Greenwich St. and Park Pl., TriBeCa
Front & Adams St., DUMBO
Varick & King Sts., SoHo
One of our favorite new food carts is Kaya NYC, which we discovered on its very first day a few months back on Greenwich St. and Park Pl. Owner David, who hails from Hong Kong and earned a finance degree from Baruch a few years ago, had been helping his father at his restaurant in Brooklyn and eventually decided to start his own mobile place, working with his girlfriend, Kristy, a retail banker. “We always dreamed of having our own food-service establishment, and we always thought that there is no real authentic Asian food in the city that can really represent our cuisine. We are disappointed with the image of Chinese food in America,” he told us, explaining that there’s a whole lot more to Asian cuisine than “cheap” fried chicken wings, pork fried rice, and General Tso’s chicken. He and Kristy brainstormed and decided to serve extremely tasty steamed buns called gua baos, small, light, doughy fold-over circular sandwiches stuffed with shredded red curry chicken, crushed peanuts, and cilantro; pork belly, scallions, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce; stir-fried beef, onions, greens, and homemade barbecue sauce; Peking duck, scallions, cucumbers, and hoisin sauce; and fried tofu, pickled carrots, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and a sweet-and-spicy sauce. They also make terrific popcorn chicken that comes in a cone, vegetable spring rolls, and tea eggs, and they’ve just added a new fried bao with popcorn chicken that we can’t wait to try. Various combos range from eight to eleven dollars, a great deal for such unusual food. “Our goal is to serve New Yorkers with real, authentic Asian cuisine and change the perception of Asian food,” David added. The small cart changes locations daily, from TriBeCa to SoHo to DUMBO and now Williamsburg as well. All items are made fresh to order, and there are Taiwanese sodas and the yogurt-based Kaya Refresher to wash it all down.