubiquitous dosa, then a visit to NY Dosas in Washington Square Park should do the trick. The crepe-like snack is made with fermented rice and lentils and comes with a choice of potato or potato and vegetable filling. You'll also get lentil soup and coconut chutney with every order, making this food cart a vegan and gluten-free dream. Other meals are also available, as well as a selection of 40 drinks, but really, you can't skip the dosas.

From Monday to Saturday at lunchtime, swarms of people patiently wait for the crispy treats, which strike the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. Going strong for 20 years now, Thiru Kumar, aka the Dosa Man, has received plenty of praise — including as the winner of the Best Street Food in NYC in 2007 by The Street Vendor Project. Kumar and his heavenly dosas have been featured in countless publications, from print sources like Washington Square News and The News Minute to YouTube channels like Munchies — as a street food icon, no less.


Although tacos conveniently come in their own edible holder, they can be messy. A visit to Birria-Landia will leave you licking your fingers, and it's well worth it. Since opening the original location in Jackson Heights, Queens, a mere few years ago, the food truck has added two more parking spots in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Praised with two stars by Pete Wells, who awarded it The New York Times Critic's Pick and deemed it responsible for changing the "taco landscape," you won't want to miss out.

The Tijuana-style tacos are loaded with birria, a beef stew with a richly spiced marinade. The tortilla itself is dipped in fatty beef juice and grilled to infuse extra flavor. Oh, and you're meant to dip each bite into the birria broth that you would be a fool not to order. There aren't many options on the menu because you should be getting the birria tacos, but tostadas and a quesadilla dish with birria are also available. Tacos and tostadas sell for $3.50 apiece, quesadillas for $4.50, and the consomé for $4.50 to $6, depending on the size.

Patacon Pisao

Venezuelan food might not be as omnipresent as other Latin American cuisines, but Patacon Pisao will turn you into an immediate fan. Not to mention, anyone on a gluten-free diet can rejoice at the fact that the iconic sandwiches are made with two slices of smashed and fried plantain instead of bread. You'll find plenty of hearty meat fillings and a few bean-based vegetarian options, too. Or make your own by choosing from a selection of fillings. A number of other menu items are on offer, including rice and meat bowls with toppings, arepas, salads, and burrito-like concoctions.

With recipes inspired by the founder's mother's cooking (per The New York Times), diners are in for an authentic treat. The original food truck can be found in Inwood, Washington Heights, where it all began over 15 years ago. Today, storefront locations in the Lower East Side and Elmhurst, Queens keep patacon-lovers satisfied. Depending on how much you load them up, the sandwiches range from $10 to $15. Featured on dozens of media outlets, including a Food Insider video on YouTube that outlines the entire process, you'll want to get your hands on one of these stuffed creations as soon as possible.

King of Souvlaki

When a place incorporates royalty in its name, you know it's going to be good. And with over 40 years of business, these authentic Greek eats have survived the test of time. The King of Souvlaki food cart first set up shop parked in Astoria, Queens, serving up charcoal wood grilled souvlaki meat. Since then, a few additional food trucks and a restaurant have opened up in Queens, Brooklyn, and Midtown, turning the family-run business into a serious operation.

Customers have the choice of pork or chicken souvlaki, assorted gyro meats, gyro pita or hero sandwiches, platters, salads, and mixed sides. Relying on fresh ingredients, family recipes, and a marinade that the chefs deem to be the secret to their success (per NYFTA), anyone craving Greek food could make a beeline for one of the truck locations. In case you don't have cash, the trucks are conveniently fitted with an ATM for easy withdrawals (via The Infatuation).

Wafels & Dinges

Wafels & Dinges brings a piece of Belgian culture to the streets of NYC, with its selection of waffles and sweet toppings. In an effort to demonstrate that waffles are so much more than textured pancakes (per the insistence of King Albert II of Belgium, no less), the duo behind this venture started making these authentic Belgian treats from a food truck.

The waffles in question are the authentic Liège style, which is slightly crispy and decadently chewy, with pearls of caramelized sugar scattered throughout the batter. Buy snack-sized wafelinis, full-sized waffles, or chocolate-coated chocolinis, and choose among various add-ons like fudge, dulce de leche, Speculoos cookie butter, fruit, bacon, and whipped cream. Round out your sweet snack with a steaming cup of Belgian hot cocoa.

