It’s fare game

Truckin’: Rafael Soler, the legendary papusa man of Red Hook, is a finalist for a Vendy Award this year.
The Brooklyn Paper / Mike McLaughlin

The proof is in the pupusa for a beloved Latino food vendor from Red Hook Park whose simple snacks may be named the best street food in the city next week.

The stuffed tortillas made by Rafael Soler will go boca-a-boca against specialties from four other street vendors in the annual Vendy Awards on Oct. 18.

“When I got the phone call about being a finalist I said, ‘Are you sure?” the 10-year Red Hook veteran told GO Brooklyn from his cart on Bay Street, near the corner of Clinton Street on Sunday afternoon.

Soler’s customers had no doubts that he deserves a place in the Pantheon of street-side cooks: “That pupusa is the stuff dreams are made of,” said Sarah Hull.

Becoming a finalist — Brooklyn’s first in the contest’s four years — is a bright spot for Soler in what has been a challenging year in Red Hook. The vendors held their post since the mid-1970s, but increased regulations forced them to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get new carts to meet the health code.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, it may all pay off.

The Vendy Awards will be on Oct. 18 in the Tobacco Warehouse in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park (Water Street, between the Brooklyn Bridge and Dock Street), 3 pm. Tickets $80 in advance, $100 at the door. Visit streetvendor.org/vendys for info.

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