Trini Paki Brings Back All the Old Specials (Plus Their Own Version of the “Kati Roll”)

Trini Paki Boys

The Trini Paki Cart (on 43rd & 6th Ave.) has become the present that keeps on giving.  By now you’ve read about how excited I was to discover all the things they serve in addition to their Pakistani chicken over rice plate, with Trinidadian pepper sauce.  There were the doubles and poulori (which are served every day), the special biriyani on Thursdays, and the pigeon peas pulau on Wednesdays.  But wait… there’s more! And while some of these things might be old news to longtime fans of the cart, now that business has picked up a bit getting some of these special things has become less of a crap shoot.

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Homemade mango and strawberry lassi are available every day for $3.  This yogurt based drink is cool and refreshing, making it perfect for the weather we’ve been having lately.  Interesting tidbit: you aren’t allowed to sell a drink from a cart in New York City unless it has a label on it.  So, you are allowed to sell homemade drinks… they just have to have a printed label.

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I remember the first time I ever saw the menu for this cart I thought how hilarious it was that they served “chicken chow mein”.  I never asked about it, and always assumed that it was one of those things that was on the menu but never served.  Well, they’ve got it twice a week now on Mondays and Fridays.  Lo mein is probably the better word for this crazy noodle dish, which is Chinese by way of Pakistan Trinidad.  Great flavors, although not surprisingly the noodles get mushy from sitting in the heated pan all day.  (Still good though!)

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Finally (and possibly most exciting once you see what they do with it) is their poori- a flat South Asian bread that could just as easily be called roti.  You can get it on the side, or order it stuffed with the chicken they serve over rice in their standard chicken over rice plate.  That’s right. A street meat chicken burrito!  Much larger than a kati roll, it’s more like a Frankie roll without the egg cooked into the bread.  The thing is a complete mess, due in no small part to the white sauce and pepper sauce (how could I not), but for $4 it’s a complete steal- and provides a fun alternative to the standard chicken over rice plate. Though you might want to ask for a fork… and a lot of napkins.

As much as I’d like to say you’re guaranteed to get any of these items on the days they are promised, the Trini Paki Cart is literally a mom and pop (and sons, hence the “Boys” part of the name) operation. But they do their best.  In theory, this should be the schedule for you to find what you’re looking for.

Every Day Items – Chicken over rice, doubles, polourie, samosas, poori, and lassis
Monday – Chicken Chow Mein
Tuesday – Chicken Biriyani
Wednesday - Chicken and Pigeon Peas Pelau
Thursday – Mutton Biriyani and Dahi Bala
Friday – Chicken Chow Mein

Of course, this is all subject to change!

Related:
The Hidden Delicious Mysteries of the Trini-Paki Boys Cart
Trini Paki Boys’ New Chicken & Pigeon Peas Pelau
Frankies and Kati Rolls Are Not the Same Thing

16 Comments

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    First of all – the chicken chowmein is not “Chinese by way of Pakistan”. It is Chinese by way of Trinidad. Trinidad, Guyana and a lot of the West Indies are influenced by multiple cultures. Yes people of Chinese descent live in Trinidad and Guyana which is why Chowmein is a popular dish these places. Also the poori they serve is no way South Asian – it is west indian. The poori itself is filled with ground split peas and is called dhal poori (which is why it’s messy). You won’t find this in South Asia.

  • Sorry! I clearly know nothing about this stuff. I wasn’t aware of the Chowmein-Trinidad connection. Thanks… all of their food is a mix of the two countries, so I just guessed.

    As for the poori, the dish I ate wasn’t filled with dhal. It was filled with their chicken. I was under the impression that it’s a cross between roti from the islands, and poori from South Asia… that’s why they call it roti/poori on the menu.

    As you can see from the photo, it’s not the same consistency as a typical island roti. It’s much fluffier, which is why it falls apart when you eat it (and becomes a complete mess.) Even if this kind of poori is a typical West Indian preparation, it still is descended from South Asia, right?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Ok I had to register and sign up to be a midtown lunch member just so that I can post about wrong information that Sramn2205 has posted regarding chowmein and poori!

    Regarding Chowmein – its Chinese by way of Trinidad or Pakistan or India Below is the excerpt from wiki

    Indian Chinese cuisine
    Chow mein is also common in Indian Chinese cuisine, having been introduced by the Chinese of Calcutta. It is usually offered Hakka or with gravy. Catering to vegetarian diets, there is an Indian variant, vegetable chow mein, which consists of noodles with cabbage, bamboo shoots, pea pods, green peppers, and carrots. In the New Delhi area, chow mein can sometimes include paneer with the mixture of noodles and vegetables.

    Caribbean style
    Many West Indian people include chow mein in their cuisine, especially peoples from islands like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica which include a significant ethnic Chinese population; much of the cooking has infused itself into the population in general. As well, in the South American country Guyana the culture and cuisine is similar to Trinidad’s. These chow mein are cooked in a similar manner, with green beans, carrots, peas, onions and sometimes other vegetables. Meat used is mostly chicken and sometimes pork and/or shrimp. The main difference is that local spices are added, and the dish is often served with hot Scotch bonnet peppers and/or pepper sauce.

