Food Cart Review: The Halal Guys

Details: There a number of carts here that are Halal Guys and a number that are imitators. The one cart that is undoubtedly a genuine Halal Guys cart is on the southwest corner of 6th Avenue and 53rd Street, New York, NY. The official site is http://thehalalguys.com/

A number of years ago I came here once under the pretense that this was the best halal cart in New York City. To my recollection, I paid around five dollars for what was arguably the best halal in the city, though not by a wide margin. Fast forward to the present day, and while I can say the food is about the same as it was the last time I had it, the price isn’t.

A lots changed since the last time I’ve been here. The Halal guys have opened a brick and mortar location. The place has become far more of a tourist attraction than it used to be, likely because of the growing reputation of this halal cart.

If you don’t know who the Halal Guys are, there a number of food carts that serve halal street food. Generally, that means spiced chicken, halal beef (think the meat you’d normally find in a gyro), or falafel over rice, often times with some lettuce on the side pathetically named a salad. Then drench the whole thing in a white sauce (which tastes kind of like Greek tsiki sauce) or hot sauce or even barbecue sauce. That’s New York City halal street food in a nutshell. It’s ridiculously common all over New York and you can just about find it on every corner of the city.

Normally, you can get a styrofoam box of the stuff for around five to six dollars. Despite being the arguably best halal in town, Halal guys priced their food at the same price as the lesser known halal carts, warranting the long lines that usually surround their food cart. Well, that’s no longer the case and, in my opinion, means that no New Yorker should ever visit the place again.

I recently visited again and the food — as it was all those years ago — was just as slightly better than other halal carts as it was all those years ago. The biggest difference is that the price was raised to eight dollars while halal carts elsewhere charge around six dollars for their halal.

In my opinion, while Halal Guys is good, it’s simply not worth the trip to midtown and the wait in line for a plate of halal food that is about the same as anywhere else. It’s slightly better. That’s it.

Ultimately, I will only recommend the Halal Guys if you’ve never had it before. If you have, there is no reason to ever go back. They aren’t that much better than any other halal cart. If you have the urge for halal food, just go to your neighborhood food cart. The Halal Guys are not worth the trip.

Score: 5.8/10

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