Indian Fast Food Cart

I know not everyone works on 48th st. between 6th & 7th ave., so I’ve been trying to branch out whenever possible, and try places that while out of the way for me- might be your favorite lunch spot.  Some of the places that might be close to you- but far from me that I’ll be hitting up in the next few weeks:  ‘wichcraft, Burger Joint, Pampano Taqueria, Men Kui Tei, Zip Burger, Jiannetto’s Pizza Cart, & Arang- just to name a few.

The other day, I ventured out of my way (based on a suggestion from a reader) and tried the Indian food vendor cart on 53rd & Park.  While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend walking too far out of your way to eat at this cart- it could possibly be one of the greatest deals in all of Midtown for anyone who works close to it.

Ordering is really simple.  You have two choices, the vegetarian meal ($3.99) or the chicken meal ($4.99).  Each day, both entrees will change- but the menu doesn’t.  It’s either the vegetarian choice, or the chicken choice.  Both entrees come with rice, dal (lentils), bread and salad (which is just some lettuce).  On the day I was there, the vegetarian entree was mixed vegetables, and the chicken, was Chicken Tikka Masala.

What I ordered, pictures and the +/-, after the jump…

I went with the Chicken Tikka Masala which was served in a styrofoam container with dal, lettuce, and bread (as advertised).  The flavor of the chicken was fine, and not too spicy.  The dal was also fine, and the rice did it’s job as well.  Nothing spectacular, but for $5, it was tasty and filling.

Now for the downfall.  Bread is one of my favorite things about eating Indian food.  I usually can down a whole order of Naan by myself, and lord help me when there’s all you can eat bread at an Indian buffet.  I’m also a big fan of paratha (like the kind at Kati Roll).  What I’m not a big fan of, if a half a slice of plain (borderline stale) pita bread.  Not with Indian food anyway.  Give me a thing of hummus, and that might be ok- but with Indian food, I want the real deal.  I understand as a cart, you may be limited- and maybe good naan or paratha needs to be made fresh, but that doesn’t put the bread in my stomach!

I enjoyed my lunch, and I love eating at carts like this.  It’s fun, and tasty and cheap… but they’ve gotta do something about the bread if they’re going to get me to venture out of my way.  There’s too much good Indian food in Midtown… although in their defense, none of it costs $3.99!!!

I got an order of Samosas as well, which were perfectly fine- but nothing to write home about.  At $1.99, it brought my lunch to a whopping $7.00 for plenty of food.  Good lunch (not great) if you’re on a budget, and work in the area… but not worth traveling too far out of your way for (more then once anyway).

THE + (What people who like this place would say)

  • It’s super cheap.  $3.99 for a vegetarian entree, dal, rice, and bread is a steal!
  • It’s fun to eat and support carts like this.  It’s a two woman operation… don’t know if they’re there every day, but they seemed real nice, and made you want to come back.
  • Different entree every day makes it a nice surprise… you never know what you’re gonna get
  • Not too spicy (if you like that sort of thing)
  • Great, if you’re on a budget, and work really close

THE – (What people who don’t like it would say)

  • There’s much better Indian food to be had in Midtown
  • The bread is just a half a piece of pita bread (no Naan or Paratha)
  • Only two options
  • Not worth going out of your way for
  • Not spicy enough (some people like it hot!)

Indian Fast Food Cart, 53rd st. & Park (SE corner)


  • Its not pita, its chappati! I like this place a lot actually, not too greasy and pretty authentic. Admittedly it is also on my block… Anyways, I always get the vegetarian choice. Their saag was very good a couple of days ago.


    Actually, it was definitely not chapati.  It was a stale-ish pita bread thing.  I’ve heard the cart gives out both… maybe you have to get there early for the chapati.  -zach

  • How do they make a profit? Also, I think you should add a section to each post re: the state of your digestive system the next day. ;)

  • Does anyone know what happened to the Indian Fast Food cart? For the past two days I’ve looked for it at its usual Park and 53rd location, but it wasn’t there. Please tell me this is just a temporary absence.

  • It’s been almost two weeks now and still no cart. I’m getting worried.

  • This food looks ok

  • I tried this place after reading your raving reviews. Can’t say it’s the best Indian food I’ve ever had, but it’s definitely better than you’d expect for $4.99. It’s an awesome find!

  • Did anybody notice the newspaper cutout on the “Indian
    Fast Food” truck refering to “Indian on Park Avenue”? Well,
    it is cut out of a British rag, refering to different truck on
    on different park avenue in a different continent two
    decades ago!! If that’s not flagrantly deceptive advertising
    I don’t know what is! Shamelessly, this truck serves sub-par
    mushy broken rice, wilted lettuce and stale bread. It’s only
    5 bucks, but you’ll feel ripped off…

  • Just splendid! I goto them atleast 3 times a week. Great choice for a cheap and tasty food.

  • They have not been there for the past 2 days (Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th) :(

  • Has anyone ever seen pizza sold from a sidewalk vendor?

  • Where the heck in NYC would a sidewalk vendor store his/her cart?

  • The one woman at this cart is super rude every single day and I’ve eaten there numerous times (at least 20-30). Its such a turn off that I will never go back. Also, one time I found a small rock in the food – no joke.

  • Went there today. The prices have gone up to $4.99 for the vegetarian and $5.99 for the chicken.

    The bread didn’t seem to be the one pictured above, but I’d have to believe it is just as bad. This one tasted like a bad store-bought pie crust soaked in oil and fried.

    The dishes, though, were pretty good. Flavorful and spicy.

  • Has anyone seen this cart? It hasn’t been around for the last few days. I’m wondering if they have moved.

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    It is difficult to consider the ooze they serve as food. Try not to refer to the choices by their Indian name – you will likely end up asking them to puke on your plate, as clearly misunderstood by the resultant “Tikka masala.” There is better Indian food in midtown, and one is strongly urged to pay a couple extra bucks for Indian food someplace else: the only thing cheap about this lunch is the flavor. If you’ll pay $6 for a soggy bed of oil-soaked rice, with depressing hocks of meat eerily similar to the pigeons crooning nearby, please do not post recommendations on this blog.

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    I just tried going and it wasn’t there. There are reviews of this place on Yelp as recent as July 2010.

    I’m reluctant to visit any food cart I find online because half the time they don’t even exist anymore.

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