Eating in New York is no joke. With dozens upon dozens of ethnic groups living in the city, it stands to reason that there are just as many types of cuisine. Here in Bushwick, surrounded by African Americans, foreign-born black people, a Hasidic enclave, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, I can find inexpensive fodder saddled right next door to a recent influx of more expensive hipster fare (i.e. the very tasty- but way overpriced-Robertas). I’m on a budget, and am saving up for a trip around the world, so cheap (but tasty) meals are right up my alley.
Here’s a short guide to a few totally hole-in-the-wall, south-of-the-border Bushwick eats that you MUST TRY (I’ll write about food from different parts of the world in subsequent posts). Warning- none of my recommendations have websites, have proprietors/proprietresses who speak only Spanish, and are not location specific, meaning that some of the street food options move from block to block depending on the weather and the heat of the sun. But if you’re craving local adventure and a bellyful of amazing grub that will cost only a few bucks, then a good luck and a Dios te bendiga.
Does the word PUPUSA make your mouth water? It should. At El Salvador on Knickerbocker Ave, pupusas (El Salvador’s version of the tortilla) are filled with fresh ingredients such as cheese and beans, queso blanco, chorizo, and a spicy coleslaw called curtido. Very filling and super cheap, right by the Myrtle/Wyckoff stop on the M-train.
Tacos La Hacienda
Tacos La Hacienda is a Mexican joint in a silver ’50s dining car on the corner of Dekalb and Wyckoff Avenues (the Dekalb stop on the L-train) where you can order a house specialty such as mole poblano con arroz (around $6) or tasty and cheap tacos ($2.25). Get them on the go or sit at the diner windows and watch locals and neighborhood newcomers mingle outside on the sidewalk.
Los Tortilleria Mexicana
Tacos La Hacienda is great, but why go there when you can get tacos directly from the factory where they buy their homemade tortillas? If ambience isn’t what you’re going for, but if you’d like to sit and watch tortillas being packed for shipping by Spanish-speaking workers, then Los Tortilleria Mexicana is your kind of place. The tortilleria is located at 271 Starr Street (a hop, skip and a jump away from the Jefferson stop on the L-train), and yes, these tacos can also be had on the cheap.
Mexican Corn (and other street foods)
Street food, street food and more street food. Holy crap, do we love it! Last night we dined on Mexican corn, which are ears of hot corn rolled in butter, rubbed down with mayo, sprinkled with grated cojito cheese (found in all of our local groceries and nearly all of the bodegas) and sprinkled with red pepper and fresh lime. Where does one find a feast of this magnificence? Well, if you’re not prepared to make your own (it’s really as easy as I just described), then take the M-train to Knickerbocker, get off and ask a local. You’re liable to find a stand just blocks away. The woman who sold us corn prepared it on what looked to be a grocery. She also laughed when I tried to order in Spanish (um, I don’t yet know Spanish, but I gave it a go!). I noticed that she also sold slices of mango and bags of salted cucumber and lemon. Is this the healthiest meal on the planet? Nope. But a special treat? Oh hell yeah.
Look around also for carts selling shaved ice and all sorts of tacos and fruit.
El Salvador (718) 628-0606 1544 Myrtle Ave Brooklyn, NY 11237
Tacos La Hacienda (718) 821-8816 96 Wyckoff Ave Brooklyn, NY 11237
Los Tortilleria Mexicana
271 Starr St
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Street Food Um, check, you know, the streets of Bushwick?