A new food cart recently appeared on the streets of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn called the Kaya Cart. They serve bao, which is what Fun Buns NYC serves. That might explain why the Kaya Cart doesn’t venture into Midtown.
There are 4-5 bao to choose from on the menu, along with a couple of choices of sides. The bao are $3.50 each, except Peking duck, which is $4.
We got the special with 2 bao and a side order of popcorn chicken for $9. Since one of the bao we chose was Peking duck, it ended up being $9.50.
Service was quick, and we left with lunch in under 5 minutes.
The popcorn chicken was fried in a light batter, along the lines of Japanese kara-age. There was a little crunch to the batter, but nowhere near what Southern fried chicken gets. The popcorn chicken was good, but a little salty.
The Peking duck bao comes with hoisin sauce, and shredded cucumber and scallions on top. Duck skin was included inside the bao, and it was tasty, but it wasn’t crispy. Asian 5-spice flavor was the most up front taste in the duck bao, which we enjoy.
Picking up the chicken bao was tricky since it was so full of meat. The marinated, shredded chicken was nice and juicy, and the fresh cilantro leaves added freshness. Unfortunately, the chicken was so juicy, the bao fell apart in the middle.
The bao themselves (the part that holds the meat) were light and puffy, and we were happy overall with this lunch, except for the chicken bao falling apart towards the end.
The Kaya Cart parks by Hudson & King Sts, in the Financial District, and in Brooklyn. They told us the street food market in Midtown is too saturated, but it’s pretty crowded in FiDi too, if you ask us.