Eater discusses the relatively new arrival of halal food carts onto the Manhattan street food scene. “Only a few decades ago, ‘halal’ exclusively referred to a method of slaughter that rendered a meat acceptable for Muslims to eat,” reports Eater. “Today, it’s become something more specific and entirely native to New York City.”
Between 1990 and 2005, the number of food vendors who identify as being of Egyptian, Bangladeshi or Afghan descent “surged to 563.” Indeed most halal carts are said to be run by Egyptian immigrants with signature dishes featuring a “combination of rice, greens, and halal meat either in a shallow foil dish or in a sandwich, usually with a red and white sauce to top it all off” instead of the more traditional street food served in their home country.
Talking about the history of the halal carts, Ahmed Abouelenein of the Halal Guys says that an influx of Muslim cab drivers helped establish the demand for fast-food halal. Today, the Halal Guys boast multiple locations, a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the East Village, and are launching franchises throughout the United States and abroad.