Sure, summer gives us sweltering temperatures, ridiculous sunburns and plenty of sweating in body parts we didn't even know we had, but it also gives us a reason to take advantage of New York's plethora of top-rate food trucks. Vendy Plaza, operating every Sunday noon to 6pm through October 16 at La Marqueta in East Harlem, is an easy one-stop shop of mobile grub, packed with Vendy Award finalists and emerging local food vendors. Ahead of next month's Vendy Awards, here's everything you need to eat at Vendy Plaza:
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Vendy Awards
Arepas at Areparty
Chow down on the adorable—and tasty—Latin American sliders slung by this colorful vendor: warm, fresh-off-the-griddle corn cakes split and stuffed with various combinations of guacamole, cheese, chorizo, pico de gallo, mushrooms and chicken.
Kaya toast at The Malaysian Project
This homestyle vendor offers Malay favorites such as nasi lemak (fragrant coconut rice with all the fixings) and sago pudding, a sweet palm sugar dessert laced with tapioca-like sago pearls. But we love its kaya toast, a breakfast favorite spread with thick coconut jam and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk.
Fruit ices at Brooklyn Coquito
The specialty flavor at this Puerto Rican fruit-ice cart is the titular coquito, a frozen version of the island’s eggnog-like holiday drink that’s laced with coconut and cinnamon. Bright mango, passion fruit and tamarind flavors, all made with real fruit pulp, are also available.
Alfajores at Chasquis
Light, crumbly sandwich cookies stuffed with a variety of smooth fillings, alfajores are beloved across South America. Chasquis takes inspiration from both Peru and Puerto Rico for its alfajores, filling them with Peruvian manjar blanco (dulce de leche), Puerto Rican guava paste, or, in the inspired Alforuica, a combo of both.
Gluten-free desserts at Halety Sweetz
Gluten-avoiding sweets lovers will want to dig into baker Teresa Hogan’s exemplary cookies and cakes. The Choconut, an oatmeal cookie studded with chips and walnuts, is particularly delicious.
Plantain bowls at Cine’s
This Haitian kitchen fries up addictive plantain bowls: think taco bowl, but shaped out of the starchy fruit instead. The crisp shells are filled with tender griot—cubed, fried pork that’s akin to Mexican carnitas—and heaped with fresh, tricolor slaw.
Rum cake at Entremets
The signature dessert at this Haitian bake shop is what you’ll want to order: deep, dark and moist, it’s flavored with vanilla, nutmeg and lime zest, plus plenty of its eponymous spirit.
Jamaican burgers at Hngry Artist
Self-taught NYC chef and caterer “The Hngry Artist” brings Jamaican flavors to her loaded sandwiches and burgers. Keep an eye out, too, for her sticky cola-braised ribs and spicy jerk-pork lasagna.
Vegetarian tacos at Don Taco NYC
For taco lovers who keep it meat-free, taco maestro Alex Arteaga supplies warm corn tortillas folded around a vegetarian filling of nopales (cactus paddle), creamy avocado, diced tomatoes and plenty of fresh cilantro.
Cornbread at Food Therapy
This soul-food caterer brings its much-loved comfort fare to Harlem, serving spicy ribs, BBQ pork wings and gooey mac ‘n’ cheese. Don’t miss the house specialty: fluffy cornbread available in flavors such as blueberry, pumpkin and chocolate.
Empanadas at La Fritanga de Lani
In Nicaragua, a fritanga is a home-style joint that serves up hearty fare such as rice and beans and carne asada. The Plaza’s resident fritanga plates the country’s delicious sweet and savory empanadas, with a golden dough made from blitzed ripe plantains.
Lechon at Lechon La Pirana
A minor celebrity in his Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven, Angel “Papi Chulo” Jimenez serves succulent, machete-carved lechon—Puerto Rican roast pork—from a rickety, flag-emblazoned truck. This summer, catch his juicy, black pepper-and-oregano–rubbed specialty at the Plaza, along with Jimenez’s excellent pastelillos and cold seafood salad.
Potato chips on a stick at Wang’s Crazy Potato
True to their name, these fried-to-order potato chips are, indeed, crazy. Spiralized potatoes are speared onto a stick and then deep-fried, expanding into a crispy coil of salty, starchy goodness that makes for an addictive snack.
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