    So Trinidad does not have monopoly on Chowmein!

    Secondly anyone who says that Poori is no way South Asian must not be a South Asian. Most of the food that people it in the Caribbean (especially Trinidad, Guyana, West Indies) – is a combo of South Asian and West African food because of the slaves that migrated from those areas. Puri is South Asian whether it is stuffed with Dhal, Aloo, Sattu, Onions or anything else you can think of. The word Dhal itself is in Hindi not Trini.

    Below is excerpt from Wiki

    A puri or poori or boori (Urdu: بوری ;Hindi पूरी (pūrī)) (Tamil பூரி (pūri)) (Telugu పూరి (pūri)) is a South Asian unleavened bread prepared in many of the countries in South Asia including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is consumed for breakfast, or as a snack or light meal. Puri is also the Georgian name for bread.

    Puri is most commonly served at breakfast. It is also served at special or ceremonial functions; they sometimes are part of ceremonial rituals along with other vegetarian food offered in prayer as prasadam.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    they also have a roti that has a dal like chickpea thing, potatos, curries, the sauces and tons of chicken. It’s $6, also messy and incredibly filling and good.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    This is in response to Indian. In my comment I was solely referring to the dishes served at this particular cart – not to the hostory and origin of food. I in no way stated that poori is in no way South Indian – I stated that dhal poori is not south indian. I only said that the Trini Paki boys chowmein was Chowmein by way of Trinidad because they are half Trinidadian in response to the statement “chowmein by way of Pakistan”. So relax – it’s not that serious.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Sramn – it is serious to me. Whether they are paki, trini or bangladeshi…at the end of the day they are serving indian food!! You will have chefs from all these countries selling Indian food. There will be subtle spice differences which are very hard to spot unless you are an expert. And when they are selling in carts – there is hardly any spice differences.

    Regarding Dhal Poori – I just got back from visiting my parents in India and was served Dhal Poori by my mom who has never stepped out of India and does not know that there is a country called Trinidad in this world! How do you explain that?

  • I’m not arguing or anything, but Chow Mein is of Chinese origin and Poori is of Indian origin, whether by way of Trindiad or Pakistan. I don’t really care as long as it is delicious!!!

    I like Indian-Chinese/ Manchurian-style cooking. I actually prefer Indian restaurants that will have that on their menu over regular/ traditional Indian restaurants.

    Chow mein means stir-fried noodles.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chow_mein
    American-Chinese take out version does not do it justice (nowhere near what real Chow Mein is). I prefer the crispy noodles version (called pan-fried noodles in English but Chow Mein in Cantonese), which is Cantonese/ Hong Kong style. The trini-pak cart serves the soft noodle type which is equal to American-Chinese Lo Mein. Cantonese style Lo Mein is different – thin noodles you see in wonton noodle soup. Mixed/ stirred noodles – not fried.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lo_mein

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    @Indian, take a chill pill. Sramn2205 just wanted us to know that Trini Paki serves West Indian versions of these dishes rather than Indian versions of these dishes. At worst, he made a mistake saying that South Indians don’t eat dhal poori. (In any event, it’s probably quite different dhal poori.) Still no reason to get upset; just correct the error and move on.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    West Indian food is quite different from Indian food. I would never mistake one for another. Although you may have had dhal poori in India my point is that it is different from what you find in the west indies. I have friends and neighbors from India who all note how different my food is from theirs.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Thanks Dan – maybe I need to learn to summarize my thoughts like you.

  • frankly my Dalilama, i don’t give a damn.

  • It’s like two Porky & Babe fighting over whose slop bucket has more apple cores in it

  • Yeah, definitely no need to get all crazy. I made the same mistake as “Indian by Nature” when researching the post.

    Also, I didn’t order dhal poori. What you see above is just a piece of roti (or what I assumed was called roti poori) stuffed with their chicken. It costs $4 and is delicious. I was under the impression that the bread was by way of Pakistan, since it wasn’t really like an island Roti.

    In the end Sramn is right. You cannot get this particular kind of roti or dish in South Asian. I spoke with Fatima (the Trinidadian lady who runs the Trini Paki cart) and she confirmed that the roti is a Trinidadian specialty, which has its roots in South Asia. She also confirmed that the chow mein is from Trinidad as well.

    All West Indian food has its roots in South Asia (just as American Chinese food has its roots in China, even though you can’t order General Tso’s chicken anywhere outside of the US.) In the end, while you can argue that most of the food from the Trini Paki cart has its roots in Pakistan, it is all by way of Trinidad.

  • Zach Brooks, trough swiller by day, demographic food historian by night

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    two quick questions

    Does anyone know if they are open on Saturday?

    How late do they usually stay open on weekdays?

  • Not sure about Saturdays, but they’re open til about 3 or so on weekdays. Always gone when I leave work.

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