Nominations For Street Meat Palooza 5 Are Now Open

03_Comme Ci Comme Ca
Last Year’s Winner

It’s that time of year again!  The time when a hand picked group of lunchers gather together in an undisclosed Midtown location to taste 15 different plates of street meat, and crown a winner.  Four years ago the Famous Halal Guys won the inaugural palooza, but the next two years belonged to Kwik Meal and Kwik Gourmet.  Last year, Comme Ci Comme Ca came out of nowhere to claim the crown with their unique blend of chicken over rice with white sauce and hot sauce.  All four have been retired from competition, and this year 15 new carts will vie for the chance to be crowned the winner of Street Meat Palooza 5!

Just like previous years, Street Meat Palooza will not be open to the public. It is an invite only, blind tasting of 15 different plates of street meat.  But there is a way for you to win a coveted slot at the “judges” table.

Want a chance to attend?  All you have to do is nominate your favorite street meat cart in the comments and you’re registered to score a slot at Street Meat Palooza 5. But there are a few rules so please read them closely:

1. Street meat = chicken and lamb over rice with white sauce and hot sauce.  Not jerk chicken.  Not biriyani.  Not schnitzel.  Not tikka masala.  It doesn’t have to necessarily be “halal” but it does have to be chicken and/or lamb over rice with white sauce and hot sauce.  It’s also worth noting, the carts won’t know they’re competing. The plates of street meat will be ordered on a regular day during lunchtime, each by a different Midtown Luncher.

2. Participating in previous years doesn’t exclude a cart or truck from being nominated for SMP 3, but winning does.  So Comme Ci Comme Ca, Kwik Meal (on 45th and 6th), Kwik Gourmet (on 47th & Park), and the Famous Halal Guys cart (on the SE Corner of 53rd and 6th) will be ineligible to compete this year.  But their other carts are eligible… so the Famous Halal Guys cart on 52nd and 6th is still eligible.

3. Limit one comment per person, but feel free to nominate as many vendors as you wish in that one comment.  The more votes a cart gets, the more likely it will be chosen to participate.  Carts must be located within the Midtown Lunch’ing boundaries… that’s 8th Ave. to the West, 3rd Ave. to the East, Central Park to the North, and 32nd to the South.

4.  If you are chosen to attend the event, you may be asked to bring the food from the cart that you nominated.  (We’ll pay you back, of course!)

5.  Nominations will close on Monday (9/10) at 6pm EST and the invites will be sent out a few days later.  The judging will take place sometime in September, from noon to 1:30pm at a central location in Midtown that will only be revealed to the participants.

Good luck!

Street-Meat-Palooza: A 13 Cart Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown
Street Meat Palooza 2: Our New York City Chicken/Lamb Over Rice Showdown Crowns A New Champion
Street Meat Palooza 3: Crowning The Best Chicken And Lamb Over Rice Cart in Midtown
Street Meat Palooza 4: A New Champion Has Been Crowned


  • I have to admit that I’m digging all the Uncle Gussy’s love lately – I’ve been loving their meat over rice since before they bought the big blue truck and became as popular as they deserved. I nominate them, too!

    I also nominate the 3rd Ave/52nd Street XPL, too. In the very rare occasion I’m in the mood for something different than Gussy’s, they’re where I go.

    And another vote for Trini-Paki. I wish I worked closer to that cart, as it’s spectacular.

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    Mr. Khan’s Halal cart (46th & 6th) is getting my vote this year since Comme Ci Comme Ca is off the board

  • I vote for the 1 Penn Plaza Halal cart! That’d be the one you listed as “Unidentified halal cart, West 33rd under the 1 Penn Plaza sign (btw. 7th and 8th).” I’d love to see how their chicken over rice stacks up!

  • La Baguette Cafe – SE corner of 40th and Broadway
    Rafiqi’s – NE corner of 52nd and Park
    Halal Cart – NE corner of 50th and Park
    Kebab Express – SE corner of 55th and 6th

  • Famous Halal on 53rd and 7th (seconded).

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    No Name Cart- 40th and 3rd ave

  • My vote goes to re-plating all platters into ones that are visually the same.

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    XPL 48th and park

  • Rafiqi’s (my go-to’;s are 6th Ave/19th and Madison Square Park, but most locations are consistent.)

    I agree with CheeeeeEEEEse about repackaging entries. Also, I DON’T agree with mixing EVERYTHING in the container together. Sure, the meat/sauce/rice all go together, but who mixes the salad in too? (OK, maybe a few people, but most don’t!) Separate the salad–heck, even remove it by just ordering meat over rice with sauce. This is not a StreetSaladPalooza!!

    • It would be even better to be able to go the extra mile and separate the hot and white sauces as well as the meats; the entries are judged on everything individually as well as together. I understand that’s simply not possible given time constraints (you don’t want to eat cold combos over rice), but it would enable all judges to judge the components as well.

  • I officially nominate the “Imposter Halal Cart” on 53rd and 6th. I just cannot get enough of their barbeque sauce on their lamb and rice platter. Also their hot sauce and white sauce is the best I have ever had. I would also like to point out that I feel their meat is much more tender than the meat at “Uncle Gussys”. Though I like the customer service I get at Uncle Gussy’s better than the customer service I get at the “Imposter Halal Cart”

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    Aamir Halal on 45/46 & 6th. Can remember which.

  • For SMP5, I gotta nominate last year’s 3rd place, the No Name Cart on 40th & 3rd. One of the best chickens I had for street meats. Smoketastic.

    • I just had it today for lunch. There was definitely a hint of grilled flavor to the chicken but I don’t see how it could have made top 3. Must have been a fluke. If they make the cut, I’m sure the blind taste tests at SMP5 will reveal much about their lack of consistency.

  • Carnegie John (NE corner of 56th and 7th)- although not classic street meat, he does have the prerequisites (chicken and lamb over rice with white sauce and hot sauce) and it’s delicious.
    Kebab Express (SE corner of 55th and 6th- However, you must get it with the Basmati Rice and both the red and green hot sauce.
    Halal Guys (SW corner of 53th St & 7th)- On par with the other Halal Guys but no line… gotta love it!

  • I also want to add the no name cart on SE corner of 40th and 3rd. The flame grilled chicken is unique and labor intensive versus throwing 10lbs of chicken on a flat top as other chicken/rice vendors do.

  • Jimmy’s Spot on 47th between 2nd and 3rd! Give midtown east some love. I’m nominating this place for their quality- the platter comes with rice and salad, which is actually MIXED GREENS (rather than some junk limp iceberg) and has little pieces of red onion, carrot and bell peppers. Plus they offer salad dressings- balsamic vinegar & oil, Italian dressing ect! I know your cut off is 3rd but give it a chance! Make it a nomm!

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    I nominate Uncle Gussy’s, hope I get selected as a judge, hope I get selected as a judge, hope I get selected as a judge…

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    I would like to nominate Trini Pak Boys and the cart on the SE corner of 40th and Broadway (don’t know what they call themselves)

  • I nominate the generic cart on 14th St and University Place. Their lamb over rice is very flavorful. They cut their lamp from a a big rotating piece of meat, not some unknown patties. They also have 2 options for rice, one is the regular saffron rice and the other one has a orange/redish color which I assume is from nutmeg and cinnamon.

    • Alas, if you read the rules, #3 defines midtown — although I can’t imagine you came to a site called Midtown Lunch expecting that Union Square is in Midtown.

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  • I nominate Little Morocco on account of they’re still my go-to, and I want to see how the possible downward spiral shows up in the rankings.

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