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.


  • Shrimp are predatory.

    Mind you, so are midtown girls :)

  • This blog is so much fun. Thanks for my daily read!!! xxx000

  • you forgot:

    The – (what somebody who doesn’t like this place will say)
    I’m a moslem that believes that shellfish is haraam

  • Hey Rudy–it sounds like you have had a couple of incidents… What–some bad MidtownMatch.com stories?

  • Sarah, its all too recent, too raw.

    All’s I will say that it involved a snickers bar haagen daz and a bull whip.

  • On a serious note……..anyone else agree DOH are the equivelent of food Taliban?

  • I really admire your dedication to eating everything in Midtown, especially shrimp from a food cart, not sure if I could ever walk that path.

    Side note: have you ever reviewed Tad’s Steaks, I am really curious about that place.



    If you are nervous about shrimp from a cart, you might want to stay away from Tad’s Steaks.  I’ve never gone, but I’ve been told some pretty bad things about it… maybe I’ll check it out one day on a dare.  -zach

  • You know I’ve never had halal. I have a somewhat silly question. Is dark meat haraam, because a friend of mine was telling me the other day that what makes dark meat dark is the blood, and I know blood is haraam. I don’t like white meat.


    If dark chicken meat is haraam then there are a lot of halal carts breaking the rules… because lord knows (no pun intended) they’re not all using white meat chicken breast.  -zach

  • i don’t think i would call it food Taliban b/c some of their rat-infested shutdowns are justified. so maybe more like food american government.

  • Tad’s! ACK!

    I’ll eat just about anything, and in fact I’m headed to this cart for a garbage platter (if they’ll make me one)

    I will -not- return to Tad’s. The insect infestation at the one I went too was enough to turn even my cast iron, carbon fibre reinforced, specially lined stomach.

  • I get the chicken & lamb combo over rice occasionally. He throws in the shrimp, fries and falafel when he has it. It only costs 5 bux tho.

  • could somebody spell check me…. jeez…

  • ………but they shut the rat/insect riden place down……where do the rats go?


  • i hope it’s to that big white castle on Pennsylvania Avenue.

    on a foodie note, I LOVE WHITE CASTLES. i don’t care if rats dine there.

  • Quik meal has a shrimp platter that he touts highly. I think it’s like $8 or more though which just feels wrong for anything from a cart. Has anyone tried it?

    The safety angle doesn’t bother me as much. Shrimp is always frozen which kills off a lot. On the whole chicken is much more likely to get you sick.

  • I’m a big white castle fan too.

    In fact, I took a suitcase of 30 into the IMAX to see ‘The 300′ with some friends.

    btw, the hot sauce at the shrimp cart is BRTUAL, and is currently attempting to exit my body through the rib cage.

  • I have eaten at Tad’s and lived to tell about it. But then again, I do also love White Castle so I am sufficiently fearless about food anyway.

  • …so shrimp would be ‘Infidel ina shell’?


  • white castle has lost the plot
    wait until in n out and five guys get going in manhattan

    do not let harold & kumar lead you astray.

  • Inane, i completely hear you on the hot sauce. i enjoyed the platter well enough, but that hot sauce was killer. wow.

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