Biryani Cart Gets New Competition From the Strangest Place

Aamir's Halal Food

Lunch’er Josh, aka NYC Foodie, tipped me off to a new cart called Aamir Halal Food- which is serving chicken tikka and lamb over rice on the opposite corner diagonally across the street from the Biryani Cart (on 46th and 6th). According to Josh, the new cart is run by Aamir Hussein- who just so happens to be the father-in-law of Meru, the owner/chef of the Biryani Cart. When I stopped by to ask Meru about it yesterday, he called the new cart “competition” and admitted that it was in fact his father-in-law running the cart, and serving very similar food. He stopped short of saying it was causing “a problem in his family” (my words, not his) but I could see he wasn’t too psyched about the whole situation.  If I had to translate the look he gave me into words, I think it would be: “it is what it is”.

Totally in the mood for some street meat (I’ve been on a street cart tear lately) I headed over to this new unauthorized copy of the Biryani cart to see what was going on.

Aamir's Halal Food

Clearly Aamir has no problems flaunting his connection to Meru… there is a newspaper photo hanging on his cart of him helping the Biryani cart at the Vendy Awards this past year, where they won the People’s Choice Award.

Aamir's Halal Food

I asked for “his specialty”, which turned out to be a chicken and lamb combination over basmati rice. It had a very similar flavor to the food over at the Biryani Cart, even though he had told Meru he would be serving different food.  I didn’t notice any kati rolls on the menu, but on the plate of food I got there were more similarities to the Biryani Cart than differences (that hard boiled egg certainly looks familiar.)

It’s tough to complain about the food though… just like the Biryani Cart, it was incredibly tasty (and spicy) and I’ve always had the opinion the more street carts the better.  Although he probably would have been smarter to park on the East side, which is in need of a Biryani Cart’ish option.

Despite Aamir’s assurances that he is not serving the same food as Meru, there is one thing he said to me that leaves no doubt he is trying to follow in the Biryani Cart’s footsteps: “This year, I want to win the Vendy Awards.”  Whoa there pal.  Let’s take this one step at a time…

Aamir’s Halal Food, NE Corner of 46th and 6th Ave.


  • I saw this cart yesterday and wondered if it was related, since they have sweet chili chicken like the other, but couldn’t imagine why they’d park across the street. I’ll stick with Meru.

  • Harry’s pickle top right…you’re being stalked by a pickle.

  • I think i’ve seen this before…1st Ave and 6th st, you know the famous indian places with the kitchy lighting and great food with the guys out front that beg you to come in and not go the ‘competitor’ next door (i believe they are called Sigiri and Milon)…so once coming out of the bathroom i noticed they might share a kitchen?!
    perhaps this is some sort of marketing technique?
    i challenge midtown lunch to find out if this is true…
    if its is a marketing technique its a great one:)

  • Aamir bad man! You very bad man!

  • What a scumbag father in law!!! Tell him to get his own idea! And move locales! Meru doesn’t deserve that s**T! I hope he gets terrorized off the street by the other vendors! IF that was my father in law, you’d not be hearing another peep out of him, ever…..

  • I tried going to the original Biriyani cart yesterday for the first time. After waiting 7 minutes for chicken and rice and them looking totally confused in the cart, I just told them forget it and left. How can it take so long to make chicken and rice from a cart? It was noon, too!

  • @BankBank hahaha…i thought i was the only one wondering why the biryani cart was so damn slow. it still takes 10 minutes for kati rolls when there is no line. they need to speed up their service.

    i’m gonna try this new cart, which i’m sure is part of meru’s cart empire.

  • @BankBank:

    It takes them a while b/c they are cooking up your food right there, as opposed to just stuffing it in a heater/microwave to thaw it out.

    If having to wait for your food to be cooked on the spot is too much of a hassle then may I suggest going to McDonald’s next time? Or even Walgreens? They have these amazing prepackaged sandwiches there…

  • I have only been to Biryani a couple of times. The last time was 1-2 months ago. Aamir was standing outside the cart. He would try to help people once in a while. It was a little weird. He acted like he was the manager and the guys in the cart worked for him. Now I think he was hanging around to learn about the business.

    You went in the middle of lunch. It can get busy. It can be a little confusing at the Biryani cart, because everyone is just mixed together, but… It’s totally worth waiting. Their food is outstanding. I hope you go back.

  • i think he have long way to go become like biryani cart . since amir dosn ;t have any cooking backround , he was just working for Meru. now he trying to make a copy cat from Biryani cart

  • he have to learn from Biryani cart.

  • I think that picture he put on his cart it was stolen from Biryani cart ( vendy award)

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