This past weekend marked the annual opening of a warm-weather tradition in New York City, especially for devotees of great street food. Every summer, a caravan of vendors returns to the Red Hook Ball Fields in Brooklyn on weekends, catering to the crowds of people who come to play in or watch the soccer games going on or to seek out some of the cheapest, tastiest food in the city.
The Red Hook vendors all hail from different Latin American countries, including Mexico, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. A lot of the food is spicy, and all of it is filling, delicious…and extremely cheap. (You can sample a number of dishes for under $20.)
Some of the most popular offerings include pupusas (a Salvadoran specialty resembling a thick corn tortilla, stuffed with cheese, pork, beans or other fillings), huaraches (oblong slabs of fried masa, or dough, topped with fresh salsa and spicy thin-chopped meat and named for the Mexican sandal) and horchata (a creamy drink made of rice milk and cinnamon).
The Red Hook Ball Fields are located on Court Street at Bay Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn (home to New York’s only IKEA store). The closest subway is the F, G at Smith-9th Streets. Starting May 15, some ball field vendors will be selling their wares at a new Red Hook Mercado, along with more food and crafts from the neighborhood.
For an up-close look at the scene on opening weekend, and tips on some of the best places to eat at the Red Hook Ball Fields, check out this video.