Feel like Sweet Chili Chicken? One street food trend we’ve noticed lately is that a few halal carts have been serving Indian cuisine instead of the Middle Eastern fare you associate with halal carts. When we see a halal food cart, we assume they will have chicken or “lamb” over rice with white and hot sauce. Lately, we’ve run into a few halal carts with chicken tikka masala, kati rolls and fish served with Indian spices and sauces.
Walking up 6th Ave recently, we saw a cart on 44th St just east of 6th Ave with a crowd around it. Coming closer, the menu said Indian Tasty Halal Food, and many of the items listed were of a distinctly Indian variety.
Perusing the menu, we saw a bunch of seafood dishes that looked great, but for our first trip to this vendor, we decided to get something a little safer, sweet chili chicken over rice for $6.
The server asked if I wanted white and hot sauce, and I said hot sauce only. The Sweet Chili Chicken dish already had a nice looking sauce, and white sauce would have buried it.
Taking my first bite, the chicken had a fairly light sauce. In fact, it was more of a glaze than a sauce. It was sweet, but not cloyingly so.
Foregoing white sauce was the right move, as was getting hot sauce. The sweet chili sauce was not all that hot by itself, but with hot sauce, the heat level was just right.
Along with small pieces of chicken, there were a lot of onions and a few pieces of green bell pepper.
Another difference between Indian and Middle Eastern halal carts, besides the herbs and spices, is the rice. Indian style halal carts serve basmati rice, which has longer, thinner grains. It’s more delicate than the yellow rice served at Middle Eastern halal carts.
Personally, I’m glad to see more Indian halal carts like Tariq’s #1 Halal Food and Indian Tasty Halal Food. In our opinion, the level of cooking at Indian halal carts is more sophisticated than at Middle Eastern halal carts, with more varied and interesting herbs and spices.
Indian Tasty Halal Food does not have a twitter or website account that we are aware of, but they are on 44th St just east of 6th Ave every weekday. Next time, I’m going to try one of the fish or shrimp dishes, although they have 8 different types of kati rolls that look tempting too.