6th Ave. & 53rd St. Halal Cart

All over Manhattan you will find halal food carts. Almost as ubiquitous as the hotdog cart, halal carts cater are supposed to cater to the large Muslim population of the city.. but every food lover knows that they are a great source of good chow for those on a budget.

Last time I checked, the going rate for a plate is $5. You get the following: a rather generous pile of chicken or lamb (or both. I suggest both!); some rice pilaf (okay, a LOT of rice pilaf); a few pieces of pita (in case you want to sop up all that juices); some "salad" (chopped lettuce and some tomato); and a lot of sauces -- white yoghurt garlic sauce we Filipinos love so much, hot hot HOT sauce and sometimes barbeque sauce. You can also order a sandwich if you're so inclined (all of the above in a roll of pita bread -- a giant Middle Eastern burrito).

The most popular cart has got to be on the corner of  6th Ave. & 53rd St. They are the ONLY halal cart that I know of that have their own website (and a pretty cool one at that!) They open only at night, and do they pack the people in. At any given night, even at 1am, you will see a snake of people lining up to get their halal fix. Some enterprising guy set up a booth right beside them selling sodas, water and other soft drinks. He's making a killing! The funniest thing? One block down, on the SAME AVENUE, is another halal cart selling exactly the same food... with nary a person in sight. What's the big difference? Hmm... somehow you can taste it. The guys on 53rd must have a better supplier, a better sauce recipe, and a bit more food. It's a cut throat city -- competition here is just tough all over. Any advantage over everyone else, and for sure you'll come out on top. And that's exactly what the 53rd and 6th cart have managed to do. A classic New York experience. 

 Pila.

Pila.