So, Fashion Week is almost over, and despite it being only one block away from Bryant Park, I didn’t get my picture of a model eating at the Chicken & Rice Cart on 43rd and 6th ave. But it didn’t stop me from enjoying a medium order of delicious chicken, served over rice, at this Midtown street meat institution.
There are many halal carts, serving many things in Midtown. And if you are one of the adventurous lunch eaters willing to eat at the Midtown carts, you know that they are not all created equal. Not only do they all serve their own “type” of halal food, the quality can vary immensely depending on what cart you decide to get your street meat from. The undisputed “Chicken & Rice” king, seems to be the cart on 53rd and 6th (it was a Vendy Award runner up for best cart last year). But unfortunately, that cart doesn’t open up until 7pm. So for lunch, the cart that comes up the most is the Chicken & Rice cart on the SE corner of 43rd & 6th.
Pictures and the +/- after the jump…
The menu is hilariously long, but there’s only one thing you go to this cart for… the chicken over rice. As tempting as the “Spaghetti & Meatballs” “Chicken Lo Mein” or “Chow Mein” sounds, my thinking is you always want to order what a place sells the most of. And based on the gigantic mound of chicken that sits atop the griddle of this cart, I think you’ll probably want to stick with the Chx & Rice.
Lunch comes in three sizes at this cart… and no matter which one you choose- it’s gonna be cheap. The small ($3), and medium ($4) come in plastic containers (the medium is pictured below on the right), the large ($5) comes in a larger styrofoam container. You start with the rice (your choice of basmati, yellow or brown). Then they offer you “vegetables” which consists of a little bit of sauteed something (maybe onions and peppers… I couldn’t be exactly sure) and a small scoop of cooked chick peas in a sauce. Then comes the chicken… flavored with yellow curry and maybe five spice? I couldn’t really pinpoint the flavor, but it’s got a sort of hint of a nutmeg or cinnamon thing going on. Really, really delicious. On top of that, they offer a “salad” of mostly lettuce and onions- and top the whole thing off with your choice of a spicy brown sauce or the white sauce (I got both!).
You end up with an amazing mess of deliciousness that blends together the flavor of curry with five spice, a dulled heat from the the brown sauce, the crispness of the lettuce and the cool white sauce to bring it all together. If you are not into the street carts, this one will probably not change your mind (especially if your concern is not spending the afternoon in the bathroom… the food may taste good, but I make no claims as to the after-effects.)… but if you are looking for “the best” Chicken & Rice in Midtown, this cart will certainly make most people’s lists.
SIDE NOTE: I’ve heard is cart referred to as the “Trini Pak Boys” (referring to a mix of Trinidad and Pakistani food), but I couldn’t confirm that the cart that is on 43rd & 6th now is the same Trini Pak cart that has been around for over 5 years… so I decided to refer to it as the “Chicken & Rice Cart” which is what most people who have recommended it to me have called it.
- Cheap (no matter what size you get).
- The spices on the chicken are really delicious
- Choice of two sauces (white & brown)
- It’s street meat. If you’re not into the street meat, this place isn’t going to change your mind. It’s better then most… but it’s still a cart.
- Like most street meat, you need a strong stomach. I thought mine was like steel- but this meal put me to the test (I’ll still go back though…)
Chicken & Rice Cart (SE Corner of 43 & 6th)