This food truck has franchises across the country now, though it all began in NYC. Find it in the Big Apple at one of three locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. According to the NYFTA, the Belgian specialties have been praised by Bobby Flay, The Daily Meal, and Time Out, just to name a few fans. The price varies a fair bit depending on how you deck out your waffle, but you'll want to bring at least $12 if you're opting for toppings.

Mysttik Masaala

Mysttik Masaala prides itself on being a magical Indian food cart, which is pretty much what you can expect. The owner began operating the food truck to commemorate his son, an avid chef passionate about food (via NY City Lens). He accomplishes his goal by serving fresh, nutritious, authentic Indian food, and with menu descriptions like "sexy spinach," it sure attracts customers. And awards: It was the winner of Vendy's best vegan food cart award in 2016. Make no mistake, there is nothing lacking in the flavor department here.

Every visit is a chance to try something new from the continually changing menu. Offerings include snacks (you can't go wrong with a samosa), vegetarian and vegan dishes (chickpeas, lentils, and beans galore), some chicken options (yes, you can order butter chicken), and an assortment of naan wraps if you need your goodies enveloped in a hot pillowy flatbread. Endless spices make each meal the perfect combination of unexpected flavors and familiar aromas. For the ultimate sensory journey without spending much more than $15, make your way to Brooklyn or Long Island City.

Makina Cafe

If you have yet to taste Ethiopian or Eritrean food, make a beeline for Makina Cafe's food truck, often found at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. Keep an eye on its social media pages for location updates, or try the upcoming restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens (via LIC Post). Born in Ethiopia, the owner Eden G. Egziabher is the first Eritrean-American female entrepreneur in NYC, and she's a natural at sharing her passion for Ethiopian-Eritrean specialties.

The menu is highly customizable, and customers choose from a base (rice or injera, a sourdough flatbread), two veggie dishes (such as collard greens with cardamom and garlic), a choice of protein (marinated or stewed chicken or beef, or more vegetables), and sauce to top it all off. Enjoy your meal the traditional way, by ripping off pieces of injera to scoop up the various dollops of vibrantly flavored dishes. And if you're in need of caffeine, Ethiopian coffee is among the best; in fact, it may very well be the original source of coffee according to legend (via National Coffee Association USA).

Mom's Momo

If this is the first you're hearing about momos, thank us later. But first, make your way to Mom's Momo food truck in Jackson Heights, Queens. These juicy Tibetan dumplings are handmade and come filled with a variety of ingredients, such as chicken, vegetables, and beef. Try them steamed and pan-fried to get the full range of textural experience, and don't forget the sauce — the hot chili and white sauces are popular favorites and the ideal duo (via The Infatuation).

Aside from the momos (which you can't leave without trying), pork buns, noodle dishes, and Tibetan wraps are also available, per Roaming Hunger. What the menu lacks in length it more than makes up for in flavor. For dumpling lovers who think they've tried it all, a stop at Mom's Momo will infuse just the right amount of novelty and comfort to keep you coming back for more.

Gorilla Cheese

Gorilla Cheese took everyone's favorite comfort food and made it accessible streetside. With quality ingredients like freshly baked bread, cheese from near and far, and fine meats, this isn't merely a Kraft Singles affair (but you can order that too if you're a purist). Otherwise, pick from one of the classic menu options like Asiago or Swiss, consider a dipping sauce (balsamic or hot sauce are favorites), and load up on add-ons (bacon or pulled pork, perhaps?).

If you're ready to take your grilled cheese game to the next level, the specialty sammies are teeming with possibilities for only $8. We're talking triple cream brie with prosciutto di Parma and strawberry preserves, chicken parm with smoked mozzarella and marinara, and the list goes on. Aside from the cheesy delights, side dishes include crispy tater tots, mac and cheese (yes, more cheese), and tomato soup. If you can't get enough of the cheese-fueled menu, the truck can even be hired to cater events.

Uncle Gussy's

A quick stop for Greek food is always an option in our books, and once you try Uncle Gussy's, you'll understand the sentiment. According to the founders, their food truck was the first of its kind worldwide. The original truck tends to stick to its Midtown location at 51st Street and Park Avenue, where the family first sold salty snacks in the '70s.

From the beginning in 1971, selling hot dogs and pretzels, to the current truck that serves up quality Greek favorites like gyro meats (pork, beef, lamb, and chicken), pita wraps, and salads, this family has found a winning combination. While the menu is definitely meat-centric, a veggie platter with fried zucchini balls, rice, feta, and salad is suitable for vegetarians.

