Sunday, October 14, 2007

Food Vendors @ Red Hook Ball Fields

I'm sure by now you've heard of the food vendors at the Red Hook ball fields who serve up cheap, delicious food from their homelands. Tacos and huaraches from Mexico, pupusas from El Salvador, ceviche from Ecuador, all side-by-side served in tents with long communal benches. In fact, word of mouth has spread (and NY Times articles written) that roughly half of their clientele are non-Hispanic. Since I had a hankering for ceviche, I took the F train to Smith St. and met up at the Red Hook ball fields with my fellow world food lovers.

I arrived late to find that the others already chomping on their quesadillas. Based on Paula's recommendation, I walked over to a tent with the banner 'Guatemala' and got a tamale (ground corn meal with pork wrapped in banana leaves; first picture) and some jugo de pina (pineapple juice) to wash it down. All for a surprisingly cheap $4.50, so much so that I bantered with the cashier, "Es demasiado barato" (Too cheap), to which she shot back, "Ok, ten dollars!". Next stop was the Ecuadorian tent for a container of ceviche mixto (uncooked seafood and fish marinated in lemon) that some people were hesitant to try owing to some fear about hygienic preparation, but eventually they relented and everyone agreed that it was pretty good. The tamale as well was roundly praised, with Paula going so far to say that it's the best she's ever had. High praise from a 20 year veteran of the culinary industry.

Feeling a little bit hungry, I ventured over to one of the Mexican tents and ordered two tacos. Didn't count on the spiciness of the pork that had be scrambling for another drink, this time some lemonade. Along the way, I shared in some of the food ordered by the other people in the group. The 2nd picture above shows some spicy chorizo, and to the left is a picture of a pupusa from one of the two El Salvadorian tents, basically a thick, hand-made corn tortilla stuffed with pork and cheese, or other fillings. The plantains on the side were coated with brown sugar and thus very sweet, just the way I like it.

Read more about the Latin American food vendors and their struggle to stay permanently at the Red Hook ball fields.

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