Don’t Forget About El Rey Del Sabor’s Pastelillos

Amid all the buzz about Nuchas Empanadas, I feel compelled to remind you that El Rey Del Sabor, aka The King of Flavor, serves some nice, cheap, and BIG pastelillos, or Puerto Rican style Empanadas. Even before the Nuchas truck opened, I was scoping out the Nuchas scene. I ventured down to Times Square to try an empanada at their kiosk. I’ve been eating empanadas from the delightful Empanadas Cafe in Corona for the past few years, so when I looked in the window at Nuchas and saw the size of those tiny little shits I spun on my heels. No way in hell am I paying $3.00 for something just slightly larger than my big toe.

Defeated, I headed back to my office. But luckily I remembered seeing a picture of pastelillos on the side of the El Rey Del Sabor truck, and the one on 43rd St btw. 5+6 is right by my office. I’d never tried this style of empanada before, and I was definitely in the mood for spicy meat in fried dough. Today was the day.

I tried one beef, one chicken, and one cheese to get the full range of tastes. I love that they are nice and big — even bigger than the ones I’m familiar with in Queens. All three were crammed with filling. The crust was deep fried and white flour-based; it was a bit greasy but I was expecting that.

The chicken had a nice flavor, and was very moist. The cheese was a bit squeaky not stretchy, and tasted like a salty, dense mozzarella. The beef was the tastiest in my opinion, with a little bit of chili powder to flavor it. If you really like it spicy, make sure you ask for that fantastic chipotle hot sauce, briefly covered back in 2009.

My only complaint is this: like the tamales, the pastelillos are lukewarm and heated directly on the grill, and sometimes it’s not heated all the way through. And if you’re prone to heartburn or on a healthy diet, you might want to steer clear. These are not good for you.

Although I’m sure Nuchas empanadas are nothing short of delicious, if you’re interested in value, El Rey Del Sabor’s pastelillos are the way to go. They are only $2 each for a nice big pocket of yum. Three of them filled me up, and you can get five of them and still stay within the ML lunch limit.

El Rey del Sabor (3 Locations)

  • 49th and Park
  • 43rd btw. 5+6th
  • 60th and 3rd


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    You need to try el rey del sabor corn quesadilla. It’s a bit different to their normal corn tortillas. And at the moment only the 60 street and 3 avenue cart has it.

  • Thanks for the suggestion! I just tried something similar from the Antojijos cart that I’m going to write about for Monday. I’ll have to do a comparison.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Had to try after reading this. A coworker and I bought one of each. Very large, I was shocked to get them that size. Crust was great and fillings were tasty… I did forget to ask for the hot sauce unfortunately.

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