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Falafel Slinger Wins New York Food Oscars

By Carla Zanoni | September 26, 2010 10:03am | Updated on September 27, 2010 7:02am

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

GOVERNORS ISLAND — Falafel and shawarma beat out cous-cous, chalupas, patacones and schnitzel in the annual Vendy Awards contest for best street food in New York City at Governors Island on Saturday.

The King Of Falafel & Shawarma, from Queens, beat four contestants whose food trucks feed the masses of Manhattan.

"It’s been such a great chance to show my roots and show that I’m not just a regular vendor," owner Fares "Freddy" Zeidaies said. "I can’t say I’m the "King of Falafel" unless I really am."

Zeidaies’ cart, which was a finalist in the contest last year and is normally located at 30th Street and Broadway, in Astoria, also won the attendee-voted People’s Taste Award, sealing its street meat supremacy.

The King beat four finalists: Moroccan food at Bistro Truck, Venezuelan food at Patacon Pisao, Pueblo-style food at El Rey de Sabor and Austrian food at Schnitzel & Things.

Kelvin Slush, which sells gourmet shaved ice treats, won the title for Best Dessert Truck, beating Guerilla Ice Cream, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, Yao's Dragon Beard Candy and the Dessert Truck.

Hundreds of people lined up to participate in the food contest Chef Mario Bataloi once called "the Oscars of food for the real New York," which serves as an annual fundraising event for the Street Vendor Project, a nonprofit group that works to protect the rights of street vendors.

"The contest is a very important way to validate what we do seven days a week, all year long," Yassir Raouli, owner of the Moroccan food truck Bistro, said, adding that the contest has helped the vendors build a sense of community.

"We all know each other and help each other when we can."