Summer Cravings – NYC
Chicken Biryani from the Biryani Cart
Summer cravings are a strange thing for me. I never know what I’ll crave. Usually it’ll be something really flavorful, because when it’s so hot out, I lose my appetite and I need something strong to awaken my taste buds. Last year, all I ever wanted to eat was chicken biryani from the biryani cart on 46th Street. Delicious dark meat chicken and basmati rice flavored with chili peppers and heavy on the cardamom, what more could you ask for? Maybe some of the mango pickles they throw in…
This year, I’ve been eating a lot of cheung fun (rolled rice noodles) with fish balls from Huan Ji Rice Noodles, the cheung fun cart on Grand Street.
Usually I get the regular order, which is a good sized 16 oz container for $2.50. When you order, the woman there will fill the container with cheung fun cut up with a pair of scissors, and then place fish balls on top. In case you don’t know, fish balls are made from a blend of various white fish. In Chinese it’s known as Yú Dàn, and fish cakes, in general, are known as oden in Japanese and odeng in Korean. I always think of it as a fish sausage. Normally, I ask her for a mix of regular fish balls and curry fish balls. (I use the work “ask” very loosely, by the way. Most of the communication is done with a lot of pointing, and head shaking.) Regular fish balls are bigger and more spongy. The curry fish balls are more dense with a spicy curry bite. After the container is filled up, it’s topped with a spicy peanut sauce, oyster sauce, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds (in the pic here, the woman forgot the sesame seeds). I kind of like the fact that whenever I go, the sauce tastes a bit different. Some times it’s a little sweeter, sometimes it’s a little spicier, sometimes it tastes a little fishier…. It gives it a homemade feel. Regardless, it’s always delicious and satisfies my cravings for something sweet, spicy, and salty, even in the NYC heat.
46th Street (betw 6th Ave & 7th Ave)
Huan Ji Rice Noodles (Cheung Fun Cart)
Grand St (betw Bowery St & Chrystie St, closer to Bowery )