This post is written by ShopEatSleep contributor Deanna Ting, a New York-based writer and editor who hails from Los Angeles. She is a seasoned travel, lifestyle and fashion writer, having written for publications such as TravelAge West, Luxury Travel Advisor, Los Angeles magazine and WSAToday (a magazine that was entirely devoted to shoes). These days, you can find her working as a managing editor/senior editor for Incentive and Successful Meetings magazines, as well as scouring New York–and the globe–for her next favorite meal. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @deanna421.
One of the best things about living in New York is there’s always plenty to choose from—especially when it comes to food. Sometimes, though, all that choice can be a little overwhelming—as are a lot of different facets of life here. (Let’s not even talk about winter; I’m still in recovery.)
That’s why it’s great when outdoor food pop-up events like Broadway Bites roll back into town when the sun comes back out. Let’s be clear—there are A LOT of great choices at Broadway Bites. But what makes Broadway Bites so great is they’ve done a lot of the legwork for you by curating a carefully selected collection of some of the city’s best food and drink vendors.
If you happen to be near Herald Square and hunger pangs strike, you should definitely head here. Taking over Greeley Square, which stretches from 32nd to 34th streets on Broadway, this summer’s rendition of Broadway Bites has 28 vendors serving up plenty of satisfying, delicious things.
From no-frills grilled cheese and savory empanadas to innovative tacos and classic lobster rolls, you can find them all—and much more. Here’s a closer look at a few of those choices for whatever you might be craving.
Rice is nice
If you, like me, adhere to the belief that carbs are not evil, you will find yourself in a carbo-loaded heaven at Broadway Bites. One grain, in particular, that seems to be getting a lot of play this year is rice, and mostly in spherical form. There are classic Japanese onigiri from Onigiri by Tampopo. Wrapped in nori, the onigiri are deceptively small but very filling. There’s also seafood-laden paella served up at Paella Shack by Barranca.
And then there are deep-fried rice balls. At Broadway Bites, you’re lucky enough to choose from two different styles, both equally tasty: classic Sicilian-style risotto balls from Arancini Bros. and innovative AsianCini, fried rice balls made with Asian ingredients from Zhà Pan Asian.
While you can never go wrong with a classic Italian-style arancini, if you’re looking for a new flavor profile, it’s worth heading to Zhà Pan Asian. To create the ideal AsianCini, co-founders Steve Luw and Heezy Lee spent eight months developing the perfect ratio of rice—a blend of short grain, sticky and jasmine—and figuring out just the right crust (they settled on an eggless panko flour mixture). Fillings include savory Chinese barbecue pork, kimchi (my favorite) and sweet coconut.
Give me the classics
Maybe you’re in the mood for something just plain simple and good. Try the classic Maine lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound, or the Classic Grilled Cheese sandwich from Morris Sandwich Shop served with a side of spicy tomato bisque. It’s a classic comfort-food combo for a reason, and Morris does it well. And if you’re craving some chicken nuggets, consider The Nugget Spot, which sells some pretty good ones, with equally delicious dips (go for the ranch). Wash it all down with some ice-cold lemonade with a twist, like strawberry basil or watermelon jalapeño from Renegade Lemonade.
I’m on a detox
If you’re looking for something healthful, head straight to Two Tablespoons for its colorful and veggie-filled summer rolls and glass-noodle salads. Yes, they might be healthy and good for you, but more importantly, they also taste good.
“Diet” is a four-letter word
If you love doughnuts, head to Doughnuttery for mini doughnut paired with seasonal dipping sauces. If you want something cool and icy to combat the summer heat, try NOLA Sno for a New Orleans-style take on shaved ice, which means a heavy-handed application of condensed milk. There’s also classic Italian gelato from Gelato Ti Amo and, of course, Compost Cookies and Cake Truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar.
Meat me in manhattan
While there are plenty of veggie-friendly options available at Broadway Bites, there are also a number of vendors that go whole hog when it comes to their dishes. For hot dogs with toppings inspired by the cuisines of China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan, head to Asiadog. If you crave meaty Chinese-style dumplings—but filled with pastrami—head to Brooklyn Wok Shop. Barbecue fans will love Hill Country Barbecue Market (one word: brisket) and Mason Jar NYC. And if you love your barbecue with some kick, head to Fire Belly Korean BBQ and Mexicue.
Sometimes, you’re just really, really hungry. But you don’t want to eat just anything. No, you want whatever you devour to be worth the wait—and served in mass quantities at a reasonable price.
My recommendation is to head straight to Domo Taco and order some tacos. For $9, you get three hefty tacos made with flour tortillas stuffed to the brim with delicious Asian-inspired fillings like lemongrass chicken, kimchi falafel and fish tempura. My favorite? The fork-tender, braised five-spice pork. You wouldn’t think it would work well to mix this classic Chinese meat dish with Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, miso slaw, and pico de gallo, but somehow it just does—and it’ll fill you up nicely. I had just one and felt like I’d eaten a whole meal.
Another suggestion? Order yourself some deep-fried goodness in the form of Taco Bono by Macondo’s empanadas. They’re $3 each or two for $5, and although they look small they are incredibly filling and really delicious. The vegetarian empanada was especially good. Don’t neglect to top yours off with plenty of green sauce. If you’re looking for a completely gluten-free option, try the Taco Bono, a taco with a tortilla made from yucca dough and cheese.
Broadway Bites will be open at Greeley Square through July 26 every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Note: This tasting was hosted.