The Shuka Truck (Israeli)
Food Truck: The Shuka Truck
Sighting: 47th and Park
Today there were only three food trucks on 47th and Park, one selling American burgers and chicken sandwiches, one selling cheesesteaks, and one selling an Israeli dish I’d never heard of called shakshuka. No, this isn’t a joint venture between Shaquille O’Neill and Don Shula. It’s a traditional dish from Israel made of eggs poached in tomato sauce with spices like harissa (a red chili pepper paste), bell pepper, cumin, and other spices. Since one of my goals is to taste every nation’s cuisine (plus, my waistline doesn’t need another cheesesteak right now), I went for it.
The name of the truck is a little hard to find. At first I thought it was called “Eggcellent” because that’s what’s written at the top front of the truck. But the proper logo is on the door: The Shuka Truck
The guys at the window couldn’t have been nicer. They saw I was lost and so when I asked them what their most popular dish was they said the Humshuka. Since I don’t know a shuka from a kick in the pants, I smiled and ask them to give it to me.
When you order a platter, you also have the choice of a side Israeli salad, cauliflower, or freshly made potato chips. Guess which one I got? 😛
The dish is probably one of the most unique things I’ve ordered from a food truck to date. It comes in a standard plastic container. One top of a generous helping of hummus, there’s a perfectly poached egg, with the yolk at just the point of congealing.
The egg is smothered in a pool of fresh tomato sauce. You can see the chopped onions on top and each bit is something new from both texture and flavor–one bite I’ll taste the homemade hummus, another I’ll get a bite of the roasted bell pepper, and another I’ll taste the egg infused with the tomato flavor.
Throughout there are the distinctive Middle Eastern flavor of garlic, paprika, and the sweetness and tanginess of the tomato. All the flavors work together really well. I started out by eating it straight up as if I were eating spaghetti sauce without the spaghetti, but I realized that I could take the large wheat pita and break bread.
The potato chips also had a really unique spiciness to them and provided me with the very grease I avoided by not going to the cheesesteak truck.
I was fascinated at how this really unique street food made its way to New York and came across this article in Forward magazine.
Overall, it’s definitely an acquired taste. I wouldn’t say this is the sort of thing I’d order every day, but it was great to get a taste of some authentic street food from Israel.
4 of 5
Price I paid: $12.00
Line: 5 minutes
Tricks for fast ordering: Pick one of four “Our Way” platters, or if you’re particularly finicky, memorize the five veggie toppings you want in a “Your Way”.
What to order if you’re a newbie: Humshuka platter