While most food carts in American cities offer familiar fare such as pretzels, peanuts and hot dogs, some have gone positively gourmet.
That's the case in New York, where the annual Vendy Awards recognize the city's best street food. This year's award will be announced Saturday.
One of the five finalists this year is the Kwik Meal cart on 45th and Sixth Avenue. It offers an eclectic menu of Middle Eastern fare such as lamb in pita and old standbys such as Philly cheesesteaks. Mohammed Rahman, who once worked at New York's famed Russian Tea Room, runs the cart.
Customers say Kwik Meal stands out due to the quality of its food and for its staff's uniforms of white chef's jackets and toques — which Rahman says makes the cart more like a "small restaurant."
The other finalists in the Vendys are Thiru "The Dosa Man" Kumar, who serves up Indian-style crepes in Greenwich Village; Veronica Julien, whose cart near Wall Street offers food from Trinidad and Jamaica; Farez Zeideia, who runs a falafel stand in Astoria in Queens; and the Super Taco truck on Broadway and 96th Street.
The Super Taco truck orders more than the usual chicken or beef tacos: Its menu includes goat and tongue taco, Mexican sodas, and the rice and sugar drink known as horchata.