The Most Instagrammed Street Food In New York City

Street food tends to be polarizing: People are either obsessed with grabbing lunch from a cart — and swear you just can't get anything like it at a brick-and-mortar spot — or they write off street eats completely.

In New York, though, street food has been a longtime staple, and the array of on-the-go culinary treats is always growing. Even some of our cult-favorite eateries are getting in on the mobile menu game. From ubiquitous dirty-water dogs and soft pretzels, to upscale artisanal grilled cheese trucks, it's hard to walk a block without catching a whiff of something delicious. And, sometimes the only thing better than eating an unreal meal is Instagramming it for the world to envy.

Ready to see what you could be having for lunch? We've assembled drool-worthy shots of the city's best quick (and cheap!) eats for you to choose from. Grab your itinerary and get 'gramming.

1 of 30
Photo via @nobread.
Alchemy Creamery
Dairy-free ice cream may seem like an oxymoron, but there's something about Alchemy's tasty creations — which come in crafty flavors like maple walnut and citrus chamomile and are served in Kornery cones — that has crowds lining up at its Smorgasburg and Governor's Island stands.

Alchemy Creamery, 1 Gouverneur Street (at Division Road), Governor's Island.
Advertisement
2 of 30
Photo via @misslilys.
Miss Lily's
If Bob Marley isn't already playing on the speakers at this Caribbean joint, its jerk chicken, plantains, and corn are guaranteed to make you sing. The juice at Melvin's is equally on point, so you can wash that savory Jamaican cuisine down with a fresh glass of Caribbean Coco or Garden of Vegan.

Miss Lily's, 132 West Houston Street (at Sullivan Street); 109 Avenue A (at East 7th Street); 212-812-1482.
3 of 30
Photo via @arobbins26.
Souvlaki GR
A little slice of Mykonos right on the Lower East Side. Here, you'll find a hearty selection of authentic Greek cuisine, from spanakopita, to tzatziki, hummus, and tyrokafteri spreads with pita, to — wait for it — crispy fries sprinkled with feta cheese. All you need is a little glass of Ouzo to get the party started. Follow the joint's food truck here.

Souvlaki GR, 116 Stanton Street (at Essex Street); 212-777-0116.
4 of 30
Photo via @chadleephoto.
Gorilla Cheese
Grilled cheese fanatics, rejoice. This truck takes the greasy, cheesy, comfort food to an entirely new level. Be adventurous and try one of the "specialty sammies," like sharp cheddar with BBQ pulled pork and caramelized onions, or triple-cream Brie with prosciutto di parma and strawberry preserves. And, don't forget a side of the dangerously-delicious tater tots with cheddar sauce and bacon. A food coma has never felt so good.

Gorilla Cheese, multiple locations.
5 of 30
Photo via @cityfoodie.
Korilla BBQ
New York's first Korean BBQ truck is obviously the best in the city. Mix and match tons of combinations (with either a burrito or rice bowl as the base) for an unreal lunchtime treat. Or, if you can't catch their truck during the day, check out the East Village brick-and-mortar location for some famed tiger balls.

Korilla BBQ, multiple locations.
6 of 30
Photo: via @lettucedine.
Cafe Habana
Stroll along Elizabeth Street in Nolita and you're bound to spot a handful of pedestrians chomping away at an ear of deliciously-grilled corn. Cafe Habana's takeaway stand serves their famous "mexican-style" ear, as well as their legendary Cuban sandwich. Grab a cerveza, too, and you'll be fresh on your way to Cuba (in your mind, that is).

Cafe Habana, 17 Prince Street (at Elizabeth Street); 212-625-2002.
Advertisement
7 of 30
Photo via @michelleisvegan.
The Cinnamon Snail
Although the vegan truck stopped its regular service hours in late February, thankfully that wasn't the end of its blue corn pancakes, lemongrass five-spice seitan, and incomparable pastries. Its slogan is "food to inspire peace and bliss," and honestly, we couldn't think of anything more apt. Track their pop-up locations here.

The Cinnamon Snail, multiple locations.
8 of 30
Photo via @bite_of_the_bay.
Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck
Because you can't be in Montauk all summer long. Grab any one of this truck's many rolls (we're partial to the authentic Maine Style and the buttery Connecticut varieties), a bowl of clam chowder, or a hefty serving of lobster mac 'n' cheese — and feel that ocean breeze...even in the middle of New York City.

Red Hook Lobster Pound Truck, multiple locations.
9 of 30
Papaya Dog
Three words: fast, cheap, and delicious. Only in New York will you find a corner stand that's been selling greasy goodness (hello, spicy sausage dogs and cheese fries) 24/7 for years, without ever going out of style. It's basically an institution.

