NO trip to New York City would be complete without having a taste of The Halal Guys. I don’t know what happened between 2002 and 2008 and 2015 but when I came back to NYC this year, it has been all the craze. The lines are long even with three to four carts servicing the busy corner of 53rd and 6th.
The Halal Guys is a food cart famous in Manhattan that has now become a New York City landmark. This joint and its food has been called many things including Chicken and Rice, The Platter, Gyro Spot, etc. But we simply like to call them by their name, The Halal Guys.
Back in the day I remember coming here repeatedly after nights out at the Meatpacking District or at Chelsea. They are not necessarily a stone’s throw away from each other but it always sure is worth the walk.
This year, out of my 10 days in the East Coast, four nights we walked to this corner no matter which part of town we came from. It was not an easy walk with wind chills of up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit!
I always get the lamb over rice because I don’t care much about the chicken. Sometimes it can get gamey and really, nothing beats red meat! Minced roasted lamb (or chicken or both) is put on top of some delicious yellow seasoned rice, a side of salad, pita bread and of course, the white sauce. Nobody knows what’s really in the white sauce but you know you just got to put a lot of it! My guess is it’s a mayo-based sauce – which I think is supposed to be yoghurt-based? Who cares! I’m not a culinary expert, just an expert in eating. And boy, all that seven dollars of full-platter goodness is so worth it!
They have also started to become popular with their hot sauce which you really got to be careful about because it is so hot it will make your head spin. So unless you are a full-fledged spicy eater, be cautious as you drizzle it over your platter.
I had to bring back to Cali, (by strict instructions from my three sisters and their husbands) some eight platters of Chicken and Gyro Over Rice. The Halal Guys have pre-packed white sauce and hot sauce that’s ready to go. I grabbed three for each platter. I told them their food is travelling to the West Coast so they put the salad all in one container — separate from the meat, rice, and bread. I stuck all of them in the freezer overnight so everything was still frozen when I landed in LAX.
Halal food is food that is permissible by Muslims to eat by virtue of what is stated in the Quran and how the food is prepared. And since New York City is a melting pot of many cultures, many Muslims live in and travel to New York making Halal food readily available within the city. But this particular Halal food is special, the Halal food prepared by the Halal Guys. You just got to try it.