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Why Is Halal Cart so Popular in New York City?

Halal Carts have really taken over New York. In the last 20 to 30 years it’s overtaken the Hot Dog Cart also overtaking pizza as the number one street food.

Halal Cart - Popular of New York City
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New York’s most popular street food is the Halal Cart and today we’re going to discuss about city’s best reviewed Halal Trucks in Midtown Manhattan to see if they’re worth it.

What is Halal?

Now you might be wondering what is Halal. It’s an Arabic word meaning permissible and it means meat is prepared by following islamic law. Now typically New York Halal consists of some combination of Rice, Greens and Halal Meat either in a foil dish or in a sandwich.

Best Places to get Halal in NYC

Royal Grill Halal Food

One of the  amazing things about the New York Halal scene is it’s not all the same, they all have their own personalities. Royal Grill’s pretty famous they won a Vendi Award in 2018 which nominates the best street food vendors in the city and they’re known for their Chicken Tikka. This is a really interesting and delicious dish. It looks too pretty to eat. This is like a work of art with so many colors in it. So what do we get in it? It contains the chicken which is a very deep red color, the white sauce which is like the yogurt, mayo sauce, a little bit of the hot sauce, the green sauce is like a mint chutney and also the mango pickle which is a really kind of a secret thing. The owner is from Bangladesh. So, it has that kind of Bangladeshi Flavour in it. It surely tastes like something we would order at a nice Bengali Restaurant not on the side of the street in New York City.

Halal Carts have really taken over New York. In the last 20 to 30 years it’s overtaken the hot Dog Cart also overtaking pizza as the number one street food.

Kwik Meal NYC

Kwik Meal is a little bit more of a higher end Halal Cart. The price may be a dollar two more but it’s for good reason the quality of the ingredients here worth the price. They actually use marinated pieces of lamb, not the mince mystery meat stuff. Compared to Royal, Kwik Meal is a lot simpler and looks like most of the sauce is actually on the side. So if you’re someone that doesn’t like a ton of sauce we think this could appeal to you all.

They use high quality Lamb. It doesn’t have really bold punchy flavors. It’s very different from your typical Halal Cart. This is for like the true meat eater, someone that just wants that lamb. You’re going to get your money’s worth with this. I’ll tell you what they actually have salmon here and it’s shockingly very very good, probably not something you would normally think of ordering in New York City.

Halal Guys

We’ve got the OG of the Halal scene in New York City. A lot of guys opened in 1990 and they were actually a Hot Dog Cart originally. By three Egyptian immigrants today they have got 6 locations in New York City, 94 locations worldwide and with up to 400 more coming.

There’s no flavour, not chicken at all. You know we don’t dislike beef with the white sauce and the red sauce. It’s not bad. We also tried the chicken. The beef is definitely better than a chicken on its own but not very good either. The chicken was not that good. We would say going to Halal Guys if it’s on your New York City checklist go for it but it tastes pretty mediocre to us like it’s not the worst. It’s not worth waiting in a super long line for it. This is a worldwide chain now. It’s maybe one of the most overrated foods in New York City. Maybe in the past it used to be a better place, they expanded and the quality went down.

Adel’s Famous Halal Food 

That is crazy, hundreds of people just waiting before Adel’s opened. It’s about five pounds worth of food so let’s start from the top they gave us french fries, falafel, then we’ve got veggies including broccoli, we’ve got a mix of chicken and lamb and if you can get to the bottom somehow someway we have their famous spicy rice. It’s the best white sauce we’ve ever had in the city there’s a reason for those long lines folks. We don’t think it’s good, just feel like the flavors for Adel’s are a little bit more classical New York Halal.


We think the evolution of Halal Carts and how popular they  become in New York is really a testament to the diversity of New York because this was a food that was aimed at Muslim Taxi drivers and now all New Yorkers eat it. Many New Yorkers will tell you this is their favorite street food. Really something for everybody if you like chicken, if you like lamb, if you’re vegetarian, you can even get it with falafel and Kwik Meal. You can even get fish and we do like that they all bring their own kind of spices maybe depending  on the background of the country.

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