Look out for daily specials created by the family matriarchs to highlight authentic Mediterranean dishes. The cooks aren't skimping on ingredients; the primary seasoning (lemon, olive oil, oregano, and salt) is imported from Greece. And if you have a sweet tooth, word on the streets is that the baklava is out of this world. Uncle Gussy's specialties were showcased on Food Network's "Eat St." and there's no doubt that the owners and customers are equally passionate about the food.

The Dumpling Wagon

One of our favorite ways of consuming delicious ingredients is in a pillowy pouch of goodness, and that's exactly the formula you'll find at The Dumpling Wagon. The handmade dumplings are made following family recipes and offer up some of the most authentic Chinese flavors you'll find in a food truck. Oh, and it's no ordinary truck — we're talking a full-sized Blue Bird bus. To stay in the loop regarding the bus' whereabouts, check out its Instagram page as it rides through the various boroughs.

The menu changes seasonally, but you can expect mouthwatering pan-fried dumplings with fillings like Shanghai pork, beef (with cabbage, ginger, scallions, etc.), mixed vegetables, or BBQ chicken (with cheddar, green onion, sesame, etc.). You'll find some fusion styles on rotation, such as mac and cheese or pumpkin spice for autumn lovers. Keep an eye out for dessert dumplings (s'mores, or Nutella and Frosted Flakes), which sometimes make an appearance at the food truck. Dumplings aside, the Chinese scallion pancake with hoisin sauce is a must-try, while the sesame-soy cucumber salad is pleasantly refreshing.


Sandwiches are the meal on offer here, and you can bet that they aren't just boring and basic. With an active food truck and catering business, the folks at Stuf'd definitely keep busy. The food truck is regularly on the move feeding hungry customers and attending fun events, so keep an eye on its Twitter account to find its location.

For starters, there's no plain white bread to be seen; house-made Parmesan-crusted challah bread is the star of the show. Stuffings include Buffalo chicken, turkey meatballs with maple marinara, pulled pork, and a vegetarian quesadilla-style creation. Plus, all orders come with waffle fries and extra sauce to round out your meal. You'll want to stay for dessert and try a French toast pastry loaded with Oreo cheesecake, banana white chocolate, or classic s'mores.

Stuf'd is constantly looking for new ways to innovate and work with its fans. Prices vary depending on the sandwich fillings, but you're looking at around $15 to $20 — you'll definitely feel stuffed after!

DiSO's Italian Sandwich Society

Sandwich eaters can find DiSO's Italian Sandwich Society's two trucks from Monday to Friday at various intersections in Midtown and the Financial District. Adam DiSilvestro, the owner, grew up partaking in the never-ending search for the best Italian sandwich, ultimately founding his business to share the tradition. Since then, the food truck has received plenty of enthusiastic praise from the likes of CBS and Daily News, and it was featured in Season 6 of the Food Network's "The Great Food Truck Race."

Here the menu doesn't aim to be the trendiest mishmash of ingredients but instead highlights the features that make Italian deli specialties so easy to gobble down. Sandwiches come in three formats (hero, half, or focaccia half) with your choice of bread (rustica Italian, ciabatta, focaccia, or rustica whole wheat). The hard part is actually settling on a filling from the various categories. Prosciutto, salami, capicola, meat combos, veggies, mortadella, chicken, and soppressata are all possible starting points, not to mention the "Goodfellas" section of the menu.

While you'll want to taste an assortment anyway, some popular creations include Lefty Louie (prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula, Parmesan, and glazed balsamic), Big Pauly (breaded chicken cutlet Parmigiano, mozzarella, marinara, and basil), and Joey Shakes (prosciutto, capicola, salami, provolone, hot peppers, arugula, Parmesan, herbed ricotta, and glazed balsamic). Word to the wise: Come with an appetite or stick to a half sandwich. Prices range from about $8.50 to $13.50, with possible add-ons like vegetables, cheeses, and sauces for extra.

Jerk Pan

For anyone eager to step outside their usual lunchtime rut, a Caribbean meal from Jerk Pan's food truck is the way to go. In case you can't make it to the Midtown parking spot (corner of 48th Street and Park Avenue), this succulent cuisine is available for delivery, too. Plates come in a mini size (still big) or a larger portion which comes with an extra side dish, ranging from $12 to $17 for a satiating meal.

