Try an Indian Rarity at the Desi Food Truck

Desi Food Truck

I’ve been intrigued by the Desi Food Truck’s endearingly quirky Bollywood influenced flourish and the owner’s infectious enthusiasm for quite some time. Now that the Desi Food truck has been parked in my home turf (50th between 6th & 7th) with reliable regularity for lunch, I decided to check out the kati rolls that Clay seemed to really enjoy over the summer. With my chicken kati roll ($4.50) order placed, the Desi Food Truck staffer, ever the consummate salesman, steered me towards the haleem chicken. “We’re the only restaurant that has authentic haleem chicken”, he promised, “it’s very rare but it is delicious”. Post-liminary research and googling brought up only two other restaurants in Midtown that seem to serve haleem, and a handful of restaurants in Jackson Heights and Elmurst, Queens. I selected a small cup ($4) and whisked my Indian variation of a soup and sandwich back to the office.

Desi Food Truck

The kati rolls are noticeably larger than the version served a few streets down at the Biryani Cart or Kwik Meal, and are composed of large chunks of smoky chicken, grilled onions, and mint chutney. Enjoyable was the flaky paratha wrapper which was nicely crispy without being overly greasy. Though these were ordered spicy, they didn’t pack an overwhelming level of heat. The haleem chicken on the other hand, brought enough Scoville units to heat my belly on this cold winter day. Intriguingly, the spice makes itself noticeable only after you’re well into the soup – the perfect level of background heat that I’ll probably seek out again. This dish – and forgive my lack of knowledge on the subject of Indian gastronomy – could be described as a soupier riff on masoor dal. Unfortunately, the chicken in the haleem was inconspicuous, but the robust broth did pair nicely with the kati roll. And at $8.50, it was a substantial and hearty lunch.

Behind the goofiness of the truck’s exterior is some serious cooking and passion. They do right with the conventional – kati rolls, biryani, and the like – and do their best to educate lunchers on the rare, namely the haleem chicken. You might not break into a Bollywood song and dance number over the food, but I’m sure you’ll find it to be tasty.

Desi Food Truck, Follow them on Twitter for their location


  • Chris – the chicken in the haleem wasn’t ‘inconspicuous’ .. it was ‘rare’ like the man said

    Hopefully it wasn’t also ‘organic’ … who knows what that might mean … shudder

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    haleem is traditionally made with lamb or goat. chicken sounds like its worth a try, though

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    It’s true that haleem is more often than not goat based however whatever the meat of choice may be, it is cooked down to the point that it and the lentils take on that thick, gloopy soup texture hence the lack of conspicuous chicken.

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