Best cheap eats in New York: The chicken and lamb over rice at the original Halal Guys in Midtown
I first heard of this famous food stand 15 years ago when a friend told me her sister brought a halal plate aboard a plane and stunk up the whole cabin.
“Why would she choose that?” I said.
“Because it’s worth it,” my friend said.
I finally tasted The Halal Guys in 2006 when the then-boyfriend-now-hubs and I took a trip to New York. It was after midnight, and we stood in a line about 20 people deep, about half of whom were intoxicated. But whether sober or drunk, I soon discovered this food was bomb.
We shared the lamb and chicken over rice sitting on the ghostly steps of a Midtown office building. Out of all the things we ate in New York that trip, this was by far our most memorable and favorite.
Now, every time I pass through Midtown New York, I grab a plate from the Halal Guys. You can get a chicken over rice, lamb over rice, or a mix of lamb and chicken over rice; a side salad; pita bread; and a drink for less than $10. The portion is sizable, too—I always end up saving half for another meal.
The secret is in that white sauce, which I love to smear all over my food so it coats every bite. I never get the red sauce since I don’t need extra heat, but I heard it’s pretty damn spicy, so be forewarned.
This time, I ordered a lamb and chicken over rice, no salad, and extra white sauce to go and carried it in my bag all the way back to Houston. The noses of passengers aboard my flight were safe, though, because I was saving it for dinner.
The Halal Guys are so popular, they’ve now opened storefronts all over the nation, including one in Houston. I have yet to check it out, though, so I can’t vouch for its authenticity and quality.
There are halal stands all over Manhattan, too, but I’ve been told the original Halal Guys is on the corner of 53rd and 6th. Some say the original Halal Guys is the absolute best—look for the cart with the longest line and the yellow shirts. Others say they’re all the same, and you’re just a fool for waiting in line. I personally have never taken the risk of trying another halal stand since the queue moves quickly, and I know exactly what I’ll be getting. Have you done a taste comparison between the original Halal Guys and the other halal carts? What did you think?
The Halal Guys
W. 53rd St. At 6th Ave.
New York, NY 10019
Phone: +1 347 527-1505