Five Dollar Food Challenge: Indian Halal at Desi Food Truck

By: Michael Engle

In previous installments of the Five Dollar Food Challenge, I visited El Aguila and La Isla, two Spanish Harlem outlets that serve authentic Latin comida.  This time, I opted for a completely different experience.  Having recently given Tweat It a whirl, I learned that Desi Food Truck, featuring authentic halal Indian cuisine, was relatively close by in Harlem.  With a "paper Abe" in hand, I made the westward trek to Broadway and 113th in order to meet up with Desi Food Truck.

All of Desi's offerings are reasonably priced.  While there are several $5 possibilities from this truck, the most expensive menu item--the non-vegetarian combo meal--will only set you back $9, including a soft drink!  To remain within my budget, I briefly considered the "dal and rice" plate.  Even though it appeared to be an excellent value, I was not tremendously hungry at that time, and I am not particularly fond of lentils.  Instead, in the spirit of street-eating (I may or may not have been influenced by the Columbia students shuttling between classes), I surveyed the list of "rolls."

As the attendant explained to me, the difference between the chicken kati and anda rolls is simple: the anda roll adds cooked egg, as well as $1, to its price.  After a lighthearted bargaining attempt proved to be fruitless, I ordered the chicken kati roll.  Within seconds, I was presented an aromatic mixture of chicken and onions wrapped in a fried piece of naan bread.  After I placed my order, I was asked whether I wanted my order spicy (to which I replied, "Yes," with a thumb up).  Surprisingly and/or thankfully, my taste buds were not assaulted with heat; instead, each bite was filled with flavor that pleasantly lingered on my palette.

At the conclusion of this $5 adventure, I not only learned of an excellent food truck, but I also confirmed that food truck-finding apps are well worth investing in.  I will certainly seek out Desi's future locations, and flock to it if I were to be in the neighborhood.  More importantly, I eagerly await my next opportunity to see what my next challenge may entice me to sample next!

Photo: Michael Engle

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