Taking a stab at NYC’s food scene: Smorgasburg.

“Smorgasburg” sounds like a fairytale European town or something. It’s quite a mouthful to say, but then again the event is indeed quite a mouthful. Imagine a farmer’s market transformed into a restaurant festival, and vendors are crammed on a sprawling lawn with smoke rising from their grills. There were restaurants serving things ranging from ramen burgers to vegan fare, foods like giant French fries and Maryland crab cakes. Honestly, walking around was overwhelming because I knew that I needed to choose carefully. So I prowled around for a while, surveying the options.

I really craved fries that day. And then I spotted people sauntering around holding these white cones of mouthwatering fries, which only heightened my appetite. Bolivian LLAMA Party was the vendor serving these papitas, and I eagerly snagged some for meself. They were panko-crusted and dusted with quilquina (a Mexican/South American herb), then accompanied by a creamy cilantro and quilquina sauce. Golden, crispy, and dunked in vibrant, savory flavors. I enjoyed how these fries carried a more unique style and taste combination, which were much more intriguing than typical frites.

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My other favorite vendor was goa taco, which served paratha tacos. This concept of Asian fusion truly piqued my interest–parathas are Indian flatbreads with delicate layers of dough that easily separate when the bread is peeled apart. Fried to a deep brown, these “tacos” were packed in checkered envelopes and filled with soft, tender pork belly crusted with fat cracklings and fresh cabbage. Absolutely delicious–simple ingredients were poured into this creation to make a scrumptious, rich combination.

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I also tried El Salvadorean street food, called pupusas. The line for this vendor, Solber Pupusas, was quite sizable, and each pupusa was handmade and slowly grilled to perfection. These resembled savory pancakes made of cornmeal and stuffed with chicken and queso. A red cabbage salad doused in salsa and topped with pickled jalapenos hunkered on the side. For 4 dollars, this meal was the most bang for the buck.

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Smorgasburg is the kind of place that people need to visit every weekend just to be able to sample every vendor–it’s a food festival not for the faint of heart. My Smorgasburg experience really captured authentic and unique flavors that made my palate a very happy and satisfied one.

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