NYCReview

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Cheong Fun Cart review image
7.6

Cheong Fun Cart

$$$$

159 Hester St, New York
Earn 3X Points

Every morning on the corner of Hester and Elizabeth, you’ll find a quick-moving line in front of a big silver box on wheels containing two friendly ladies. The ladies make simple, springy, and pleasantly chewy meat-filled rice rolls, and orders start at $1.50.

Here’s what you need to know before heading over: 

  • They only take cash, and the most expensive thing costs $6.

  • It’s unclear when this place closes, but it’s probably whenever they sell out of everything. To be safe, come before 10am.

  • You can scarf down your food right there on the sidewalk, but Sara D. Roosevelt Park is only two blocks away.

  • The cart is parked right in front of Hong Kong Supermarket, so pick up some frozen scallion pancakes, chocolate Pocky, and a jar of chili crisp while you’re there.

Cheong Fun Cart review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

The rice rolls don’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, and it’s nice to not have to think about which combination of 15 different ingredients you want to toss in. You choose a protein, specify small or large, and decide if you want to add extra meat for $0.50 or an egg for $0.75. (Always add an egg.) Every order automatically comes with a soy-based sauce, scallions, cilantro, and hot sauce—and that’s it. Our favorites are the fresh shrimp and the ham (i.e., Spam) varieties, with the dried shrimp coming in a close third because of the subtle crunch it provides.

The next time you’re too lazy to fix breakfast for yourself, skip that $14 avocado toast and head to this rice roll cart. It’s fast, easy, and inexpensive, and as a bonus, you’ll get to eat outside. If you’re feeling fancy, splurge on a large $3 order. You’ll probably have enough leftovers for lunch.

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Food Rundown

Cheong Fun Cart review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Fresh Shrimp

A rice roll with plump, chopped shrimp is a classic, and it’s our go-to order here. This is the only variety for which you should consider adding extra filling. They give you plenty, but can you ever have too much shrimp?

Cheong Fun Cart review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Ham

The salty, fatty, and processed taste of Spam goes really well with rice rolls, which are such a blank slate on their own.

Cheong Fun Cart review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Dried Shrimp

If you want a bit of textural contrast, this is a good option. The dried shrimp are relatively large, so they’re still a little meaty, but they also have some subtle crunch. You’ll get a nice concentrated shrimp flavor too.

Cheong Fun Cart review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Roast Pork

The cha siu is chopped into small pieces, kind of like bacon bits. It’s pretty salty, so be sure to ask for the soy-based sauce on the side. As long as you drizzle only a small amount on top, every bite will be balanced and taste great.

Cheong Fun Cart review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Pork/Beef/Chicken

We group these three varieties together because, to be honest, when you look at all three side by side, you can’t really tell which is which. Taste-wise, we like the ground pork option the best because it’s the most fatty. The beef comes in second, and the chicken is a distant third. We wouldn’t recommend ordering the chicken unless it’s the only type of meat you eat.

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