Would Halal Carts Work in Dallas?

Categories: Chewing the Fat

halal_2.jpg
Behold
Over the past few months, I've had the opportunity to travel to some of the noted U.S. ports of call. During my tiny tours, I've tried to pay attention to the various food environs, making stops in Chicago, Boston, DC and New York City. The latter of those shined light on a particular question: Why are there no halal carts in Dallas?

The tiny tin boxes, seen on countless street corners in Manhattan, can command giant crowds with their tantalizing smells of delicious lamb and chicken. Halal refers to the preparation and selection of the meat, which must meet certain restrictions according to Islamic law.

The two typical dishes that are offered are the gyro and the meat-and-rice, with lamb and chicken representing the meat options. Taste-wise it's similar to the meat you find at most Mediterranean spots here in Dallas, until you get to the sauces. The carts typically use two sauces in tandem to take this dish to sublime levels. The first is a spicy sauce, brilliant red and applied generously per your capsaicin tolerance. The second, a pale white, is made up of some combination of yogurt, vinegar, mayo and other highly-secretive adjuncts. It's wondrous.

It is fantastic drunk food, and you can get plenty of it for under $10. So why don't we see these boxes dotting various corners across town?

One reason could be zoning. We've seen the issues that food trucks have had just to attain a toe-hold on the Dallas food scene. It would likely take another Herculean effort by a plucky entrepreneur to pave similar paths for the quasi-stationary carts.

Another reason could simply be demand. While in a wildly walkable city like New York, the food flourishes, it just may not translate here in Dallas. It's much harder for a food cart to rev up and hit another corner if business looks stale on a particular day.

Uninitiated palates could make up another barrier. While Dallas is certainly expanding its culinary profile, some people may just not be as apt to try out an unfamiliar dish when there are other, more recognizable options within earshot.


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11 comments
ambermrtn27
ambermrtn27

Stick ne right in the middle of downtown Dallas, one over at Preston Center and at the shops at Plano - people who know Halal carts will go - and they will tell their friends. I wish Dallas would get Halal and Sophie's Cuban. Then I'd be a happy girl. 

Coleman Chance
Coleman Chance

I really loved the Halal food I had in NYC, but I don't think it would do very well in Dallas, unfortunately.

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

I hope he does great business before they shut it dwn. Dallas doesn't like anything that doesn't fit its picture of sameness. Ever wonder where the crazy people and musicians are?

Sam Cavanaugh
Sam Cavanaugh

I live downtown and there is a Vienna hotdog cart in Pegasus Plaza every weekend. Trust me, I smell it on the way home from City Tavern.

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

The Commissioners have never allowed food out in the open, and they probably never will. They shut down a very popular hot dog stand 20 some years ago, and haven't licensed another one since.

Umair Zia
Umair Zia

They have epic street food in NYC. And enough obese people in TX to make this super successful.

grebliv
grebliv

YES! HALAL FOR DALLAS!!

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