Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Halal Guys Opens First International Store in Manila

Tender, savory beef and chicken over rice draped in the signature and creamy white and red sauces served on a platter. It's the iconic street food concept that's part of New York's rich tapestry of culinary diversity. And it's now here...

From one hotdog cart to a growing international chain, it's an inspiring story of the quintessential American dream. And it just keeps getting better. After twenty-five years in The Big Apple, The Halal Guys go global with the opening of their first international branch in Manila.

And it all began in 1990 when founding partners Muhammed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed parked their hotdog cart along West 53rd and 6th Avenue. With the growing demand for affordable halal street food among muslim cabbies, their hotdog cart was converted to the city's first ever Halal Street Food cart. 

Since then, The Halal Guys has become the largest and most popular New York Halal street food concept. Dubbed as the next big thing in fast, casual dining, with several branches in New York, California, and Chicago, with more in the pipeline. And now, The Halal Guys opens its first international location outside the US... 

...right here in Manila. The menu is simple and easy to navigate, simply choose a platter (over rice) or sandwich (with pita), then select from gyro (tender beef), chicken, or falafel, and you have your own signature dish from The Halal Guys. "Whenever I'm in New York, I make it a point to eat at The Halal Guys. I'm a huge fan," said Jaime Daez, the man responsible for bringing the famous New York food cart to Manila. "Their food tastes great! I don't know of any other restaurant in New York that offers that kind of value for money." Rich flavors, generous servings, and excellent value, key elements in the success of The Halal Guys. And here's some of the signature dishes that New Yorkers wait in line for, starting with the Chicken Sandwich (P 199 Small/P 349 New York Size), with tender chunks of chicken, fresh and crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes covered in their legendary creamy white sauce rolled in soft pita. The pita is thicker and softer than the usual, the ideal base to hold the generous and flavorful filling that's perfect on-the-go. Add some hot sauce for that flavorful kick, and top off with even more of the creamy white sauce.

There are only a few dining establishments in the metro that serve authentic falafel, and The Halal Guys is definitely one of them. The Falafel Sandwich (P 175 Small/P 249 New York Size), filled with crisp deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas, lettuce and tomatoes, and more of the creamy white sauce. The crunchy texture of the falafel adds contrasting textures with each bite, followed by the fresh vegetables, capped by the inimitable white sauce.

For heftier appetites, go for the platter and New York Size it. The Falafel Over Rice (P 199 Small/P 299 New York Size) is a generous platter filled with soft Biryani rice, lettuce, vegetables, falafel and pita. Then, mix it all up and go right in. With each and every bite, the creamy white sauce binds all the ingredients and flavors together in a seamless blend.

Can't decide whether to go for Gyro (beef) or Chicken? No worries. Have both with the Gyro and Chicken Combo (P 269 Small/P 399 Regular/P 469 New York Size) on rice, lettuce and tomatoes with pita. The delicate notes of the juicy chicken and robust flavors of the beef are distinct, delivering different flavors with every spoonful. The savory beef works well with the red hot sauce, and the the tartness of the fresh tomatoes tempers the richness of the creamy white sauce for balanced flavors. And yes, you'll definitely want more of that sauce to make this one a winning combo. It's also the ideal dish to try for first-timers to The Halal Guys.

Or you can indulge in pure beef with the Gyro Over Rice (P 269 Small/P 369 Regular/P 469 New York Size) for a hearty and comforting platter. The rich blend of flavors come together perfectly for a flavorful, filling, and satisfying meal. This one's a personal favorite. And it's legit. The gyro is imported from New York, so you get to enjoy the real thing. The Halal Guys is the very first restaurant in the Philippines to be awarded a Halal Certificate by HDIP, a member of the World Halal Food Council, and the leading Halal certifying body in the country. The HDIP is the only certifying body in the country recognized by Jakim in Malaysia, Muis in Singapore, Cicot of Thailand, as well as Ifanca of America.

With more branches opening soon in the US and in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Canada, The Halal Guys bring their signature platters and sandwiches to the world, with Manila as its first stop. And it all started with a hotdog cart along New York's 53rd and 6th back in 1990. Now open at the Mega Food Hall in SM Mega Fashion Hall, you may have to queue up for a taste of New York's legendary Halal street food, but trust me, it's definitely worth the wait.

The Halal Guys is located at Mega Food Hall, 5th Level, SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Edsa corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City. For more information on The Halal Guys, visit their FB Page here.

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