The Halal Guys' Chicken And Gyro Platter Is NYC’s Most Legendary Street Food | Legendary Eats (2023)


The Halal Guys first came to the streets of New York City in 1990, when the three founders opened up a hot-dog cart in Midtown. They realized there was a demand from Muslim cab drivers looking for a halal meal, so they began serving American halal food from the cart.

The Arabic term halal means ‘lawful’ and is often used in Islam to describe meat that is permissible to eat based on specific religious guidelines. But in New York, many people know halal as the affordable food they can find at many street carts across the city.

At The Halal Guys' original cart on 53rd Street and 6th Avenue, people wait in line for the iconic combo platter, a foil dish packed with chicken and gyro over rice, accompanied by lettuce, tomato, pita, and the famous and secret red and white sauces.

Editor's Note: This episode was filmed in January 2020. The Halal Guys' carts in New York City are currently open for takeout while restaurant locations provide both takeout and delivery. Check with your nearest location for details.

For more on The Halal Guys, visit:

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The Halal Guys' Chicken And Gyro Platter Is NYC’s Most Legendary Street Food | Legendary Eats


A generous helping of golden yellow.

Rice, sits underneath 12-hour, marinated, chicken seared until tender roasted, gyro meat, sliced straight from the vertical spit, packed together with crisp lettuce, tomato onions and peppers along with a few delicate slices of pita, served soft and warm from the stove, but it's, the extra creamy secret white sauce and notoriously spicy red sauce that made the halal guys chicken and jar platter and new york legend, the word halal refers to a specific way of butchering meat in the religion of islam, but in new york, because of this one food cart, people also use halal as shorthand for a whole collection of street, meats sandwiches and combo platters.

The most famous of which is a platter with only five key ingredients, it's like one of my favorite foods to eat.

So I came the first time I remember and I ate it and I was in love instantly.

And it was like one of the best things I've ever in my life.

So now, yeah, they're egyptian just feels like feels like home.

Yeah, combination sure the combo platter starts with a layer of golden yellow rice, which is made from scratch off-site before heading to the cart.

This basmati rice takes the longest to make stirred for over 45 minutes and prepared in 40 pound batches enough to fill 60 to 70 platters, but really it's the chicken that takes the most care and attention it's always marinated for 12 hours.

And although the recipe is secret middle eastern street, meats generally use a marinade of herbs, lemon olive oil salt and pepper, the halal guys, wait to chop the chicken until it's fully cooked this way.

It stays tender and becomes as juicy as can be after we cook it and well done.

We cover up by the bitter bread.

You will get the flavor of the chicken and the pita bread.

Next comes the beloved beef gyro, which is half cooked on a vertical spit.

Another secret recipe, the seasoning likely has a mix of traditional gyro spices like salt pepper, paprika and oregano cooks, shave it.

As soon as the meat becomes a dark brown color using a mechanic slicer, rather than a knife because it's quicker and more consistent back at the cart, the gyro shavings are placed on the stove and chopped into even squares.

Initially the halal guys serve gyro meat in long, shavings like many other halal food vendors, but they switch to smaller pieces in order to keep up with demand.

And finally, but maybe most importantly, comes this question, uh, white sauce all over.

Yeah, just like just all of the chicken.

Okay, no problem like a lot of it.

Yeah, you have to get the sauces.

Most importantly, the white sauce.

I personally never asked the exact name of it, but that really makes the meal it's just white sauce.

Right? I think we all call it white sauce carts across the city have tried to mimic the recipe.

But the halal guy says, no other place has cracked the code based on the to-go packets of white sauce.

This creamy, substance is a combination of mayo, black pepper vinegar, salt and a few other ingredients.

But one thing we're sure about the red sauce isn't for everyone.

We call the high sauce 9-1-1 because it's, very very spicy.

I personally have not tasted it.

What ever never.

I don't eat spicy.

I cannot tolerate spicy.

The sauce has a scoville rating between one hundred thousand.

And one hundred thirty thousand, which is over forty times hotter than tabasco, hot sauce.

The cart, guys won't let you walk away without telling you just how spicy it can be and recommend taking a couple of packets to go rather than drizzling too much on your platter.

I love the white sauce and I love spicy.

So I definitely love the red sauce, too recommend.

Both next time we'll get barbecue.

Okay, wait this barbecue.

Oh, dude, 30 years ago, there were few halal carts in manhattan until the halal guys opened one on west 53rd and 6th avenue.

It didn't take too long to win over customers, particularly cab drivers, looking for an easy way to eat halal at that time.

They didn't find any halal food in new york city.

So they came up with the idea there's a lot of muslims here.

Why can't we provide full halal meal for muslim cabbies? And it started that way now street meat is everywhere, but those cabbies have spread the word about the platters and gyros specifically from the halal guys.

We have deals for cab drivers.

Okay, like better pricing, couple of bucks cheap or something discount not to mention there's, even an express taxi line for drivers.

Only it's unfair.

But this is their policy that if you're a cab driver, you don't have to wait in the line you just skip from here.

And we give your your santa show, whatever the me and you keep going so halal street food has become a staple meal for new yorkers in a rite of passage for visitors.

The cart has been praised by magazines, radio stations and celebrities.

