Chicken & Rice from 53rd & 6th Ave
Remember Psych 101 when you learned about Rorschach Tests? Now what does the hot sauce and yogurt swirl in the image above look like to you? (Feel free to post what you see in the comments.) When I look at the photo, and I know this is not appetizing, I see a bloody nose, because when I was eating the Chicken and Rice from the 53rd and 6th Avenue Cart, I was sure it would happen to me at any moment. What does that say about me? It says that although I fear for my life, I enjoy living dangerously by eating street meat in NYC.
I’ve been meaning to try the legendary Chicken and Rice on 53rd Street ever since I started working in Midtown and I learned they have a daytime cart on the South East corner of 53rd and 6th Avenue. (Don’t get it twisted, the cart on the South West corner is an imposter! Look for the signature yellow bag.) But the clincher was when the cart won the Midtown Lunch Street-Meat-Palooza. I knew I had to go.
When I was settled back at my desk with the Chicken and Rice, I saw immediately there was a ton of yogurt sauce and hot sauce. I love that; no stinginess with the sauces at this cart. I think my mistake though was not thoroughly mixing the sauce with the chicken and rice before eating it. The first few bites near the edge of the container were delicious; smoky and full of the usual halal spices of curry, pepper, and thyme. The dark meat chicken was a little too salty for me, but still good covered in the tangy yogurt-based white sauce. However, as I made my way to the eye of the hot sauce storm, my mouth erupted into flames. Now, I’m Korean, I can take heat. Even the Ma Pa Tofu from Szechuan Gourmet wasn’t that spicy to me, but this was crazy. Usually I drink hot tea with my lunch, but that day I had to run to the pantry with my eyes tearing and my nose running in order to get some cold water. So you readers out there, when you get the Chicken and Rice with hot sauce, make sure you mix the hot sauce so it is evenly integrated in the dish. I know that’s what I’ll do next time. Otherwise, you’ll get a mouthful of burning red dynamite.
Chicken & Rice Cart
53rd and 6th Ave (South East Corner) – 11:30am to late nite
53rd & 7th Ave (South West Corner) – 11:30am to late nite
53rd and 6th Ave (South West Corner) – 7:30pm to 4am