This scavenger hunt will introduce you to some of NYC’s best street vendors

Compete with your bestie or with an entire group.

Ian Kumamoto
Written by
Ian Kumamoto
Staff Writer
street vending food
Photograph: By Emily Marie Wilson / Courtesy of Shutterstock

New York City’s culinary scene would be nothing without its street vendors, many of whom serve some of the most delicious food across the five boroughs but rarely get the flowers they deserve. 

To spread more love to these small independent businesses, the Street Vendor Project is organizing a giant, citywide scavenger hunt that will encourage New Yorkers to learn more about the street vending community and put some new spots on their foodie radars.

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The multi-part scavenger hunt is taking place across Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens from May 4-17. To play the game, you’ll form a team of up to 10 friends via their registration page. Registered teams will be able to download an app that will give them different missions to complete by answering trivia questions, meeting vendors, and trying their food. 

Once a mission is completed, team members will upload pictures on the app to gain points. The teams will also earn extra points for money they donate to the Street Vendor Project’s translation fund. At the end of the scavenger hunt, the points will be tallied, and winners will be given special prizes. 

The two-week long scavenger hunt kicks off with an outdoor party in Jackson Heights on May 4 where participants will learn about the street vending culture of Little Bangladesh, which is home to about one-third of the city’s Bangladeshi population. 

On Saturday, May 11, the scavenger hunt events will continue at Times Square, where local street vendors will give participants a tour of the area and a history of the blossoming street vending scene there.

The weeks-long scavenger hunt will end in a closing ceremony at A-Pou’s Taste in Williamsburg, a Taiwanese restaurant owned by former street vendor Doris Yao. The May 19 ceremony will involve dumpling tastings, an opportunity to meet other participants, and an award ceremony to crown the winning teams and award prizes. 

Supporting street vendors is also a great way to celebrate the city’s diversity. Among the members of the Street Vendor Project, 25 percent are Mexican, 20 percent are Ecuadorian, 15 percent are Senegalese and 14 percent are Egyptian. 

To learn more and take part in the scavenger hunt, visit the Street Vendor Project’s website; registration is now open.

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