>> Sambuxa NYC | Eat the World NYC

08 April 2018

Sambuxa NYC


[UPDATE 01 APRIL 2019: Samosa NYC has changed their name to Sambuxa NYC, a name more representative of its Sudanese roots. In 2019, find them at the outdoor Smorgasburg market.]

Sometimes new countries take years to find, hidden in plain sight in their communities until the right keyword or walking route uncovers their locations. At other times, a new place will metaphorically just fall from the sky as a surprise. Samosa NYC and its Sudanese snacks falls directly into the latter category, a new food vendor on the scene in 2018.

The easiest place to find them will be the Queens International Night Market, where they will be a weekly vendor at the Saturday night affair when they open April 21st. In the meantime, we caught up with them at a small handicrafts market in Park Slope where they provided the only food available.

The wonderfully friendly proprietor was offering two choices on this day, her namesake samosas in three varieties as well as mahshi, which was new to me. This is a dish of various stuffed vegetables, on offer today were green and orange bell peppers and zucchini. Rice, tomatoes, and onions create a savory interior with some spicing that is slightly sweet and herbal.

She told me that eggplant is often used as well, which would have also been good. The arrangement itself with the different colors is so pleasant.

Next to this was a tray of three different samosas, filled with beef, vegetables, or feta cheese. My curiosity must have been appreciated, for after my questions I was awarded all three types as part of my order.

In other East African countries, this pastry often takes the name sambusa, but is usually triangular like this. While it is small enough to fit into your mouth, take your time and have a few bites. Each one of the three had a very different taste, making the assortment quite good.

As I discussed the lack of Sudanese food with the proprietor, she mentioned eventually wanting to open a restaurant. We can only hope! Denver has a really good Sudanese restaurant, maybe one day we can too.

[UPDATE 09 APRIL 2019]: As mentioned above, Sambuxa NYC is spending weekends during 2019 at the two Smorgasburg markets. Taking advantage of good weather on the first weekend, we caught back up with the proprietor to see what was new and found the beef agashe ($10, below) was in order.

On the streets of Khartoum you can find skewers of beef, lamb, and chicken, while some seafood restaurants are starting to make fish versions more prevalent. If you have ever had Nigerian suya and see the resemblance, you are not crazy for agashe is actually a descendent of this dish from further west, brought by Northern Nigerian Hausa people. On their trips back and forth to Mecca to perform the hajj, some settled in Sudan and of course brought their customs and traditions with them.

The skewers are simple but pack a lot of flavor, relying on the marinade and a coating of ground peanuts. An order comes with a side of either the "black" eggplant salad called aswad or a tomato-centric version of dakwa (which means peanut butter dip and is a common side for agashe). If you smile pretty, you might get a little bit of each (recommended).


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