Sometimes confusion sets in. With the multitude of street meat carts, food trucks lining the streets, and restaurants all vying for your attention, it's easy to see why decisions become that much harder to make when it comes time to decide on what to eat for lunch. To make matters worse, the rivalries between vendors result in utter chaos with territorial fights ensuing and vendors posing as other vendors. It's a colourful business, getting lunch in Midtown. How do you decide on which place to get good food for a fair price when everyone's just trying to addle your brain? After much consideration you may decide that lamb over rice from a Halal Food cart is the way to go.
Your woes do not end there because hard part comes when you then have to think which one to go to. Do you do Kwik Meal on 45th between Avenue of the Americas and 7th with its actual lamb chunks? Maybe. They're pretty great after all. But maybe you want the famous 53rd and 6th cart. But wait! This place on 52nd and 6th... the line's long (usually a good sign!) but wasn't there some sort of hoax trying to be perpetrated with this? The sort of hoax where one vendor was pretending to be the Famous Halal guys back on 53rd street? Hmmmm...
That suit is looking at me! Stahp!
Whatever the case was two Fridays ago, I got to 52nd and 6th, saw the line and took my chances. As it turns out, these guys are associated with the Famous Halal guys of 53rd and 6th or maybe the hot sun addled my brain on the walk there and I could no longer make sense of my research. I'd been there before and I think I had the same debate over it as I'm sure I will have every single time I go. Things can change so rapidly in the city that it's some times hard to keep up!
Well I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the portion size in a full shot. Fail!
All rice platters are priced at $6. And at $6, they come with a side salad, three pieces of pita and your choice of meat over rice. Even in a combination of chicken and lamb, the price remains the same. Sometimes I opt for the combination but I always sort of regret it afterwards because the lamb is usually the tastier option for me. Also at $6, I find the portion to be so large that my sister and I usually just share the one and it's enough for us. Putting aside the fact that she and I could also share a stick of gum and be satisfied, that should not be a factor as to our eating habits or as to just how much food there actually is! Truly, the rice platter is quite the bit of food for any one person. Even if I could finish it all by my lonesome in one sitting, I'd probably sit uncomfortably for the rest of the day and marvel at that feat.
The lamb's not tough and can sometimes hold a little welcome crunch on the edges.
Salty yet seasoned well to be extremely tasty and flavourful and not just a ball of salt to assault your senses, the lamb pieces are small and do wonders to ensure that you get an ample amount of meat to every bite of rice. In fact, you could actually overestimate your ratio of rice to meat and find yourself having some meat standing alone at the end. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing when the meat is so good but balance is key here because the salty meat needs the rice to make you feel less parched when all that saltiness hits your tongue.
One of my favourite sights before biting. Bliss!
No good halal street meat meal can be had without the creamy, beautiful taste that is the white sauce. Consisting of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and vinegar among other things, the white sauce cuts the heavy feeling of the grease some or at least gives you the illusion that it is. But the other thing we need on our meal? That amazing red sauce. The red sauce is a pepper blend. As to what's in it, I have no idea but all I know is that it's hot.
It's so beautiful...
Here's a tip though and one we learned the hard way.
Now, my sister and I are no strangers to spicy food. Growing up in Trinidad and having been introduced to scotch bonnet hot peppers cooked in every which way for flavour and spice to most of the local dishes (including being made into pepper sauce which we use in our food almost every day at almost every meal) since we were children; spicy foods are just second nature to us. That's not to say we will douse it on every thing as there is a time and place for all of that but here's what we learned about the Famous Halal Guys' street food.
You've got red on you.
When the man serving your food puts just the one line of red sauce on your food, do not insist you need more.
When the man serving your food starts shaking his head in the negative that you probably cannot handle it, do not scoff at his claims.
The first time we had it, we insisted. Thrice he told us no. And thrice we told him we were sure.
Here, have some pita to cool off.
That burn was amazing. My sister and I always dislike being 'defeated' by a pepper and we were damned well near done that first time but I can report we soldiered through. Our meal was slightly less enjoyable that time and we now know better. But hell if I let that stop me from eating leftovers and thoroughly enjoying it the day after.
The one red line of pepper this time was just enough to enjoy everything the meal had to offer and not want to drown our sorrows and taste buds in milk.
So the debates on the best Halal Street Food carts will continue but I'd definitely recommend the Famous Halal Guys' lamb over rice platter if you're in NYC and up for an adventure. But please, just make sure you're getting the right one and are not tricked.
And if for whatever reason I was tricked too or have reading comprehension issues, this one on 52nd and 6th (which is supposed to be affiliated with the Famous Halal Guys) is pretty good too. The line does not lie...
I really hope TAY Classic has some lunch for me because I just made myself really hungry. For certain, I do know it has discussions on life, video games and anything you want. If you had problems figuring out the spicy TAY, here's a TAYtorial to help you assess the level of hurt. Prepare the milk!**Looking for a bunch of NYC SnackTAYku recommendations? Check out Supergeek's write up on all the glorious food he had while visiting NYC last week!****Announcement(s): It's Wednesday! That means it's time for another Game Night, this time it's PS3 night and Playstation AllStars.**