Bongo Brothers Cuban Food Truck

One of my quests in life is to eat a decent old fashioned, delicious, Cuban meal at a reasonable price. Not too hard of a task Id think in NYC, right? . After all, our Latino community is thriving here and wherever we go now in our Cuban obsessed Obama culture, new Cuban eateries are popping up like corn cobs at a street  carnival on a Summer day..No,  Im not talking about the overly posh Victors Steakhouse my Father used to frequent with me when I was a child, or the super greasy and hardly unique chain Havana Central (where the staff is from South America). I yearn for a taste of a simple Cuba that reminds me of my Mother and my Abuelita when they would slice up onions and garlic and fry them up with lime juice BEFORE they opened the refrigerator to see what was available to add to it. Yes,Good Cuban cuisine can be an elaborate, yet homely street family affair where the host digs a hole in his backyard and prepares the roasted pig smothered in a garlicky mojo served atop a heaping plate of white rice, black beans, and the ubiquitous fried  Platano Maduros ( sweet plantains). But it can also be a simple snack of a freshly baked  empanada with a savory blend of picadillo (ground beef) or pollo fricasee ( chicken and tomatoes). However its been years since Ive found the right spot anywhere in the US outside of Miami. Ive all but given up.


So its with a joyous tear in my eye that I can announce Ive found what is to me, the best tasting NYC Cuban Food in all of NYC. On a Food Truck of all places! I first spotted Bongo Brothers Cuban Food Truck (http://www.bongobrosnyc.com) barreling down the Lower East Side last week and quickly tweeted them to see where they were headed. I sprinted 20 blocks to the Flat Iron District, held my breath, took a look at the menu and crossed my fingers.   Nothing on the menu was over $10 so I knew my wallet was safe. The options were all typical Cuban fare. YES!  Ham Croquettes or Empanadas de Picadillo? Lechon Asado (  Roasted Pig Sandwich ) or Ropa Vieja ( flank steak smothered in Creole Sauce)?..My mouth watered and the choices were too much to bear. I finally opted for my Mothers old standard , Chicken Mojo a la Plancha, which is chicken marinated in lime and garlic, grilled and smothered with onions. ( you can order all the platters served sandwich style if you choose).


Cuban-American brothers Albert and Danny Teran , New Jersey natives and co owners of Bongo Brothers, know EXACTLY what they are doing and served up my dish with a smile.. In no time at all I was devouring the most delicious, heaping platter of succulent lime chicken atop a bed of white rice and black beans. As an accompanying side, they offered up sweet platanos (cooked to perfection) and then a choice of either a hot and sweet Bongo Sauce ( red pepper goodness) or a Garlic Aioli. I chose both and couldnt get enough.


Ive got to try the Ropa Vieja (classic Cuban  shredded beef) so Im going back for sure. You should pay them a visit. They are usually parked in the Flat Iron district but they publish their daily locations on Twitter @BongoBros…. Tell them The Bald Vivant sent you and maybe youll get an extra slice of sweet platano or an extra container of Bongo Sauce! Visit their website for menus and more info


  1. Bradley B. Branham says:

    Lechon Asado!! My favorite phrase and one of my comfort foods when we would go to Miami while totally od’ing on Italian. Recipe please!

    1. The Bald Vivant says:

      Lechon Asado , or Roasted Pig , all starts with a proper Mojo marinade, Bradley ,which is slightly differently prepared in various Latino countries. In my native Cuba its simply olive oil, garlic, citrus (orange and or lime), cumin, salt and pepper. Then we get out a shovel and dig a hole in the back yard while we open our wine bottles or beers.


      The Bald Vivant

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