OK, I admit it… the above picture looks like vomit.
But here’s the thing: it tastes really good and it’s dirt cheap. That’s why I eat it two to three times a week.
Although I’ve written about cart food before, I haven’t sampled much of it. Sure, I’ve had the odd pretzel here and there, and even a hot dog if I’m feeling brave . But that fully prepared stuff? I tend to stay away.
After a few months at the new NYC job, however, I became bored with deli sandwiches. I craved something more substantial. And yet, my lunch budget wouldn’t allow anything new that spiked above the $5 – $10 range.
Enter: the chicken and rice plate.
For a mere $5, you get a complete meal that’s tasty, filling and not terribly bad for you. Best of all, it’s not as scary as you think.
Here’s what goes into it:
- Dirty or yellow rice: well-seasoned and flavorful
- A small salad: generally of lettuce and tomato
- Chunks of chicken: soaked in a secret-spice marinade and combined on the grill with onions, carrots and peppers
- Sauce(s): a creamy, slightly tangy white one and/or a spicy red deal
(For only $1 more, you can get a combo of chicken and doner kebab lamb.)
The two carts I frequent are only a block away from each other, but they each have a distinct take on chicken and rice.
- On 60th Street, close to Broadway, they give you bigger chunks of shredded chicken, but no choice of rice. This is the one pictured.
- The 59th Street, between Broadway and Ninth, location has smaller, less tender pieces of chicken, but provides a choice of rice. The red sauce is also a good deal spicier.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either of these place, or most of the carts in the city. I’ve found this food to be the absolute best value for a New York City lunch.
Now, if they could only do something about those styrofoam containers…