Just something you have to try it's like you can't go to new york and not try guys.

What does it remind you of home? Love sweetness, not sweetness, spiciness, oh, my god, the chicken is so tender, the rice is exquisite and the white sauce I would die for the white sauce, just how the white sauce complements the chicken.

And the spices that it's marinated in I really loved it.

I regret not trying it sooner now, I'm going to spend the rest of my life eating more of it, hot sausage, yeah, you have it right now right? Yeah, all right? No problem.

Enjoy your food.


Thank you so much.

Thank you have a wonderful day.

Thank you.

Thank you.


What is the most popular item at the halal guys? ›

The combo platter always wins the vote! 🏆 Delicious chicken and beef on a bed of rice, a side.

What kind of food is halal guys NYC? ›

Food. The Halal Guys serves "American halal" platters and sandwiches, prepared using ingredients such as chicken, gyro meat, falafel and rice. The taste has been described as entailing a complex melting pot of flavors originating from the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Where was the original halal guys in NYC? ›

Thirty years ago, our three founders, Abdelbaset Elsayed, Mohamed Abouelenein, and Ahmed Elsaka, emigrated from Egypt to New York City to realize their dream of opening a food cart on the corner of 53rd and 6th Ave.

What is the origin of the halal guys? ›

Our Story. The Halal Guys' incredible journey begins in 1990 with our three Egyptian founders. They first started a hot dog cart in New York City, then pivoted to selling halal food to Muslim taxi drivers who at the time had few outlets for authentic halal food in the five boroughs.

Is halal guys meat healthy? ›

Containing more vegetables with vitamins and lean protein meat than the typical Western diet you might be accustomed to, an American Halal Food diet also contains less high-fat dairy ingredients, leading to an overall healthier lifestyle.

Is halal guys hot sauce hot? ›

Now, according to the Halal Guys website, their red sauce ranges from between 100,000 to 130,000 on the Scoville scale. To put that in perspective, sriracha is somewhere around 2,500 on the same scale, and the infamous "Hot Ones" Da Bomb sauce is around 135,000. So pretty close to this.

Why is halal so popular in NYC? ›

It was only in the 1980s that Egyptian immigrants opened up carts to supply cab drivers with quick, cheap Halal food that could be eaten on the go. Since then, Halal carts have completely dominated the street food scene.

Why is Halal food so popular in New York? ›

All in all, halal carts began as a means of supporting New York City's Muslim immigrant population. Its popularity allowed for vendors to experiment with common halal cart dishes and even for some, such as The Halal Guys, to turn themselves into a franchise which serves a wider and more diverse population.

Does NYC have Halal food? ›

🌶️ Adel's Famous Foods

One of the best halal carts in NYC! It's right by the OG Halal Guys and is way worth the wait.

What kind of hot sauce does halal guys use? ›

While the known ingredients are ground red pepper, vinegar, salt, various spices, and concentrated lemon juice, we will keep you guessing on what other secret spices are added to arrive at the iconic flavor profile of the THG Hot Sauce.

Does Five Guys serve halal meat? ›

Five Guys does not use halal beef, except in our Middle East stores.

What kind of food is halal? ›

Beef, lamb, chicken, fish, venison, and game birds can all be halal. The only prohibited animals are pigs and reptiles. The slaughter of a halal animal is called “zabihah” and there are certain guidelines to follow: Allah's (God's) name must be pronounced during slaughter.

What religion is halal guys? ›

The Halal Guys is Halal Certified, so, what does it mean? For a product to be Halal certified, it means that it is lawful and acceptable under Islamic guidelines.

What religion does halal slaughter? ›

Halal meat is an essential part of the Muslim faith and advocates argue that the practices of traditional Islamic slaughter are humane. However, many animal rights campaigners argue that religious slaughter causes animals unnecessary suffering and should be banned.

What ethnicity eats halal? ›

Halal is an Arabic word that means "allows or permits" and is the opposite of haram, "impermissible or unlawful". Halal food is any food that abides by Islamic Sharia law and is typically consumed by practising Muslims.

What is the most halal drink? ›

Plenty of beverages are completely acceptable for Halal-minded consumers – fruit juice, sparkling water, coffee, tea, soymilk, almond milk, and milk from cows, goats, or camels, for example.

Why did halal guys stop serving lamb? ›

Alam says the food cart ditched lamb around 17 years ago, after customers complained about the meat being too strong and gamey. “Some people just don't like lamb,” Alam says. And some gyro lovers do. Too bad the chain doesn't offer a blended option.

What halal food should I try? ›

  • Hummus. Mash chickpeas with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic to make a creamy and smooth sauce. ...
  • Shawarma. A tremendously delicious smorgasbord of delights. ...
  • Baba Ghanouj/ Ghanoush. Baba Ghanouj, a delicious eggplant dip, and a vegetarian delicacy. ...
  • Halvah. ...
  • Tabbouleh. ...
  • Baklava. ...
  • Labneh. ...
  • Falafel.
Sep 6, 2021

Why is halal popular? ›

Halal food appeals to non-Muslim consumers

The rise of the ethical consumer has attracted even non-Muslim consumers to halal brands and products, as factors such as diseases and food security concerns drive demand for healthier options.

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