Feel like Arroz Con Pollo? Move over Morocho, there’s a new Peruvian food cart in town!
As we often do, we got out of the Rockefeller Center station at 47th St see what was happening along 6th Avenue. Before turning down 6th Ave, about midway down the block, there was a crowd of people around a food cart. Approaching the cart, we could see a large, beautiful photo on the side and the name, Manos Peruanos, Peruvian Hands.
Not too long ago, we were not familiar with Peruvian food, but after going through the menu at Morocho, we have a much better idea. Here they also have aji de gallino, lomo saltado, anticuchos and more.
We decided to get arroz con pollo for $8, which the woman recommended, plus a beef empanada for $3. FYI, only a few menu items had prices listed.
Starting with the empanada, you could immediately see the difference between these and others. The large empanadas here are baked, not deep-fried, although to be fair, the empanadas at Nuchas are baked too. This empanada was larger and not as perfectly shaped as Nuchas, meaning it was hand made.
The pastry itself was delicious, with a touch of sweetness in the dough. The filling was mainly ground beef, but we also saw a stray raisin or two, and some hard-boiled egg.
The first bite with raisin and egg was great, but on the 2nd bite, the beef was salty. Taking 2 more bites, we were happy by the end of the empanada, but they can cut back on the salt a little.
There were 2 large pieces of chicken, a thigh and a leg, both with the skin on. It appeared to be stewed, and was very soft and moist. No dry chicken here.
The chicken was topped with red onions, and you could see plenty of herbs in the chicken too. To add even more flavor, you had 2 options: red onions or a light green, creamy hot sauce.
When we say hot sauce, this was one of the hotter sauces we’ve had on the street. You are hereby warned. This hot sauce can easily bury the chicken, so use it judiciously.
We like spicy food, but actually preferred the chicken with rice and red onions most bites, with a little salsa verde every few bites.
After finishing the Arroz Con Pollo, which had plenty of meat, there was plenty of rice. The rice here was pretty herby, with minced cilantro and scattered peas mixed in with the rice.
For a first meal at Manos Peruanos, we were pretty happy. Their empanada stood out from the pack, and the arroz con pollo was a solid, hearty, flavorful meal. Just be careful of the green hot sauce.