The AFROPUNK festivals have been on a roll for years, bringing together art, music, film and skate culture in a way that celebrates the black experience all around the world. The festival has garnered worldwide popularity thanks to events in Brooklyn, Paris, Johannesburg, Atlanta and London, and some of the most popular soul, hip-hop and r&b artists have taken the stage at the festival over its 13-year history.
As the festival has grown, food has become a major part of the event. No festival is complete without delicious food and drink options to fuel hungry fest-goers, and AFROPUNK is no different. The festival organizers invite some of the best local restaurants, chefs and vendors to the event every year, so if you’re looking for some great eats to try while at AFROPUNK Brooklyn this year, here are the top food vendors you should visit.
Harlem Karibe Takeout
Harlem Karibe takes classic Caribbean dishes and gives them a modern flair. They have the essentials like oxtails, jerk chicken and red snapper, all, of course, served with a side of rice and peas, but the creole fusion is worth the hype. I don’t know what will be offered at their booth for AFROPUNK Brooklyn, but I do know that my fingers are crossed for the ecrevisses scampi and cabrit en sauce from their regular menu.
Cuban food includes fusions of African and Caribbean cuisines, which is why Cafe Habana is a great choice for AFROPUNK. Known for their famous Mexican-style grilled corn (which I can say I have personally tried and loved) this is one stop you want to make while between dancing to Miguel and getting hype with Tyler, The Creator.
I absolutely love the setup of Jamrock Jerk! Since 2006, this family-owned and operated cart has been popping up around New York City at festivals and street fairs. Fun fact: This is the first street cart legally permitted in New York City to serve food. The cart is equipped with smokers and grills so you are not only getting hot food fresh off the grill, but also that authentic bold Jamaican flavor in every bite.
Nothing says comfort food like macaroni and cheese. Mac Truck serves over a dozen variations of this classic southern favorite and will be bringing some of them to AFROPUNK Brooklyn. Having been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Mac Truck is a branding itself as possibly the best place to get macaroni and cheese, next to grandma’s house that is, in the city.
The battle of who has the best pizza is one of the longest standing feuds from coast to coast. Being from the Windy City, I prefer a good Chicago deep dish pizza, but I still have a great appreciation for a hand-tossed tomato pie from any region. Valducci’s has been named “Best Pizza” by the New York Daily News five times, so keep an eye out for this truck at AFROPUNK.
While I am a full-fledged carnivore, I can recognize that there are some who have a cleaner, healthier approach to their eating habits. If you want to enjoy healthier vegan options at this year’s festival, the Try Vegan food truck will be bringing their “Did you know” concept to Afropunk Fest. The owner, Vince Guilino, turned old shuttle buses into operational food trucks, and since September 2015 Try Vegan has been serving food and smoothies at major festivals on the East Coast. While you’ll be able to find me where the bacon is, I’d be willing to give Try Vegan a try.
It’s only fitting that a music fest would feature a restaurant co-owned by a musician. Founded by John Seymore with co-owner, rapper Nas, Sweetchick has been serving the Brooklyn, New York neighborhood since 2013m and from first-hand experience, I can tell you that it is as good as the hype. The waffles are served with three different butter options, I recommend the rosemary herb butter to go along with the fried chicken and bacon-cheddar waffle. I get the feeling that this line will be extremely long all weekend so you might want to get to them early.
Find a complete guide to the food at AFROPUNK Brooklyn here.