You know those food carts you always see stationed along Broadway Avenue? The ones that dish out dumplings, fried rice, noodles, and other kinds of yummy food to those patient enough to endure those loooooong ass lines? Me too. So I decided to visit each food cart, order whatever the heck they recommended to me, and figure out, once and for all, what all the food cart hype was about. Here’s what I found out:

1. iFood

food carts

Photo by Hyosun Ro

The service here was incredibly friendly, which was really cool considering how how busy the guy working the cart was. He wasn’t annoyed at all when I asked him what I should get and told my friend and I to order the rice cakes and the chicken over rice. The chicken over rice was simple and delicious. The rice cakes… legit! Forget those dry, circular pieces of cardboard for Quaker Oats, these rice cakes were fluffy, warm, and literally melted in my mouth the second I bit into them. In Korea, they’re called tteok and they’re super popular. Mine were covered in some sort of brown sauce that was so good I shoveled the rest of it into my mouth when I was done with the rice cakes. (#noshame).

My picks:

Chicken over Rice ($4.00), Rice Cakes ($5.00)

2. Uncle Luoyang

food carts

Photo by Maia Berlow

This bright yellow food truck has always caught my eye on my commute to class, especially with its cute logo. The company has both a cart AND a truck set up next to each other on Broadway. I ordered the dumplings, the pork burger, and the noodles with beef, and brought them back to my lounge to share with my floor. The dumplings were DELICIOUS. (Seriously, I thought I died and went to heaven when I bit into that first dumpling.) They were filled with pork and chives and between myself and a floormate they were gone in maybe 3 minutes. Maybe. The pork burger was alright, but definitely not the standout of the night I expected it would be. The noodles were awesome! So flavorful and I’d definitely go back for them. And bonus: they have a restaurant that recently opened on 106th and Amsterdam!

My picks:

Dumplings ($5.00), Pork Burger ($3.00), Noodles w/ Beef  ($5.00)

3. Traditional Chinese Food

The title says it all: these guys are direct, no-frills here. What you see here is what you get — authentic and delicious Chinese food. This cart also had, by far, the longest line, probably because the food here is a total steal. They let you choose three dishes (2 vegetables + 1 meat) for just $6.00 and everything comes with an gigantic portion of rice. I wanted to get the chicken/potato combo, which a friend of mine had recommended, but they had ran out of the dish by the time I got there (around 6:30PM), so I got the cabbage, tofu, and shredded pork combo instead. The shredded pork was incredibly on point, second only to the pork dumplings from Uncle Luoyung. The cabbage and tofu were fine (disclaimer: I’m not a big tofu fan) and the rice was awesome.

My picks:

Cabbage, Tofu, and Shredded Pork ($6.00)

Note: Spicy is always Good.

They’re back! Just in time for… #thanksgiving!! Pick your favorite size 1oz or 1.69oz $5 at #oceansushidelimonterey #oceansushideli.

A photo posted by S H I H O F U K U S H I M A (@glutenfreeshiho) on Nov 16, 2015 at 4:44pm PST

At all three carts, whenever I ordered noodles or rice, whoever was making my order would hold up a Sriracha bottle and ask me “Spicy?”.

If I learned anything: Go with spicy. Spicy is good.

You honestly can’t go wrong ordering at any of these food carts. Everything was super filling and mad cheap, which is an awesome deal when you live in a city that can charge $10 for a simple salad (looking at you, Sweetgreen). I’m sad I didn’t get to try everything on each cart’s menu, but I know I’ll definitely be back. My afternoon commute to class just got a lot tastier.