One of the most lasting memories I have about NYC are the late night munchies that I would satisfy with a trip to the Halal Guys cart. After a fun and libatious night out on the town, my friends and I would make our way uptown and line up for anywhere between 30-45 minutes to a aluminum container of what is essentially chicken and rice, but a wonderfully satisfying take on chicken and rice that you can find at 2am in the morning.
Since moving away from NYC, I’ve succumb to my Halal Guys craving every so often, but on a recent work trip, I found myself waiting in line in the middle of the day. There are actually several carts serving similar takes on chicken and rice in the same area including an idential Halal Guys cart just across the intersection, but somehow they never attract the same crowd of people willing to queue up.
I ordered the combination platter which is a mix of chicken with lamb gyro meat served on a bed or rice and lettuce with some warm pita on the side. The Halal Guys have come so far that they have pre-packaged their white and hot sauces now. Truth be told, I think these “secret sauces” are really what makes the dish. The meat is well-seasoned but the umami and creaminess from the white sauce really makes you want to devour every bit of the dish. Although, I’ve often think that the white sauce is probably just Ranch dressing, I always come back at the end feeling like my taste buds are rarely satisfied the same way with Ranch dressing.
Needless to say, I may be getting old, but I still find the chicken and gyro platter of today in the middle of the afternoon equally satisfying as my faint memories from 10 years ago. There is good news though for those of you that aren’t ever going to find themselves in NYC. The Halal Guys have gone corporate and franchising their business with outposts showing up across the country including in my own backyard. I have yet to try out the food at any of these franchises, but I will make my way there one day to see how the food compares.
Halal Guys Food Cart
53rd St and 6th Ave
New York, NY 10079
PAFO Ratings for Halal Guys Food Cart:
Food 3½ stars
Overall rating 3½ stars