Your Chance at a Spot in Street Meat Palooza 2

Photo by Blondie and Brownie

One year ago this month, 30 Midtown Lunchers converged to eat 26 containers of street meat from 13 different Midtown carts.  Chicken and lamb over rice was consumed, scores were given, and in the end one cart claimed victory over the others in a completely blind taste taste.  The event was dubbed Street-Meat-Palooza, and the Famous Halal Guys on 53rd & 6th Ave. were declared the winner.

Now, one year later, the top 5 from last year will return and face a new set of challengers in Street Meat Palooza 2!  The tasting event is not open to the public (for logistical reasons), but there is a way for you to be one of the 30 lucky lunchers who gets to attend.

Unlike The Vendy Awards which is a competition that celebrates all street food vendors throughout New York City, Street-Meat-Palooza is a battle over who makes the best chicken and lamb over rice in Midtown.  That’s it.  One dish, 15 carts.  One winner.  No chicken tikka masala.  No jerk chicken or teriyaki chicken.  Chicken + Lamb + Rice + White Sauce + Hot Sauce. And the carts don’t know they’re competing.  The plates of food are ordered on a regular day during lunchtime, each by a different Midtown Luncher.

The top five carts from last year will gain automatic entry into Street Meat Palooza 2, and they are:

1. Famous Halal Guys on the SE Corner of 53rd & 6th
2. XPL on 48th & Park
3. Adham’s Halal on 40th & Broadway
4. Halal Food Cart on NE Corner of Park & 50th
5. Kwik Meal on 45th & 6th

And these two carts will be given automatic wild card spots:

6. Trini Paki Boys (because last year we ordered the wrong rice)
7. Biryani Cart (because a lot has changed since last year, and their Peoples Choice Vendy Award makes them deserving of another shot.)

The remaining 8 slots will be decided by you. If you have a favorite cart (or carts) that you think deserves to be on the list above, post it in the comments. Feel free to nominate or vote for as many carts as you like, even if they have already been nominated by somebody else. The more votes a cart gets, the more likely it will be chosen to participate (and if a cart that you voted for is chosen, you’ll have a chance at being selected to attend the event.) Carts who participated in SMP 1 are still eligible, so if you think one of your favorite carts got a bum deal last year, feel free to nominate them again. The event will go down sometime next week from Noon to 1:30pm at a location to be revealed only to the participants.

Nominations will be closed on Friday (6/26) at Noon. Invitations to the event will be sent out by the end of the weekend. Good luck!

Street-Meat-Palooza: A 13 Cart Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown


  • I wish I could find the guy who ran the Ali Khan Express on 49th & 6th around 99-2004. He was one of the first/few carts that used to keep his grill clean. He left the cart to someone else and we all stopped going. If anyone deserved a shot it was him.

  • I think Carnegie John’s and Tony the Dragon’s plates deserve to be in the competition.

    Tzatziki all the way! Haha.

  • TC – I would think so too, but I’m not sure the tzatziki can win out over the lamb strips that most people despise (I don’t mind. It’s all the same crap anyway).

  • Okay, what the hell. I vote for Carnegie John’s.

  • Carnegie John’s was voted the best white sauce last year anyway. Yea, their lamb isn’t anything exciting but their grilled chicken is alright. I think mentor-pupil thing will work. I like to vote in for Aamir’s if Biryani is wild carding in. I’ll also vote for 100% H&H, even though it’s probably their greek salad w. chicken I favor over the chicken/lamb w. rice.

    Alright, 30 spots this year. I really hope I get a spot. Forget all the other prizes during the year. Haha. I rather be a part of this Street Meet Palooza.

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    cart that did the ML lunch sandwich challenge on NW corner of 55th and park.

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    cart that does the fried shrimp and fried fish and falafel and has 5 kinds of rice on sw corner of 54th and park.

  • Mr. Kahn’s Best on NE corner of 45th and 6th.

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    Dragon ses lamb strips — but the white sauce is one of the better ones. I haven’t tried chicken/lamb over rice there, I”m stuck with #1: steak sandwich w/ mozarella, fried onions and white sauce… and #2: lamb gyro. I need to head over and try CJs for comparison.

  • 100% Healthy & Halal’s on 55th was stan’s first vote. And 100% Halal is the other on 54th and Park. I’ll vote for 100% Halal too. Their chicken/lamb is okay. Not horrific. I like the different choices of rice too.

  • +1 to tony the dragon

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    I’ve been putting off registering on the new website, but you gave me a good reason to now, Zach! give the steak truck at 47th & park some love! I know they may not get the votes for SMP2, but Zach, you gotta try out their chicken over rice, it gives XPL a run with its flavor…

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    100% h&h here too…although i split one with my friend and she eats the rice and i eat the salad (we get extra salad)…gotta stay a LITTLE healthy. oh, fine, i get a ton of white sauce on it. sigh.

  • What will we bring from the Biryani cart? Will we get the spicy chicken over rice or the combo over rice?

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    I would like to nominate Meal O’Bama (now called Kwick Meal IV). Although I’m a vegetarian and haven’t had “meat” per se, their falafel is phenomenal and I think the best part is the included shredded dill pickle. I could eat a whole plate of that. :-) Butt-kicking hot sauce too!

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    Sorry…Kwick Meal IV is located at 37th and 6th.

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    I vote Carnegie John’s!

  • Uncle Gussy’s, usually on 51st & Park. It’s a bit more Greek than halal, but he uses good spices and I really like the white sauce.

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    Halal food cart @ NW corner of 48th & 6th. The guy running the cart is an awesome dude toiling away in anonymity. I’ll admit his lamb and rice is probably not better than 53rd/6th, but its still quite good and the guy deserves some recognition.

  • Just a few notes… Tony Dragonas is just out of the ML boundaries, so he doesn’t qualify (but it looks like his disciple Carnegie John will be reprsenting once again.) Also, all of the Kwik Meal carts will be represented by the one on 45th and 6th, just as all the XPL carts will be represented by the one on 48th and Park.

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