What’s New at the Hester Street Fair This Year: Meatballs, Steamed Bao, and More

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Photo: Courtesy of Hester Street Fair

Nobu at the Beach! Rockaway Taco at the beach! The return of ice pops! And now here’s some more bright and shiny news to get you through this soggy day: When the Hester Street Fair reopens next month, it’ll be more food focused than ever, with over half the market dedicated to grub. In fact, opening day (May 7, from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.) is being dubbed the Lower Feast Side Food Festival. Along with thirteen returning food vendors, there’ll be fourteen new ones on Saturdays, including local restaurants like Fat Radish and Poco, plus the Fair is blocking off its Sundays for special food events and themed markets throughout the season, ending in October. Organizer Suchin Pak tells us she’s planning to add new vendors weekly: “We're hoping that Hester continues to be a testing ground for all these new food entrepreneurs looking to perfect their menus and find a passionate audience.” Here, then, are the new faces you can expect on opening day.

Brooklyn Taco Company, founded by Erica Molin and chef Jesse Kramer, will use ingredients like Martinez dried chiles, papalo, pipicha, cilantro macho, and Mexican oregano to create tacos (and tamales!) such as the Chilorio Brisket and the Guaco Taco.

Mighty Balls will jump on the meatball bandwagon using local meat and “all-natural” sauces that are added when you order. Founder Dina Williamson was most recently a managing partner at a quick service restaurant in Grand Central, and her partner Kerri Brewer left the industry to become a food photographer a few years ago.

Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost. Though it looks like P&H; won’t be back this year, the void will be filled by the ginger ale that Beard Award–winning cookbook author Bruce Cost makes from fresh ginger and cane sugar. The Lower East Side resident will also introduce Bruce Cost Steamed Bao, including a “cha siu bao” that marries Berkshire pork with an authentic Hong Kong–style yeast dough, and a whole-wheat edamame and vegetable steamed bun.

Gisella Civale of Dolce Nonna will sell all-natural jarred goods that were inspired by her Italian grandmother’s recipes — such as marinated peppers, string beans, and eggplants.

MilkMade Ice Cream, which started as a delivery service, will offer two new flavors per month, starting with Honey Lavender Granola and Mint Chocolate Brownie in May, then Southern Sweet Tea and Rhubarb in June, and Earl Grey Pine and Strawberry Lemonade in July.

Herbin' Spoonful Caramel Sauces. Texas native and Brooklyn resident Mackenzie Smith’s homemade caramels (made using organic cane sugar, organic heavy cream, and butter) will include flavors like chai (a mixture of organic cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, black peppercorn, fennel seed, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, darjeeling tea, and sea salt), habanero (containing organic habanero, jalapeno, serrano and cayenne peppers), and lavender (organic dried lavender buds combined with caramelized organic cane sugar).

Girl Next Door Baked Goods specializes in cookies and brownies.

Lucky Penny Bake Shop bakes chocolate-chip cookies and shortbread coins.

Flour City Pasta is a Rochester flavored-pasta-maker.

Spatzi’s makes granola by pairing, for instance, pecan with Mast Brothers chocolate and cacao nibs.

Stand NY will serve fresh lemonade.

Returning vendors include Arancini, Cheeky Sandwiches, Roni Sue’s Chocolate, Savirole Bakery, An Choi, Macaron Parlour, Melt Bakery, Sigmund Pretzelshop, Luke’s Lobster, and La Sonrisa.