Secret Street Food of Midtown: Ecuadorian on 46th
I admit it’s not for everybody, but I love eating food off the street, here and abroad. Meat on a stick in Bali, everything in Thailand, raw clams in Chile… I could go on and on. There’s something about eating on the sidewalk that is fun and exciting to me, and here in Midtown we have some amazing food carts. But there is also that step below food cart that pops up every once awhile- like the lady selling tamales in front of the Mexican Embassy, or the Japanese delivery guys selling bento boxes on 50th St. btw. 6+7th. These are my favorite discoveries, and last week I finally tried a new one on 46th btw. 5+6th.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked by this lady standing on 46th St. with a grocery pushcart filled with styrofoam packages. Usually out there around 1pm, she sells containers of Ecuadorian food to workers in the area for $6-7. I don’t know where she comes from, or where she goes when she’s done, but I can tell you this: if there is a random lady, selling homemade food in styrofoam containers on a random street in Midtown, I want to know about it. I want to eat her food. No matter what is…
After months of sometimes seeing her, and sometimes not, I think I have figured out how the whole thing operates. 1pm, she arrives with her basket full of goodies, sometimes hot food, like a stewed meat with rice and beans, sometimes it’s cold food, like a seafood ceviche. One item only, and it changes every day. No choice necessary- you take what she’s got, or you eat somewhere else. On the day I finally managed to track her down (and not have any other plans for lunch), I was there at 1:05pm. The dish of the day, fish ceviche, served with white rice, and lentil soup, bag o’ popcorn and a soda, all for $6.50.
To those less adventurous eaters- yes, I ate fish ceviche, of unknown providence, from an (obviously unrefrigerated) grocery cart, pushed by a random lady in the middle of Midtown. And it was delicious! Perhaps I have a stomach a steel (in which case I should warn “don’t try this at home”?), but I don’t think that’s necessarily it. In fact, I’d rather eat fish ceviche, from a random Ecuadorian lady, who made the food herself, then a hamburger from a disgusting fast food place, made by some high school kid who could care less if something from his giant corporate employer makes you sick. So take that, germ freaks!
At approximately 1:07 I took the food to the park across the street (btw. 5+6th and 45+46th) to take photos of my booty, before returning to work. At 1:15 I walked by the spot to say thank you, and the lady was gone! Poof… up and disappeared. The mysteries of random Midtown street carts will never be fully answered… and I can’t guarantee that she will be there when you decide you’d like to try her magical Ecuadorian food. But I can tell you this… sometimes she is there. It’s usually between 1 and 1:10 pm, and if you have no food fears, and manage to catch her, you’ll be treated to a fun and exciting Midtown Lunch. (If you don’t catch her, there’s always Cafe Cello across the street.)
THE + (What people who like this will say)
- Is there anything more fun than eating from a random Ecuadorian lady in Midtown?
- Ton of food for $6-7. Plus you get a free soda.
- Right across the street from a great outdoor seating area, perfect for enjoying your lunch
THE – (What people who don’t like this will say)
- It’s tough to track her down. Sometimes she’s there, sometimes she isn’t. It’s a mystery (and an adventure).
- There’s only one choice per day, so if you don’t like what she has got, you’ll have to go somewhere else.
- If you don’t speak basic spanish, it may be difficult to find out exactly what it is she is selling.
- There is better (and “safer”) Ecuadorian food on 47th btw. 5+6th at El Rincon del Sabor
- I’m a loser who thinks that food being sold on the street is sketchy!
Ecuadrian Food Lady, 46th btw. 5+6th St. (around 1pm???).