Finding the Middle East in New York City

By Jewél Jackson

Everyone says that New York is a melting pot of different cultures and that every part of the world is represented in this one city.

I represent one ingredient in that melting pot and coming 8,000 miles from the scorching sun and occasional sandstorms of Kuwait, I needed a fix of Middle Eastern food and Arabian people.

Luckily, I found the Halal Guys, a well-known established food company that serves Halal food from their 10 food trucks and three restaurants across the city.

The Halal Guys dates back to the 1990s and to its three Egyptian founders, Mohamed Abouelawin, Ahmed Al Saka, and Abdelbaset ElSayed.

Starting off as Manhattan taxi drivers in the 90’s, these three men found it difficult to find Halal food within the city without traveling to Brooklyn or Queens.

Noticing that there was a problem providing Halal food to Muslim taxi drivers, these three men took it upon themselves to find a solution.

So, they set up one food truck that served Halal food.

And from there, that one food truck has expanded into an international business that reaches all the way to Singapore to provide Halal food to any and everyone.

“We have a vision. We’re going to be the dominant and serve the best Halal food all over the world,” said Mohamed Ahmdein, the senior staff-training member.

But what is Halal?

“Halal is human[ily] raised and human[ily] slaughtered,” said Ahmedin, and follows Muslim religious law. He said that the Halal certifications can be found on the company’s website.

Walking into the Halal Guys restaurant on East 14th Street, you can see that this business is already rapidly expanding. Ahmedin pointed out that they were currently training a group of South Korean employees to work in their restaurants in NYC.

“Actually our Muslim customers is less than other customers because we are serving everyone,” said Ahmedin.

“White sauce, hot sauce, and halal” is what the Halal Guys are known for, said Ahmedin.

Without giving away the family secret he was able to tell me that the white sauce is “a creamy mayo base with citrus spices.”

“Yeah we have a lot of copycats for our white sauce out there,” he laughed.

With prices as low as $6 for a whole meal, the Halal Guys appeals to not only its Muslim customers but to any and every nationality that wishes to try Middle Eastern food.

“Hospitality, mouth watering food, and great prices is our standard,” said Ahmedin.

By following that standard the Halal Guys believe that they can continue to reach their goals of becoming an international sensation of serving Halal food.

Click here for “Authentic Middle Eastern Food Pleases Kuwait’s Palate”