The New York food cart scene is a community unto itself. The mobile food cart of today sprung from the ice cream trucks of old into the varied delicacies that now populate the streets of the city. Well beyond mere peanuts (which I have to say are still one of my favorite smells during the winter), hot dogs, and cold water, the vending carts of today are as complex as they are compact. You can truck-hop from the Calexico cart serving up fat burritos over to the crepe cart that offers free sodas with every $5 order, and on over to the dessert truck that likes to hang out near Cooper Union. It’s like the grownup version of chasing the pink panther bubble gum ice cream bar — sans the horrible music that gets stuck on repeat in your head. Like any good foodie niche, the street carts have their own awards: The Vendys. This year’s Vendys are taking place September 26 and will crown 2009′s best street cart winner in the non-dessert and dessert categories. The finalists, announced today, include the Biryani Cart (Indian), the King of Falafel, Rickshaw Dumpling, Jamaican Dutchy, and the Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck in the non-dessert category, and the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, Wafels & Dinges, and the Cupcake Stop in the dessert category. You can get tickets to the award event here; $80 covers entry and food. Check out the video of Kenny Lao of the Rickshaw Dumpling Cart after the jump.