The city is known as the greatest in the world. Songs and poems have been written about it. Countless movies have been made here. Remember Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Cruel Intentions? The Godfather? You’ve Got Mail?

We’re talking about New York, a concrete jungle where dreams are made of and there’s nothing you can’t do there.

It’s New York, where the streets will make you feel brand new and big lights will inspire you.

[First time in NYC? Check out the 10 experiences you need to have in the Big Apple!]

Credit: giphy

Okay. Enough with the pop culture reference. Let’s talk about halal food in the world’s greatest city.

Credit: giphy

New York is a mega melting pot, with so many diverse cultures and cuisines intersecting in one awesome city. The food scene is so lively, rich and exciting that you’ll probably have a hard time deciding what to eat.

1. The Halal Guys
1 - Halal Guys Combo Plate
The Combo Plate with extra falafel

Credit: chron

The Halal Guys have been serving New Yorkers and tourists for a good 26 years. Back in 1990 when they first opened, it was merely a hotdog cart catering to Muslim cab drivers in the city.

Over the years, the brand name has become so popular that their following is almost cult-like; nobody bats an eye queuing for an hour just to get their steaming hot rice platters or sandwiches stuffed with chicken, gyro meat or falafel. The white sauce is said to be legendary too.

2 - Halal Guys Long QueueCredit: The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys are in the midst of their world invasion, with expansion plans in Jakarta, Manila and Kuala Lumpur (yay!).

Address: 6th Avenue & West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 (the main cart). There are more carts and restaurant around the city, so depending on where you are, you can check the restaurant locator on their website for the nearest one to you.
Opening Hours: 7pm to 4am (til 5am on Friday & Sat). There are many more Halal Guys carts and restaurants, heck, there’s even a cart just across the street from the main cart. Do check their official website for the nearest cart/store near you and its opening hours.
Website

 

2. Cairo Steakhouse

3 - Cairo Steakhouse steakCredit: indahnuria 

Cairo Steakhouse prides itself for being the first New York upscale halal and contemporary American steakhouse with an Egyptian flare.

4 - Cairo Steakhouse fried calamariCredit: indahnuria 

From the menu, the steak options are limited to two which are the 12oz. ribeye (USD$20) and the 10oz. filet mignon (USD$24). Since this is also an Egyptian restaurant, you can order kebabs, tajine dishes and Middle Eastern appetisers such as babaganoush, grape leaves, moussaka and hummus.

5 - Cairo SteakhouseCredit: ediblequeens

It can be pretty hard to find a halal steakhouse in the United States so this establishment has made a lot of American Muslims happy! 😁

Address: 2415 Steinway St Astoria NY, 11103
Opening hours: 12pm – 11pm (Sun – Thurs) and 12pm – 12am (Fri & Sat)
Website

 

3. Mariachi

6 - Mariachi RestaurantCredit: sideways

Most of the halal food options would be Middle Eastern cuisine so it is rather exciting to find halal Mexican food in New York City! Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, you name it, they’ve got it!

7 - Mariachi Burrito WrapCredit: mariachieastside

The portion served at this restaurant for one dish looks big enough to feed two people.

8 - Mariachi Nachos and Guacamole
Colourful nachos with guacamole

Credit: mariachieastside 

Mariachi also doubles up as Marrakesh Restaurant, offering Moroccan fare, so expect your usual Middle Eastern cuisine here as well.

9 - MarrakeshCredit: Marrakesh Restaurant

Address: 235 East 53rd Street, New York, 10022
Opening hours: Mon – Sunday (11am – 10.30pm)
Website

 

4. Dirt Candy

When all else fails (read: there is no halal food in sight), you go VEGAN! Dirt Candy is a fancy schmancy vegetarian restaurant that makes you want to be good for once and finish all your vegetables.

10 - Dirt Candy cabbage hot pot
Cabbage hot pot

Credit: nytimes 

Like seriously, plants can look so pretty!!

11 - Dirt Candy Brussels Sprouts Tacos
Brussels sprout tacos with smoked avocado, pickled red onion, salsa verde, crispy Brussels-sprout leaves, tortilla strips, jalapeños and crema

Credit: grubstreet

Another one that caught my fancy from the menu is Korean Fried Broccoli that Dirt Candy basically describes as “crack in broccoli form”.

