SWIPE ⬅️ In #Manhattan, #halal carts have become an institution — staples for late-night carousers. But many Charlotteans don't even know what a halal cart is.
The mobile #food stands, modeled after those that traditionally sold hot dogs or #tacos, serve up a combination of tasty dishes from the #Muslim world, but with a #NewYork sensibility: rice, greens, and halal meat either in a foil dish or in sandwich form.
As #America celebrates its 241st birthday on July 4, #Charlotte's first-ever halal food cart celebrates its first year in #business at a corner of the city's oldest intersection, Trade and Tryon streets.
Owner Khuram Bashir, a #Pakistani native, moved to Charlotte from #LongIsland, N.Y., about five years ago. When I asked Bashir's stepson, Cristopher Collado, 23, why the family wanted to open a halal cart in Charlotte, he answered simply enough, "We were hungry. We wanted our own halal food." Bashir's sister, Bisma Ansar, 23, chimed in. "We loved halal food back in New York. I would have it all the time. It's new here. A lot of people from New York live around here and they love halal food." "Halal," which translates from #Arabic as "permissible," means that the meat is butchered and prepared according to specific tenets of #Islam. Many Muslims eat halal meat exclusively. Collado likens it to the relationship between #Jewish people and #kosher meat.
The meat is always halal inside the Charlotte cart, but the dishes vary. Options include the classic chicken over rice (a personal favorite) or lamb and chicken over rice as well as gyros, falafel and #Philly cheesesteaks.
The dishes are culled from the menu at the family's 4-year-old Matthews restaurant, Mi Barrio Halal Latin Grill. Bashir's wife Damaris moved to the #UnitedStates from the #DominicanRepublic, and both the restaurant and the food cart feature an unusual blend of international flavors. But when I asked Collado if he considers the cart's food to be a Latin and Middle Eastern fusion, he calls it something else: #American. "We just say it's American, because only in America could you bring all parts of the world together. It's a beautiful thing," Collado said. CONTINUE READING 👇👇👇