Andrew Zimmern is a really real food guy—and not because he’ll eat antelope testicle tartar with a side of moldy bark in the Australian bush. The whole eating weird shit Olympiad that has made him famous on TV is just not what the guy should be known for. Zimmern is an accomplished journalist and ethnic food scholar, having written widely about Asian and Central American cuisine. Prior to a writing career, he ran kitchens and dining rooms in New York and Minneapolis.

So when Andrew Zimmern signed up to host an ethnic food cart exhibition to close the New York City Wine and Food Festival, it was a real non-brainer to show up and eat my way through Israel, Mexico, Greece, India, Korea and the country responsible for three-cheese grilled cheese.  

Over three hours I sampled plate after plate from carts lining the courtyard of the Eventi Hotel. Some favorites? Taim Mobile served fresh falafel, golden brown and cracked to reveal a shamrock center. The Milk Truck—famous at the Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea—melted a trio of gruyere, Cheddar and blue cheese between well-grilled rosemary bread. Taiwanese fried pork, sided with pickled cabbage and pan drippings is the jam at the Bian Dang truck. We often visit their brick-and-mortar location near our Koreatown offices in Manhattan.

FoodParc itself represented with a number of very solid dishes. Lamb ribs were fragrant and gamey, boosted with a sweet soy glaze. Red Farm (not a cart) served the best dish of the day. Black sea bass was lightly fried and wedged into a crusty tartlet piped with zippy avocado. A textbook pork dumpling, still steaming, completed the dish.

After the attendees cast votes, the kati roll from the famous Biryani Cart took home the People’s Choice Award.  We skipped that line and went back for more grilled cheese. Here’s some food and Andrew Zimmern porn.