Eating Halal in New York City

Adjusting to college life is hard, whether you live on campus, off-campus, or at home. We are barely adults and still teenagers as we are thrust into the beginnings of the real world starting off our independent lives. One of the hardest aspects of of adjusting to this new lifestyle is adjusting your diet and eating habits. College is hectic, and sometimes between classes, assignments, work, internships, and extracurriculars, your diet and eating habits seem to be buried in the back of your mind. It’s hard when you no longer have a meal plan and have to provide for your now food whether it be by eating out at restaurants or making food on your own at home. It’s even harder to build good eating habits when you have dietary restrictions that limit your options.

Zabihah is a religious dietary restriction that Muslims follow, though not necessarily all Muslims. One level of eating halal is a restriction go what kinds of meat you can consume, with the most well-known of these forbidden foods being pork. Another level of eating halal is eating zabihah halal, which is when the meat is slaughtered in a certain way with a certain prayer/blessing. 

I am strictly zabihah halal. Due to this dietary restriction, I had a hard time navigating my diet at first. I definitely had it easier than other Muslims college students as a commuter. I did have home cooked food available to me that I didn’t have to make myself during the weekends. That doesn’t mean it still wasn’t hard. I didn’t have a meal plan, and while the food at university dining halls were still available, it is definitely more expensive without a meal plan I ate 1-2 meals a day five days a week on and around campus, and all of those meals needed to be zabihah halal.

I was lucky that I lived and went to school in a city, specifically New York City, and I actually did have a variety of halal restaurants and food carts to choose from near my campus and all around New York City. There is everything from Middle Eastern food to burgers to Mexican food and so much more. These 10 restaurants are just a few of those options

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  1. Burgers by Honest Chops is a small burger place located in Midtown by Washington Square Park. There are only a few things on the menu, but all the options are absolutely wonderful. (My personal favorite thing at Burgers by Honest Chop is their truffle fries.) Not only that, but they also have a students discount with a valid student ID.
  2. The Soul Spot is a soul food (as suggested by its name) and Caribbean restaurant in Brooklyn near Brooklyn Heights. The Soul Spot has crispy fried chicken, spicy jerk chicken, delicious mac and cheese, and the absolute best mashed potatoes I have ever had.
  3. Rasa is a Malaysian restaurant located in Midtown. It has a variety of fried rice dishes, curries, and noodle dishes. They also have a special dish called the Nasi Kerabu that has a splash of color with its blue pea rice, which tastes amazing and would be perfect for Instagram. Rasa also has many other special dishes and a sushi bar.
  4. King of Falafel & Shawarma is a Middle Eastern restaurant located in Astoria in Queens. It was first a food cart before it became a restaurant, though they still have a food cart located on Astoria Ditmars, while their restaurant in located on Broadway. Their chicken shawarma is to die for and their falafels are so crispy on the outside. If anything, their restaurant sign will have you smiling.
  5. Milk & Honey Cafe is located in Flatbush in Brooklyn and is the perfect halal place for Sunday brunch. They have an assortment flatbreads and paninis. They also have many different egg and omelet dishes as would be expected from a brunch spot. Don’t feel guilty about eating the bacon, it’s turkey.
  6. Terry and Yaki is a food cart located in Queens Plaza North on Crescent Street. They also have a location in that focuses on halal Asian food. They have teriyaki rice bowls, the options being chicken teriyaki, teriyaki tofu, and a recently added sirloin steak teriyaki. They have a chicken teriyaki salad bowl and loaded sweet potato fries.
  7. Fatima’s Halal Kitchen is a halal Chinese restaurant is located in Astoria in Queens. They have all the dishes that you would expect from a regular Chinese restaurant in New York City, aside from pork dishes. I personally love their special Mei Fun and their sweet and sour chicken.
  8. Tallgrass Burger is a burger spot located in East Village in Manhattan. It has amazing burgers for amazing prices, especially as it is located in Manhattan. My personal favorite from Tallgrass Burger is the Fire Rock Burger, which has beef bacon, jalapeños, and crunchy potato chips.
  9. Atomic Wings is a chain, but the one located in East Village in Manhattan is locally known to be halal, even though they don’t advertise themselves as such. It has an assortment of wing flavors. Their menu is not limited to wings however, having a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and appetizers.
  10. Twisted Mexican Grill

    is a halal Mexican restaurant located in Astoria in Queens. The food is fresh and delicious, within a good price range. You have a choice between burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, tacos, and a bunch of other things.

These are just some of the many halal options to eat from in New York City. Those who eat strictly zabihah halal may not be able to eat everything in this city, but our choices are definitely not limited. 

By Raibena Raita

Raibena is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in English on the Creative Writing track and minoring in Psychology. Ever since she was young, she has loved to read, which later in her life also blossomed into a love for writing. She writes everything from short stories to plays to creative nonfiction. She is an in-class tutor for elementary school children. She is also involved in NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, NYU DREAM Team, and NYU Muslims Students Association, and very vocal about her beliefs. 

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