Papaya Dog, multiple locations.
10 of 30
Photo via @bigdsgrub.
Big D's Grub
Big D knows a thing or two about real New York food — he grew up in Queens surrounded by tons of good ol' home cooking. So, it's no surprise the menu is filled with cool Asian-Southern Guyanan fusion concoctions: spicy pork with kimchee puree, corn cakes with jalapeños, pork and chive dumplings, and — mmm — Old Bay-seasoned fries.

Big D's Grub, multiple locations.
11 of 30
Pizza Moto
Sometimes, you just want a crispy Neaopolitan-style pizza at the snap of a finger (and by sometimes, we mean always). That's where Pizza Moto comes in. The Margherita is truly one-of-a-kind, but we'll leave you staring at this pic of the "truffleiest" white pie, which comes with rosemary, a poached egg, and — duh — truffle oil.

Pizza Moto, multiple locations.
Advertisement
12 of 30
Photo via @nytfood.
Patacon Pisao
For a little slice of Venezuela in the Big Apple, look no further than Patacon's cachapas. The sweet corn cakes, served with everything from chicken to shredded beef to ham and cheese (or all of the above), are the mainstay of the eatery's menu, but we're also partial to the patacones and the arepas. Delicioso!

Patacon Pisao, 202nd Street (between 9th and 10th avenues); 85-22 Grand Avenue (between Simonson and Van Kleeck streets), Queens; 718-899-8922.
13 of 30
Photo via @osito__bimbo.
El Rey
This cute, trendy luncheonette has earned a dedicated following for its homemade Za'tar bread, avocado flatbread, and, of course, the "this is not a falafel" falafel plate. Grab lunch and a cortado to-go, or sit (if you can) and soak in its interior's earthy vibes.

El Rey, 100 Stanton Street (at Ludlow Street); 212-260-3950.
14 of 30
Photo via @mona26.
Mysttik Masaala
What could be better than a lunch cart that serves up Indian, Tibetan, and Nepali cuisines? Their vegetarian options (which include some combination of lentils, chick peas, punjabi carrots and peas, and more) may be the crown jewels, but their chicken vindaloo will just as surely satisfy your cravings.

Mysttik Masaala, 44th Street (at Second Avenue); 54th Street (at Park Avenue); 917-306-3128.
15 of 30
Photo via @coolhaus.
Coolhaus
You know you're getting a delicious dose of sweetness when you're grabbing a scoop from this nationally acclaimed creamery. The flavors are kiiiinda crazy (avocado sriracha, beer and pretzels, Cuban cigar), and the colors are even more awesome. Hello, #foodstagram.

Coolhaus, multiple locations.
16 of 30
Photo via @rcorrera.
Ramen Burger
Okay, so the ramen burger might just be one of the most talked about dishes in New York City. And, rightfully so. Once you get over the texture of a bun molded from cooked noodles, you'll savor the flavorful beef patty, shoyu glaze, and lots of scallions. Nom.

Ramen Burger, Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Avenue (between North 7th and Kent streets).
Ramen Co., 191 Pearl Street (between Cedar and Liberty streets); 646-490-8456.
Advertisement
17 of 30
Photo via @nautimobile.
Nauti Mobile
Get nauti with Luke's Lobster's food truck, which serves up a fresh array of coastal cuisine. Lobster rolls, crab rolls, shrimp rolls, and more are made with buttery buns and topped with the eatery's "secret spices." Finish the day off with some Cape Cod chips and slaw, and your lunch break is guaranteed to feel more like a picnic on the beach.

Nauti Mobile, multiple locations.
18 of 30
Asia Dog
An American classic with an Asian twist. Think you like your hot dog best with mustard or ketchup? Think again. Here, you can top your beef, chicken, or veggie dogs with the likes of kimchi and seaweed flakes, Asian sesame slaw, or spicy ketchup, jalapeño mustard, and crushed salt-and-pepper potato chips. You'll never look at that boring old dirty-water dog the same.

Asia Dog, Berg'n, 899 Bergen Street (between Classon and Franklin avenues); 718-857-2338; Smorgasburg, 90 Kent Avenue (between North 7th and Kent streets); Brooklyn Flea, 176 Lafayette Avenue (between Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues).
19 of 30
Photo via @deulrae.
Dub Pies
Down Under Bakery (DUB) knows a thing or two about Australian and New Zealand delicacies, and they serve up some of the best savory pies on the East Coast. On the food truck, you'll find varieties like steak mince and cheese, and curry vegetarian, as well as a warm cup of Counter Culture coffee.

