New Yorkers will tell you that the optimal late night, drunken munchie is some sort of halal food from a food truck. The best halal food comes from none other than the infamous Halal Guys.  

rooftop, picnic, New York, Nyc, tea, beer, coffee, kettle
Isabel Leeds

The Halal Guys started out as a humble hot dog cart on West 53rd and 6th Avenue in New York City in 1990 and have since expanded to becoming a world-renowned restaurant chain, serving international locations. They have it in their mission to be "the best American Halal restaurant in the world."  A couple of weeks ago, they finally decided to open their doors right here in Davis. 

I was fortunately able to get the chance to talk to the Davis location's General Manager, Tarek. For those of us who might not know, I thought that the easiest way to start would be to ask, "What exactly is halal?" The Halal Guys operates under this condition of "humanely raised, humanely slaughtered." The founders of the Halal Guys practiced Islam, and according to their religion, Muslims are not allowed to eat animal blood and the blood must be drained from the meat before cooking. Tarek says, however, that this concept is for everyone, and that people of every background enjoy consuming food in a very respectful way. 

Tarek recalled that part of the Halal Guys' success is that they are able to sell to the needs of the American market. The New York food truck only started to truly become competitive once they were able to sell big platters at a lower price. It is for this same reason that the franchise decided to open in Davis. The market for tasty but affordable food is constant in a college town. The Halal Guys took this as an opportunity to cater to college kids.

Annika Altura

I was able to try most of the menu, and I would have to say that a small combo platter, which includes a rice platter consisting of beef gyro meat, chicken, rice, vegetables and a few slices of pita bread is going to be my go-to, perhaps with additional falafel which was absolutely amazing. The chicken and beef were flavorful and cooked well without being dry, the pita was heated through and the creamy white sauce mixed with their infamous super f*ckin hot red sauce balanced everything out really well. 

#SpoonTip: Only use around 4-5 drops of sauce initially. The heat kicks in a little later.

Tarek suggests getting falafel in addition to their platters. After trying their falafel, I'd say I have to agree. Unlike a lot falafel that we can get around campus that's dry and gummy, this one is served hot, made fresh to order and is light and fluffy while remaining filling and tasty. A couple of underrated menu items are the baklava and the hummus. If you're *still* hungry, a side of hummus with pita bread and a triangle of baklava to finish off your meal aren't bad choices at all.

With a manageable price range, large portions and tasty food, I don't see how you could go wrong at the new Davis joint. The Halal Guys fills the different niches that Davis students may need in every way. Hop downtown, grab yourself a combo platter with falafel, and enjoy the tasty hangover food. I know that I'll be dropping by when in desperate need of chicken and rice