Yesterday, I was thrilled to stumble upon a new, vibrant-looking food truck joining Tacos El Chicken on Beverley Road between Church Avenue and East 2nd Street, which made me wonder — is this corner an up-and-coming food truck destination?
Dhaka, named after Bangladesh’s capital city, offers authentic Bengali street food, including Goat Biryani ($8 with a drink), Beef Biryani ($7) and a dish called Morog Polao Chicken ($6), which is similar to Biryani but not as strongly spiced; and snacks like Puri ($1) and Samosas ($2). The menu is short and sweet, a perfect contrast to the often overwhelming and unlabeled choices at many buffet-style South Asian restaurants lining Coney Island Avenue.
Additional signs plastered on the mini-sized truck announced a special Bengali dish called Chot Poti ($4) and the world’s best Mango Lassi ($3), which I will definitely be back to taste!
When we went out there at 8pm, there was already a crowd spilling over from the Kensington Plaza next door; clusters of men talking and sipping thick chai tea from glass cups. The owners said that this was their first day, but judging by the line and flow of tea glasses, this corner should treat them well.
After ordering Goat Biryani and tea, the owner made sure I knew what I was in for. “Have you ever had real Kashmiri Chai before? Because this is the real deal,” he told me while I waited for it to warm. The tea was so thick, creamy and sweet, that despite last night’s humidity, I gulped it down during my walk home.
The Biryani was succulent and bursting with complex flavors, surprising for a dish that looks like simple rice with meat. It had a slow-burn spiciness, infused with all of the whole-spices I recognized from my League of Kitchens Bengali cooking class — including golden raisins, cinnamon bark, peppercorns, green chili peppers, and probably a host of others I couldn’t see, from a Biryani Masala powder spice blend.
The goat pieces were chewy and wrapped around sharp bone spikes — so best to eat this dish slowly and carefully.
Right now, Dhaka Bengali Street food posts limited hours, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on weekdays, but owners Russell and Omar said they’ll most likely expand. And when I poked my head around the corner on my way home from the laundromat at 9:30, they were still open and serving a full crowd.
The two-month-old food truck is usually stationed in Queens, but they’re experimenting with this location, which they chose because it’s the “center of Bengali cuisine in New York City,” said Russell.
Dhaka Bengali Street Food will be open all day this Saturday September 3 and Sunday September 4, so get out there and help them return to our Kensington corner.