On a cold and rainy day like today, it’s hard not to think back to last Saturday’s sunny skies during the 2016 Vendy Awards on Governors Island!
As you may remember, I attended last year and it was an absolute blast. Organized by The Street Vendor Project (SVP) – who has been fighting tirelessly in the name of street vendors to educate them on their legal rights, help them grow their businesses, and provide them support and guidance – all of the proceeds of the Vendy Awards go directly to supporting them. So not only were attendees able to fill their bellies to their heart’s (and arteries’) desires, but also support an amazing cause!
Out of the thousands of street vendors and food trucks out there, only 26 were nominated by the public to showcase what they’ve got, and the sheer variety was overwhelming. There was vegan Guyanese food from Jerk Shack (@jerkshacknyc), seafood from Harlem Seafood Soul (@HarlemSeafoodSo), Indonesian satay from Tuson Sate (@tusonsate), Southeast Asian sticky rice treats from Bamboo Bites (@Bamboo_Bites), and so much more!
One of the longest lines arguably belonged to newcomer and Rookie of the Year Contender, Sisig City (@sisigcity). Hailing itself as the first Filipino food truck, Sisig City’s founder, Manny Imperial, has a mission to expose as many people to the food he grew up eating, and I can definitely see why!
His food was so good, especially the Lumpia Spring Rolls and the plaintain-filled dessert, Turon. P.S. Keep an eye out for Manny in an upcoming episode of Chopped.
I think my personal favorite food of the day came from Cachapas on Wheels (@cachapasymas), a Venezuelan food truck, who also won the People’s Choice Award! Part of my family is from Venezuela, so I think it’s amazing that their food is finally being given the attention it deserves. Besides, who doesn’t love anything with plantains??
And just when I thought I was about to pop, we had to make room for dessert. I would’ve loved to have tried the Good Batch ice cream sandwiches (especially after they won the Best of Dessert award), but they had just run out by the time I made it over. But never fear, as Sweetface Snoballs was there to satisfy our sweet tooth!
Starting in her apartment, Rebecca Duckert brought her New Orleans-style “snoballs” (or shaved ice treats) to NYC, and I’m so glad she did because they were delicious.
And walking away with the day’s top prize was Tacos El Rancho who won this year’s Vendy Cup!
Based out of Sunset Park, Brooklyn and cooking authentic Oaxacan food, this father/son operation seemed genuinely surprised and grateful to have received such an honor. It’s always so heartwarming to see others receive the recognition they deserve after working so hard, and this was definitely no exception.
Win or lose, what’s apparent is that all of these vendors love what they do and it shows. The food was delicious (and completely donated), the people were awesome, and the cause is amazing, so who’s with me in 2017??
Vendy Award Winners 2016:
The Vendy Cup: Tacos el Rancho
People’s Choice: Cachapas on Wheels
Rookie of the Year: Mr. Bing
Best Market Vendor: Big Mozz
Best Dessert Vendor: The Good Batch
Best Vegan Vendor: Mysttik Masaala
People’s Choice Vegan Vendor: Monk’s Meat