Korean fried broccoli
Korean fried broccoli

Credit: girleatsgreens

Dirt Candy is able to cater to dietary restrictions like no dairy or gluten-free. It would be best to communicate your dietary needs to the server and they would be glad to accommodate you.

Address: 86 Allen Street between Grand and Broome Streets
Opening hours: Open at 5:30pm, Tuesday – Saturday (closed on Sundays & Mondays). Last tables are seated at 11pm. Open for brunch from 11:30am – 2:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Website

 

5. Rasa

I believe that the culture of the foreign place I’m at should be experienced through local food and because of that, I would usually stay away from our local food whenever I’m abroad. But there is so much buzz about Rasa in the Big Apple that got me very intrigued about this place.

Founded by Malaysian siblings Chef Tommy Lai and Camie Lai, Rasa serves authentic halal Malaysian cuisine such as Nasi Kerabu, Kampung Fried Rice, Hainanese Chicken Rice and Penang Assam Laksa.

13 - Rasa Nasi Kerabu
Nasi kerabu

Credit: Rasa

14 - Rasa Fried Noodles
Fried noodles

Credit: villagevoice

 

The cincaluk featured at the restaurant is made by Camie. Cincaluk in New York? It doesn’t get any better than that! Roti canai, karipap, satay, char kuey teow, you name it, they have it.

Rasa also has sushi, sashimi and rolls in its menu. You know, just in case you want Japanese food instead (Is it possible to make cincaluk sushi??).

Beef rendang
Beef rendang

Credit: innewyork 

A lot of famous people have visited Rasa from Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to popular actress Neelofa to US-based Malaysian singer Yuna. Great place to go for halal food or if you’re suffering from homesickness.

Address: 25 West 8th Street (Between 5th & 6th Ave), New York, NY 10011
Opening hours: Open 7 days a week
Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10:45pm
Friday: 11:30am – 11pm
Saturday & Sunday: 1pm – 11pm
Website

6. Sabrett We’ve received multi comments stating that Sabrett isn’t halal despite what we’ve researched online.

I grew up watching too many American shows on TV and one of the things I always see on the screen is New York’s iconic hot dog stands. Enter Sabrett – New York’s number 1 hot dog, readily available wherever you see carts with blue and yellow umbrellas.

hot-dog-cart-new-yorkCredit: flavorpill 

17 - Sabrett Hotdog Mia SurayaCredit: Photo from personal collection of Mia Suraya 

Typically, a hotdog is also known as “dirty water dog”, which refers to the simple cooking technique. The franks are left swimming in pot of ‘dirty’ water. When a customer places an order, the vendor plucks out the dog from the water and places it between buns and slathers it with sauerkraut, chillis, sauces, basically any condiment the customer requests. Voila! Hotdog, New York style.

18 - Sabrett Woman Buying HotdogCredit: nydailynews

There’s just something very American about stuffing your face with the dog by the roadside. Too many American TV shows, yes I admit.

Address: The location for a Sabrett push cart varies, you just have to keep your eyes peeled for the blue and yellow umbrella at parks or down the street.

There are many more halal food places you can find in New York. Now that the halal food carts have somewhat taken over the hotdog carts, eating halal is even easier and does not pose a problem for Muslim travellers.

With so many iconic sites like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Times Square, it will probably be an experience in a lifetime to visit the city. If you have personally tried any of the places listed above or have recommendations, leave a comment!

Credit: giphy

6 comments

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    Hi, first off, thanks for all the useful information. To clarify the question on Sabrett, please refer to the company's faq :http://www.sabrett.com/faqs.cfm Its clearly not kosher so we can forget about it being halal
    • Hi Sameera, thanks for pointing it out. The article was done based on research and lots of Googling, as none of us (along with the author of the article) are locals in NYC and the info online might have misled us to cover this. It would be great for us and the Muslim travel community if you be able to share with us more information on Sabrett as well as other halal eateries in NYC. We believe it would help travellers planning their trips to NYC. Thank you.
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    Hi. I'm curious about Sabrett hotdogs in NYC. Sabrett's website does not specifically say that their products are halal. If they do produce halal products, it is safe to assume that all Sabrett's carts serve halal food? Tq.
    • Hello Dina! The article was done based on research and lots of Googling, as none of us (along with the author of the article) are locals in NYC and the info online might have misled us to cover this. We've received some comments that Sabrett isn't zabihah halal, and we've crossed it out on our list. So sorry if the article misled you :(
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