NYC Cravings Brings Taiwanese Fried Chicken Awesomeness to the Mobile Food Scene
I have to give Danny from Food in Mouth full and complete credit for this one. On Friday he posted about the newest truck to hit the mobile food scene here in New York City: NYC Cravings. Terrible name… but the food sounded intriguing. At the end of his post he begged them to come to Midtown for lunch, and yesterday they obliged- parking on 45th btw. 6+7th. Huge crowds turned out for their Taiwanese style fried chicken, served over rice with “a secret pork sauce” and by 1:15 they were out of food.
I was lucky enough to be there on the early side, and got to try what could be my new favorite truck in New York City.
$6 buys you a single piece of fried chicken (leg & thigh), served over rice which has been topped by this ground pork and sour cabbage mixture (that will be familiar to anybody who has ever eaten at places like the Excellent Pork Chop House). Despite only being open for less than 10 days, the food from this truck is already spot on. The chicken is perfectly fried, moist on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside. There’s no batter on the chicken, it’s more about the fatty skin getting super crispy.
The fried chicken is good, but what takes this to the next level is the pork sauce. Salty, with a vague hint of sweetness, the ground pork and sour cabbage is a perfect flavor explosion counterpart to the fried chicken and white rice- and there is nothing like it in Midtown right now. (Well, nothing like it for $6 out of a truck!) Next time, I’m asking for extra pork sauce.
They also are serving dumplings, which caused a bit of confusion among office workers who *don’t* read Midtown Lunch (can you believe they still exist?) I can’t tell you how many people i heard walking by say “Oh, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck got a new paint job?!” Of course, once you try the food there is no confusing the two. At 4 for $3 they are still overpriced (when compared to Chinatown), but they are more similar to traditional Chinatown dumplings than Rickshaw.
They were out of pork dumplings, so I had to settle on the vegan dumplings (I know, I know). Filled with a mixture of Chinese vegetables, a few commenters and people on the line complained that they were bland. I thought they were perfectly fine… once you smothered them with the provided dumpling sauce. They’re not super stuffed with filling- plus they are steamed, so you don’t get that little bit of crispy wrapper on the outside. But, unlike Rickshaw, the wrappers are the doughy Chinatown style wrapper- so if that’s what you’re into it, you’ll be much happier with these. And if you’re a Vegan you’ll be super happy (although eating at this cart and not trying their pork sauce would be a crime against humanity.) I’m guessing the pork dumplings are better.
I’ll admit I didn’t have high hopes for this 9 day old cart, and I normally give places a little more time to perfect what they’re doing before posting about them… but if what you’re doing doesn’t need any work- than why wait? For those of us who wished we worked in Chinatown, this is our new favorite truck. I’ll admit though, it wasn’t all fun and games… there were some serious service issues, but that’s to be expected for a brand new truck- especially one that gets slammed the way they got slammed yesterday. The service was incredibly slow, and they haven’t gotten the cooking down to a science yet. (After I was served, the guy right after me waited another 15 minutes for the new batch of rice to finish cooking.) But I’m sure all that will improve with time. I just hope they don’t sacrifice any of the quality, and if it in 2 or 3 weeks it still takes 30 minutes to get your chicken, then I would start to get critical.
The truck says they plan to park on 45th btw. 6+7th every single Monday, but if you don’t want to wait until next week they’ll be parked on Park Ave. and 24th Street today. And for our Downtown Lunch’ers, they’ll be on Greenwich & Harrison tomorrow. Thursdays they’re near Washington Square park, and Fridays are still TBD, but they might try and look for another Midtown spot on Fridays. At night, they’re near Astor Place. With food this good, as long as they stay away from Chinatown, I think they’re going to do alllllright. You can follow them on their website or Twitter.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The pork and sour cabbage sauce that goes over the rice is amazing
- The fried chicken is perfectly cooked. Moist on the inside and super crispy skin on the outside
- The dumplings are made with the doughy, Chinatown style wrapper (unlike Rickshaw which are made with a super thin wrapper)
- They have an array of great Asian sauces on the truck for you put on top of your food
- Where else can you get Taiwanese food in Midtown? (And from a truck!)
- Did I mention how good the pork sauce was?
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- What’s up with dark meat only? Can we get a breast and wings up in this piece!
- You can get a much version of this food in Chinatown… and for cheaper.
- Which reminds me… can we some pork chops up in this piece!
- The pork sauce is a little too salty… and/or I don’t like sour cabbage.
- The vegan dumplings are a little bland without the sauce
- $3 for 4 dumplings! Who do these people think they are, Rickshaw?
- The dumplings aren’t stuffed with a dense filling, like they are in Chinatown. (And they’re steamed! I like my dumplings pan fried first.)
NYC Cravings Truck, 45th btw. 6+7th on Mondays. www.nyccravings.com