New York's best street food

Willie Grace | 12/3/2014, 1:46 p.m. | Updated on 12/3/2014, 1:46 p.m.
Now, its second cart in Midtown Manhattan peddles its famous falafel and shawarma to the masses, in addition to meaty ...
Coffee, usually deli-quality, is served in small blue-and-white Anthora cups that have become as characteristic of New York as yellow cabs and dirty water dogs.

(CNN) -- New York may be a paradise of Zagat-rated, Michelin-starred restaurants, but some of its best food can be found on the streets.

Hundreds of mobile eateries hawking gourmet global cuisine occupy corners across the city, alongside traditional hotdog vendors and halal carts.

King of Falafel & Shawarma

Halal carts slinging styrofoam plates piled high with falafel, shawarma and rice are ubiquitous in New York, but you'll recognize "the King" by the seemingly endless line crowding the sidewalk beside it.

Originally a Queens staple, the cart dominated the corner of 30th Street and Broadway in Astoria for almost a decade before it won the Vendy Award for New York's Best Street Food in 2010.

Now, its second cart in Midtown Manhattan peddles its famous falafel and shawarma to the masses, in addition to meaty plates like the Freddy's Junior: chicken, kefta and basmati rice topped with chopped onion and doused liberally in tahini and chile sauce.

King of Falafel & Shawarma; 53rd Street and Park Avenue; +1 718 838 8029

Milk Truck

Bessie, Milk Truck's sunshine-yellow food truck, is a welcome sight for hungry New Yorkers during lunch hour.

Every day, the truck's perpetually cheerful staff hawk classic American comfort foods like mac and cheese and turkey chili.

The most popular item by far is the grilled cheese sandwich.

There are three variations: the classic, the classic with onion and mustard, and a hearty three-cheese version with apple.

Despite not having a regular location -- Bessie's daily whereabouts must be tracked online -- Milk Truck has become a fixture in the New York street food scene thanks to its fiercely loyal following.

Milk Truck; locations vary; +1 646 233 3838

Red Hook Lobster Pound food truck

New Yorkers don't need to go to New England for a good lobster roll.

Thanks to Big Red, Red Hook Lobster Pound's lobster shack on wheels, they only need to walk to the curb.

Rolls come Maine-style, served cold with mayo, or Connecticut-style, served warm with butter and lemon, each stuffed with a quarter pound of fresh Maine lobster.

Despite a price tag high that's high for the streets -- $16 per roll at the time of writing -- the truck still sells between 300-400 rolls every two hours.

Red Hook Lobster Pound Food Truck; locations vary; +1 718 858 7650

Lumpia Shack

Though Lumpia Shack has recently upgraded to its own brick-and-mortar, its original location at Brooklyn's Smorgasburg street food market still remains.

Lines form before the tiny street stall as early as 11 a.m. each Saturday for lumpia, crispy, Filipino-inspired spring rolls.

Each roll is made using locally sourced ground pork, roasted duck or truffled adobo mushrooms, hand-rolled and then deep-fried.

Unlike regular street food, Lumpia Shack's plating is restaurant quality: the lumpia are arranged artfully on a tray, drizzled with homemade sauce and garnished with pea shoots and pickled vegetables.

Lumpia Shack; Smorgasburg at Kent Avenue and Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn; +1 917 475 1621

Dirty water dogs

Sometimes it feels like almost every other Manhattan street corner is dressed with the ubiquitous blue and yellow striped Sabrett umbrella, under which you'll find New York's most iconic street food: the dirty water dog.