Halal & Sea Food (?!?!) Cart
A few months ago I got an email tip about a Halal cart that also served fried shrimp. It didn’t occur to me how weird that was until I finally got around to checking out the cart and saw their sign for “Halal & Seafood”, which if you believe some interpretations of the Koran, would essentially be the same as a cart putting up a sign that says “Kosher & Pork”.
While some might think Halal means “Chicken & Rice from a cart”, the actual translation just means permissible under Islamic law. While it is usually used to describe food, the word can actually be applied to anything. Haraam is the term used to describe things that are forbidden under Islamic law. Certifying meat Halal has to do with how the animal is slaughtered, with blood and pork being 100% forbidden. The rules dictating what is halal are very similar to the Kosher laws, although the two terms are definitely not interchangeable. Seafood is up for debate as different sects interpret the Koran differently. While most agree that fish is halal, some Muslims feel that shellfish is haraam, because they are bottom feeders, and the Koran strictly forbids eating predatory animals.
That being said, I am not Muslim, and if a cart wants to throw some fried shrimp on top of that plate of chicken and rice, I’m all for it! What I got, a +/- and cart porn after the jump…
My wife remarked that based on the photo, this could be considered the Middle Eastern version of the garbage pate… and I think she might have something there. Normally they serve a combo with Chicken & Shrimp for $6.00, but I asked if I could try the lamb and chicken (with shrimp of course, since that’s why I was there in the first place). They were super friendly, and happily gave me a little bit of everything. He even threw in a falafel ball, and charged me the same $6.
The variety at this cart is pretty great. They’ve got three different kinds of rice to choose from (Rice w/ Lentils, Yellow Rice & Yellow Rice with veggies in it), and they have salad and a sauteed onion mixture. The lamb and chicken were as good as any cart in Midtown, and they had the requisite white and red sauces, but the real clincher is the fryer. Fried shrimp and french fries are a huge bonus for fatsos like myself. Neither were the best I’ve ever had (obviously), but give me the choice between a chicken, lamb & rice plate with french fries and fried shrimp, or without french fries and fried shrimp- I’m going to go with the “with” every time. Pile it on!
Now if only I could find that kosher falafel stand that serves roast pork…
THE + (what somebody who likes this place will say)
- It’s your standard chicken or lamb & rice stand… with the important addition of fried shrimp and french fries!
- A lot of variety
- They seemed more than willing to let you make your own combo of items for $6 (but that price is not guaranteed. They might have just been in a good mood that day…)
- Surprisingly, I didn’t have any “problems” associated with carts like this, later in the day (also, not guaranteed)
- I like fried shrimp!
The – (what somebody who doesn’t like this place will say)
- It’s not the best chicken or lamb and rice you’ll ever have
- It’s not the best french fries, or fried shrimp you’ll ever have
- There’s no way I’m eating fried shrimp from a cart.
Halal & Seafood Cart, 39th & 5th Ave.