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’ll go with the following:
    1. Mr. Khan’s (45th and 6th) – I work on 45th and 5th and always walk right by it on my way to Kwik Meal or Biryani Cart so I’d be really curious how it stacked up.
    2. Carnegie John’s
    3. Magdy’s – I know it came in last but as a Philly guy I gotta vote to get them another chance. Plus I love their white and red sauce on a cheesesteak.

    I’d love a chance to participate though my preference for tzatziki style white sauce could doom the 53rd and 6th guys. I actually love mayo, but the last plate I got from there was flat out disgusting.

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    I nominate the Steak cart @ 47th & Lex…

  • I’m first in line when you do a falafel-palooza.


    Veggie Sarah

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    I’d love to see both Halal Carts on 53rd and 6th included. Let’s let the “real” Halal Guys and “Imitation” 53rd and 6th cart on the SW corner go against each other.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one curious as to why the line is still similar at both after the NY Times article came out.

  • I’ll cast a vote for the cart at 53rd and 7th (the daytime original halal cart?). And the one at 40th and B’way is already in, so no second vote for me.

  • my vote is going to 100% Healthy and Halal Cart.

  • People: These aren’t votes. These are nominations.

  • Shendy’s on 51st and 6th

    Also, I would suggest that people NOT be allowed to see the shape of the container, as that could definitely sway their views one way or another.

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    I second Shendy’s, but I think they are on 52nd and 6th. And agreed their containers are a little different.

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    I’m not sure I can recommend these two since I haven’t recently had them….but it looks like all of the usual suspects being listed in the comments. The palooza really should get some unknowns in the mix.

    There’s a guy on 58th and Lex on the NE corner near the Bloomberg tower. I used to eat at his cart frequently when it was on 54th and Lex, but someone took it over and left after a couple of months. I only went to his new cart once, but he’s got two choices of rice – I think he called his better stuff the basmati.

    There’s another guy who toasts his cone on a rotating spit. He’s on the corner of 53rd and 3rd – NE corner.

    Both are good, but like every vendor, they have their good days and their not so good days.

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    I nominate the daytime 53rd and 6th that falsely claims to be connected to the nighttime 53rd and 6th.

  • holy halal you guys eat ALOT of street meat.

  • Yeah, Joer, I work at 57 and 3rd so I have tried both of the Vendors you mention… My advice is to stick with Healthy and Halal on 55 and Park… (BTW, I still call this a vote and NOT a nominations so PFTTTT to Cheeezeeee above.)

  • Well, crap. I can’t really nominate anyone. Since I started working midtown 15 months ago, the only lamb/chicken/rice cart I’ve enjoyed is Halal Guys.

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    I third the nomination for Shendy’s, is pita included in the challenge? cause they douse it in white sauce and pepper and heat it on the grill.
    Also…can substitutions be made for carts without a rotating spit?
    It might be appropriate to allow Canegie John to contribute a chicken and souvlaki stick (I’d like to believe that is lamb, but it might be pork?) platter. And maybe Halal and Healthy should be able to enter their kofta.

  • @ wslee, not only the container, but looking at the food too. If you familiar with street meats, you can kinda identity who made it soemtimes or be discouraged by the way it looks. Unless they all start looking like sloppy messes that day. Oh, delicious! Seeing isn’t always believing what is truly great.

    Like I mentioned in the forum topic, that’s why I rather see a true blind-taste test. Blindfold and serve a few spoonfuls of each platter til you find your personal winner.

  • @ CheeeeEEEEse, vote or nominate, whatever floats anyones boat. I can express my preference for and I can also propose by name. ;P

  • @TC Eh, whatevs. I just want some food. Still NOMINATING Mr. Kahn’s Best!

  • I reiterate Healthy and Halal as well as the cart on 40th b/w 5th and Madison (closer to 5th). It’d be fun to Meet-a-Palooza other fans!

  • @ CheeeeEEEEse, same here. Bring on the street meats.

    I’d also like to see the night vs day 53rd and 6th comparison but not going to happen unless someone brings a leftover plate from night ebfore or SMP2 starts after 7pm. Haha. Nah no need, this is all about LUNCHtime street meats anyway. Vote for 53rd and 7th daytime too although I do not believe they can beat out my fav 6th ave daytime cart.

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