Perry, the founder of New York Street Food, brings you his latest review on New York City street food.
One of our favorite food trucks stopped coming to midtown a couple of years ago, so it’s been a while since we’ve been there for lunch. Midtown’s loss was the Financial District and Brooklyn’s gain. Now Sweet Chili is back for a limited engagement at #FoodTrucksOnFifth, the summer program run by Bryant Park we told you about a few weeks ago.
Sweet Chili is owned by Lisa Fernandes, a former Top Chef Chicago Finalist. Lisa does the cooking of what she dubs Thaietnamese cuisine, which takes aspects and ingredients from both Thai and Vietnamese cuisines.
Like many foods trucks these days, you choose a protein and a salad, which are served with jasmine rice for $10. The full menu is here. We chose sweet chili chicken and papaya salad. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – when a chef names their truck or restaurant after a dish, try that dish first.
The sweet chili chicken was very moist and tender, almost like it was stewed. There was a combination of white and dark meat in the dish, but it was the sauce that got our attention.
Of course there were chilies, but the sweet, spicy sauce also contained tamarind, which is always welcome in our dishes. Scallions were included, too.
Sweet Chili describes this dish perfectly because it was definitely spicy, but had that sweet heat we enjoy so much. Scooping up some sticky jasmine rice and sweet chili chicken in the same bite worked great in balancing the heat.
The shredded papaya salad was cool and refreshing, especially after the sweet chili chicken. It was loaded with peanuts, and had a vinegary sauce. The sauce contained nuoc cham (fish sauce), which added some depth to the flavor.
Sweet Chili will be outside the NY Public Library on selected days during the summer, by 40th St & 5th Ave, as part of the #FoodTrucksOnFifth program. There’s a different food truck each day of the week.