Dub Pies, multiple locations.
20 of 30
Photo via @grubshotsnyc.
Calexico
Switch up your daily Chipotle order with a little Cal-Mex surprise from Calexico. Start off with some guacamole and carne fries (chile-cilantro fries topped with brisket, cheese sauce, and lots of other too-cool-for-school flavors). And, for the main course, pick your poison: There are tons of tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and enchiladas to choose from. After a decade in the biz, you know they're doing something right.

Calexico, multiple locations.
21 of 30
Photo via @lindsaysb.
Taim Falafel
Even non-vegetarians will rejoice over Taim's three falafel flavors (green, harissa, and red) and its array of toppings (feta cheese, s'rug, and spicy shifka peppers). Everything is jam-packed with flavor, and is so light you'll feel satisfied, but never too full. The cult-favorite West Village shop now has a Soho outpost in addition to its mobile truck.

Taim Falafel, multiple locations.
Advertisement
22 of 30
Photo via @nuchasnyc.
Nuchas
Empanadas! Yes! Nearly every flavor at this food truck is to die for, from its short ribs to spicy chicken, and the crunchy (but not too crunchy) crust can't be beat. Plus, it's an amazing value.

Nuchas, multiple locations.
23 of 30
Photo via @eddiespizza.
Eddie's Pizza
Super-thin crust, tons of toppings, and an unbeatable price. While most personal pies in the city can go for upwards of $15, Eddie's "so delicious regular" pizza starts at just $7.50. Adventurous foodies, go for the white arugula or the "Eddie's favorite." We couldn't be more thankful that this Staten Island staple has brought its saucy, cheesy amazingness to the rest of the Big Apple.

Eddie's Pizza, multiple locations.
24 of 30
Photo via @paledrunkmonk.
Soup Man
Ali "Al" Yeganeh's soup chain is world-famous, due in part to its relationship with Seinfeld (he was reportedly the inspiration for the show's "Soup Nazi"). Visit the midtown Manhattan location for the full experience, and grab a cup of one of Al's too-good-to-be-true bisques to-go.

Soup Man, multiple locations.
25 of 30
Photo via @melissa_mae.
Prosperity Dumpling
A hole-in-the-wall Lower East Side gem. Sure, the best dumplings may be in Flushing, but Prosperity Dumpling sure gives the Queens restaurants a run for their money. Dumpling orders run between just $1 to $2, so you can stack up on pretty much every type you could ever dream of (like fried pork and chive, or boiled shrimp) and be nowhere near breaking the bank.

Prosperity Dumpling, 46 Eldridge Street (between Hester and Canal streets); 212-343-0683.
26 of 30
Photo via @andrea_papitto.
NY Dosas
Thiru Kumar’s food cart is a Washington Square Park staple — and it's no surprise. His daily dose of dosas (say that three times fast) raise the caliber of street food to a whole new level (it's world-renowned, after all). Our only word of advice: Get yourselves to NYU's campus, stat. You need to experience this culinary magic for yourself.

NY Dosas, West 4th Street (at Sullivan Street); 917-710 2092.
Advertisement
27 of 30
Photo via @valduccis.
Valducci's
Sure, you can get pizza on pretty much every corner of New York City, but we guarantee that a majority of those dollar slices aren't anywhere near as tummy-pleasing as Valducci's famous thin-crust Sicilian pie. It may be a bit pricey per slice ($4), but what do you expect from a place that's been dubbed the city's "best pizza" by the New York Daily News...five times.

Valducci's, multiple locations.
28 of 30
Photo via @amandalee208.
Bolivian Llama Party
If the name doesn't sell you, the stand's seriously authentic goods will do the trick. Their most famous nom is the sandwich de chola — its version includes brown sugar, smoked paprika, pickles, and quesillo — but we're also fans of their saltenas (the Bolivian version of an empanada) and homemade soda.

Bolivian Llama Party, multiple locations.
29 of 30
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Think the light yellow truck is cute? Just try the ice cream. The flavors are equally as adorable — currants and cream, Earl Grey tea, palm sugar. And, vegans rejoice! They serve scoops made from coconut and cashew milk, raw cocoa butter, extra virgin olive oil, and organic sugar cane, so everyone can taste a little piece of heaven.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, Bedford Avenue (at North 8th Street), Brooklyn; Prince Street (at Greene Street).
30 of 30
Photo via @bitot.
Desi Food Truck
Spot this bright yellow food truck and you'll know you're in for a serious (and seriously authentic) Indian treat. The prices are reasonable, the portions are generous, and their puri bhaji (a.k.a. "the game changer") might just be one of the best in the city.

Desi Food Truck, Soho Square Park, Sixth Avenue (at Spring Street); 212-961-6193.
Advertisement