In 1990, the three Egyptian founders first introduced the Halal food truck – Halal Guys on 53rd street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan New York. Now the three founders who are Mohamed Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka and Abdelbaset Elsayed have seen their business expand, with food carts located not only in New York and other states but even worldwide with a restaurant in the Philippines.
The Halal Guys opened their first restaurant in 2014 at 14th Street in the East Village. Their business has been booming and it has become common to see a long line of people eagerly waiting for their meals. The Halal Guys food truck has also resulted in a less demand for the more traditional New York hotdogs. In fact the Halal Guys food truck first started out as a hotdog stand and later turned it into what it is well known for – chicken, gyro meat and falafel platters. There have also been several copycat versions that have opened up in the area with similar uniforms and food items as well.
The Halal Guys food cart has always served platters that are made with gyro meat, chicken, or falafels drizzled with their special white sauce or red sauce and served with rice and pita bread. Their famous pita bread sandwich wraps also contain the same ingredients. The side dishes include fries, hummus or tahini with pita bread and extra sauce if needed. For dessert, there is baklava which consists of light flaky pastry filled with nuts and drizzled with honey and olive oil. The menu has remained the same at each outlet with the favorites from the original food truck now available at the restaurants as well.
There are variations in the menu at the international outlets. For example, the Halal Guys branch in Manila contains a dish similar to Halal snack pack but contains fried chicken and the rice that is used in the platters contains jasmine rice instead of basmati rice.
The Halal Guys are already considering globally expanding their restaurants in other countries as well. However, while street food and small vendors are very popular in Singapore for their authenticity and flavor, there are a lower number of food trucks as there are several procedures to go through. Food trucks first need to get a license from the National Environment Agency (NEA) and apply for a venue permit from the government agency that owns the venue, which is quite tedious and they will have to stick to strict guidelines once the steps are taken.
So there is no concrete plan as yet on whether there will be a Halal Guys food truck seen in Singapore, but maybe a restaurant instead. According to a company press release, there are plans to open 40 restaurants in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. However, only time will tell if there will be a Halal Guys restaurant in Singapore.