Editor's note: On October 18th, street vendors from all around the city will converge on the Tobacco Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn for this years Vendy Awards. Tickets are only $80 and every penny goes to benefit the Street Vendor Project, a non-profit organization that fights for the rights of sidewalk vendors in New York City. Every day this week we will profile one of the five finalists, and the food they will be serving up at the competition. To kick it off Joe DiStefano headed to the Bronx to sample Fauzia Abdur-Rahman's "Heavenly Delights".
Friday afternoon I paid a visit to Fauzia’s Delights a street cart located outside the Bronx District Attorney’s office. It’s up for a Vendy Award this year, and after tasting Fauzia Abdur-Rahman’s food and talking to some of her loyal customers, I can see why. As I got on line I asked a fellow in front of me about Fauzia’s eats and he told it to me straight; “I’d cry if she wasn’t out here.” I asked him what he usually gets and my jaw dropped when he said the vegetables. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone more excited about veggies in my life. Because of the rain the friendly Fauzia didn’t have a chance to make any jerk chicken that day. I asked someone else on line what was good and they beamed, “It’s all good.”
Part of the reason that it’s all so good is that Fauzia, who hails from Kingston, Jamaica, makes everything fresh. She arrives on the corner of 161 Street and Sheridan Avenue at 9 a.m. and fires up her six-burner stove. The offerings change daily, so she posts a hand-written menu.
I decided to go for the fish with mixed vegetables and the honey-mustard bbq tofu. The latter turned out to be chunks of tofu slathered with barbeque sauce. Not exactly my cuppa tea, but still pretty tasty. The fish, on the other hand, was some of the best I’ve ever had from a cart. Tender chunks of whiting and veggies seasoned with fresh basil, onion, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and garlic sat atop a heap of perfectly done rice. It’s the healthiest thing I’ve ever eaten from a street cart. I followed up Fauzia’s fish with some insanely good banana pudding that was teeming with bits of Nilla wafers and fruit.
At the Vendy Awards Fauzia plans to serve fish with mixed vegetables, jerk chicken wings, and—get this—vegetarian jerk chicken wings. And, of course, that insanely good banana pudding.
East 161 Street & Sheridan Avenue Bronx NY 10451 (map)