Customer menu favorites include perfectly seasoned jerk chicken and oxtail, both of which come with rice, beans, and gravy. Lesser-known Jamaican specialties like callaloo (spicy sautéed greens) and saltfish are worth tasting, while curried goat or shrimp, jerk wings, and fried chicken are sure to satisfy your hunger. The truck has been going strong for over 10 years, as evidenced by the continuous lineup at lunchtime. The owners don't even have a social media presence, yet customers in the know keep coming for the tropical eats (via CBS).

Hard Times Sundaes

There's nothing like taking a bite of a juicy burger, and that bite is even more satisfying when you can get it from a food truck. Hard Times Sundaes prioritizes fresh quality ingredients so that the rich savory flavor of grilled meat stands out without being overwhelmed by dozens of unnecessary add-ons. Although the owner's previous luncheonette was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, his pivot to a food truck has been a success (via The New York Times). 

The burger menu is straightforward with four main options — single, double, triple, or turkey — ranging from $8 to $15. Customers can choose three toppings from classics like onions (caramelized or diced), pickles, cheese, tomato, lettuce, mushrooms, and jalapeños. Add bacon for extra, or opt for one of two creations labeled "The Works." Alternatively, the signature double cheeseburger with bacon is always a win. An assortment of side potato dishes are available, like shoestring and sweet potato fries or tater tots, or grab an order of onion rings or mac and cheese bites.

You can't miss the burgers, which have been classified as the best in the city according to Bloomberg, Grub Street, Brooklyn Magazine, and more, but other dishes like wings, hot dogs, sandwiches, chili, and sweet treats are also available. You'll find the truck in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


Although Bangladeshi and Indian cuisine sometimes get jumbled together, the two are distinct, and it's time more people knew about the former. Tong is the first Bangladeshi street food truck in the U.S., and once you taste the offerings, you'll want to keep coming back. With various locations in Queens and The Bronx (including a recently opened storefront), you'll be able to experiment with plenty of dishes and satisfy your cravings for novel flavors.

The key item to order is the fuchka, made with a puffed unleavened wheat dough that acts like a crispy spherical container. Tong's classic filling consists of yellow peas, potatoes, red onions, and shaved egg yolks, topped with sweet or spicy tamarind-infused water (via The Infatuation). It's definitely the type of snack that can make a mess, so don't hesitate to eat it in one bite. Other fuchka variations — and a small assortment of Bangladeshi street foods, like chapati and lassi — will delight your senses for around $10.

Jiannetto's Pizza

It wouldn't be a list of NYC food carts without a contender for pizza. Of course, there's no shortage of slice spots scattered around the city, but there's always room for more cheesy goodness. Jiannetto's Pizza now operates three trucks in the city, but it all started in 1998 with a single truck on Wall Street. The owner Joe Jiannetto makes his pizza according to a family recipe, and it has gained plenty of recognition from outlets like Barstool Sports, New York Magazine, and as a Vendy Cup finalist.

Grandma's pizza, a thin-crusted Sicilian-style pie loaded with plum tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil is definitely the move here. It comes by the slice ($2.75) or as a whole pie ($19) if you're feeding a few. As the owner describes, the cheese is melted into the crust, ensuring that every bite is decadently cheesy. Other menu offerings include chicken, meatball, or eggplant parmigiana hero sandwiches, Sicilian rice balls, and assorted pasta dishes. If you need a caterer for an upcoming event, dozens of other options are available. Be sure to check out the weekly specials if you're looking for a deal.


It doesn't get more convenient and portable than an empanada. These Argentinian treats are the star of the show at Nuchas, a successful food truck operation with kiosk locations around NYC. Ariel Barbouth and his wife Leni set about sharing the delicious baked good with New Yorkers over a decade ago and even sought additional investors on Shark Tank in 2019. Although the deal was denied, the business has continued to expand, and frozen empanadas can now be shipped around the country for fans who just can't get enough.

The classic empanada is an instant favorite, made with ground beef, red peppers, scallions, potatoes, and green olives. The menu has a variety of meat, vegetarian, and vegan options like chipotle chicken, Italian sausage, spicy cheese, and shiitake curry, all encased in baked dough pouches. Finish them off with a Nutella, chocolate, and fruit empanada, and you'll understand what the hype is all about. If you're more interested in sweet tastes, don't miss the medialunas, Argentina's take on a croissant.