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The Halal Guys in Manila
posted by Vicki in Indulgences
Anyone who has lived in New York or at the very least visited New York has most likely eaten something right on one of its busy streets. Whether as a quick bite for lunch, as a snack while you are walking around the city or after a big night out, there are so many things to choose from: hotdogs, knishes, kebabs, pretzels, gyros and then there’s The Halal Guys.
Pioneers of American Halal food and what The New York Post calls “perhaps the city’s most famous open-air dining destination, The Halal Guys are located on the south-east corner of 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue in New York City and you can tell where they are because there’s usually a long line of people down the street before you get to them. They’ve been serving their Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Halal-certified meats and white sauce with rice or in a wrap to New Yorkers and visitors since 1990, and for the first time in their history they have decided to branch out to another city in the world that loves to eat at least four times a day, at the minimum.
The Halal Guys opens its doors to the public today in Asia: at the 5th floor Food Hall at the Mega Fashion Hall, Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Philippines. Honestly, last night was the first time for me to try The Halal Guys, though I’ve had halal food before, and most certainly Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean cuisine, though those who have eaten it in New York asked me if it was the same or just as authentic. I cannot verify this but I can tell you that The Halal Guys’ meat – the chicken, the gyro and even the falafel, were fresh and tasty, not greasy at all (like some gyros I’ve tried) and the orange rice it came it with was delicate and fluffy, not heavy. Their signature white sauce, a garlic yogurt sauce typically used with Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean dishes, was a delicious complement with not too much garlic at all, so much so you can still kiss your lover after a meal here! It comes with freshly chopped lettuce and tomatoes but they ask if you want to add onion and bell pepper, too, for a completely satisfying meal. You may opt to add the fiery red hot sauce which is not for the faint of heart – in fact I would say even those who love to eat spicy food and have hot sauce in all their dishes should take precaution when adding this zinger to your dish. Finally, you may opt for your order to be served with rice or wrapped in a pita. I am not a beer drinker to say the least but this meal would have been even more perfect if served with a San Mig Light.
I spoke to The Halal Guys’ Mohammed who flew in to oversee operations who told me that The Halal Guys is on a rapid expansion. They have branched out to California, in Costa Mesa and in Chicago, with plans to soon open in North Carolina; Houston, Texas; New Jersey; Connecticut; Virginia; and Washington, DC. This branch is the first to open outside the United States but there are plans for Canada, Malaysia and Indonesia as well, for a total of over 200 new locations.
Congratulations to Jaime and Chris Daez for bringing this to our shores! We are lucky to have this quick, affordable, delicious and fresh food option from abroad to satisfy the nostalgia for standing on a street corner, eating New York street food. Now if only Megamall would open at 4AM…
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.
Hey, Halal Guys —
I hope your business is doing well!
We’re in Numancia, just outside of Kalibo. I would love to get many things, which I miss from New York City. Such as:
★ Round or square knishes
★ Sour pickles
★ Chopped liver
★ Brown (“deli”) mustard
★ Good cream cheese
★ And, smoked salmon (lox)
Can you help me?
— Dave Weiser