Fish & Chips Elevates 100% Halal Food Cart Above Its “Healthy” Counterpart
I’ve been wanting to try the “100% Halal Food” cart (on the SW corner of 54th & Park Ave.) for awhile now. Obviously it was the assortment of fried goods hovering above the standard halal chicken and lamb covered griddle that intrigued me, and after reading on Wined and Dined that it was owned by the same guy that runs 100% Halal & Healthy (on 55th btw. Park+Mad) I was sold.
Fish and chips is not something you can get at most street carts in Midtown (and I love the idea of fried shrimp from a cart) so I was pretty set on getting that. Unfortunately they were out of fish when I got there, so I had to settle for the chicken and shrimp.
To compound things, I didn’t specify “fried” chicken (they have fried chicken cutlets in addition to their fried fish, fried shrimp, french fries, and falafel balls) so I ended up with halal chicken over rice plus some fried shrimp. That’s cool. They have a bunch of different rice options (spicy, yellow, rice with lentils) so I decided to try the spicy. Just like Andrew from Wined and Dined, I was pretty indifferent to the chicken over rice. The white sauce and hot sauce were pretty standard, the chicken was fine, and the spicy rice was just whatever. (Couldn’t tell if it was spicy or if it was just the hot sauce.) The shrimp were good though, so clearly I had to return for the fried fish.
And return I did. Got the fish and chips, and asked them to throw some fried chicken in there. Total cost = $7. ($5 for the fish and chips + $2 for the chicken add on.) You get your choice of spicy or regular grilled onions (???), so I went with spicy. I asked if they had vinegar (the proper topping for any fish and chips) and surprisingly they did. In the end it didn’t matter, because clearly this was not really a proper fish and chips… they use tilapia, and it’s doesn’t have that thick breading you get on the fried fish at a proper chip shop. And the fries were a little undercooked. Oh, and the vinegar wasn’t just vinegar. It was some sort of sweet vinegar based dressing. But you know what? It didn’t matter. Proper or not, the thing tasted freaking good. The tilapia, the onions, the french fries, the sauce. It was freaking good. Sub in some fried shrimp (instead of the fried chicken cutlet, which was fine but paled in comparison to the fish) and you’ve got an amazing seafood lunch. So it wasn’t a real fish and chips… but it was damn tasty.
Even though I had already tried the chicken, I figured it wouldn’t be right to leave without trying their full on chicken and lamb over rice plate. I asked them to throw on a falafel ball too (and they happily obliged, only charging me $5 for the whole thing.) In fact, one of the best things about this cart is they’ll pretty much give you whatever you want… and charge you accordingly. I didn’t really go over board, so I don’t know how much you can push it… but I got the sense they’ll custom make every platter and you probably won’t ever end up paying more than $7 or $8 (with most standard plates coming in between $5 and $7 depending on what you order.) This time I got the rice with lentils, which was better than the spicy rice, but still not great- mostly because I don’t love waterlogged rice (which this was.) But that’s just me… I like the perfectly cooked (bordering on dry) long grain rice you get at XPL or the famous halal guys on 53rd and 6th. Overall the plate was average… they were out of eggplant (another popular topping they have) and I wasn’t offered the green sauce that Wined & Wined mentioned- but they do have a “hotter” red hot sauce you can ask for specifically (which is definitely hot.)
Despite the average chicken and lamb over rice plate, this cart is definitely worth hitting up. Their fish and fried shrimp would be enough for them to stand out… add to that the fact that they’ll let you pretty much make whatever custom combo you want, makes this one of my new favorite carts in Midtown.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- It’s fish and chips from a cart! (Sort of…)
- They have fried shrimp too! (I love eating seafood from a cart)
- They have a ton of variety (chicken, lamb, 3-4 different kinds of rice, falafel, fried chicken cutlets, fried shrim, fish, french fries, eggplant, grilled onions) and will let you custom make your platter however you like
- I love the sweet vinegar sauce! Have them put it over your fish and chips!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The thought of eating seafood from a cart makes me sick!
- It’s not a proper fish and chips
- I want just plain vinegar… not some vinegar based sauce
- The chicken and lamb over rice, white sauce, and hot sauce are nothing special
- The rice is just ok, also nothing special
100% Halal Food Cart, SW Corner of 54th & Park