Travel theme: Food

Food and travel go hand in hand. I adore trying new cuisines and have had many interesting culinary adventures. One of my most recent discoveries was carrot pizza which I had on the shores of Lake Atitlán – absolutely delicious. I’m still traumatised by the memory of discovering legs on what I thought were crisps (chips if you’re American) in Japan.

food carrot pizza

New York is a foodie heaven. There are countless restaurants, bistros, diners, cafés, coffee shops, chophouses (I’m still not entirely sure what that is – do they just serve chops?) and many of them carry a hefty price tag. You could actually go bankrupt trying them all. So it might come as a bit of a surprise that the place I recommend to everyone who visits will cost you at most $6.

At 7pm each evening, a line begins to form at the corner of 6th Avenue and 53rd Street. The line is made up of business people in suits, shoppers, kids, backpackers and the occasional world-renowned chef.

food halal guys manhattan

The street is lined with cop cars, taxis and limos, pulled over to the side and parked askew, doors flung open as their drivers spill out onto the sidewalk and get in line…

food halal guys manhattan

…because this is when The Halal Guys roll into town. They set up their cart at 7pm each evening and stay open right through the night until 4am (5am on Friday and Saturday). The stream of hungry customers never lets up the entire time they’re in town. Beware of imitators – there are many. Look for the yellow shirts and the yellow bags and you’ll know you’ve found the real deal.

food halal guys manhattan

The menu is pretty simple, but it is done extraordinarily well. First you choose between chicken, gyro or falafel (I’ve seen some people go crazy and order half chicken half gyro) and then you choose whether you want it in a sandwich ($4) or over rice ($6).

food halal guys manhattan

I’ve only had the falafel, but it is the best falafel I’ve ever tasted. Hands down the best; just the perfect amount of moisture and an intoxicating mix of spices, served with some lettuce and cheese. Then you move over to the sauce rack and kick things up a notch.

food halal guys manhattan   food halal guys manhattan

I’ve heard people refer to the white sauce as crack, and I can’t argue. I don’t know what the ingredients are but it will make your tastebuds weep for joy. But the hot sauce. Oh, the hot sauce. I live for spicy food. I have been known to use the phrase “hot enough to make a grown man cry” when ordering levels of spiciness in a restaurant – and even I respect the hot sauce at The Halal Guys. Just a light drizzle will have your eyebrows sweating and your eyes tearing up. So, so good. If you are in any way delicate about spices, heed my warning: Back away from the hot sauce.

food halal guys manhattan

Falafel sandwich ready to go

There are two other Halal Guys carts- West 57rd and 7th and East 53rd and 6th – but I head straight for the main cart, because it’s always an experience.

Now I just know you have a food experience to share, so create your own post between now and next Friday, title it “Travel theme: Food” and put a link to this page in your blog post to make it easy for others to find your post. Don’t forget to check back in next Friday for a new travel theme.

What food are you going to share?

xxx Ailsa

About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
This entry was posted in Guatemala, New York, Photography, Travel, United States, Weekly Travel Themes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

195 Responses to Travel theme: Food

  1. Pingback: panino « primo piano

  2. marina says:

    the first photo is so yummy looking!!!
    my link =

  3. Pingback: Travel theme: food… « Memories are made of this

  4. pommepal says:

    You have really hit the spot this week Ailsa, so many people with so many takes on food. I’m sure every one found it hard to just sort out their favourite food experience. The camp fire is an iconic Aussie experience, up there with the barbie…

    • ailsapm says:

      Oooh, I love camp fires. Cooking by fire is one of my favourite things. I used to live in a house that had a fireplace and in winter when the fire was roaring I’d wrap potatoes or chestnuts in foil and cook them in the embers. My dog Major would get so excited because he just loved roasted chestnuts. Yummy!

  5. Amy says:

    Thank you Ailsa! This is such a fun theme. NYC is the best place to start the food theme. Here is mine:

  6. Pingback: Travel Theme: FOOD (Made With Love) « Pictures in living color

  7. Pingback: Dressed Up Dessert! « The Urge To Wander

    • ailsapm says:

      Those desserts look amazing, Madhu. I had a friend in school who would always eat her dessert first, just in case her main course filled her up and she wouldn’t have room for dessert. I always thought that was terribly sensible of her 😉

  8. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food | Chronicles of Illusions

  9. Jo Bryant says:

    I am in love with the Halal Guys and their food…yummy. Now I may have sidetracked a little Ailsa…but it started of with a Kiwi favourite food…fish and chips.
    I just got a little carried away with where I eat more than what I was eating. It is hard not too really. God I love New Zealand.

  10. My mouth is watering just looking at that sandwich!

    • ailsapm says:

      Haha, it didn’t last very long after that photo was taken, I sat by the fountain on the street corner and chomped it down right after I took the shot. 🙂

  11. 4otomo says:

    after a post like that..the queue’s just going to become longer………..:-)
    here’s my post for this week……….

    • ailsapm says:

      Great find, 4otomo, and a wonderful series of shots. I particularly like that first photo, with the red tents contrasting beautifully against the sky.

  12. Falafel is one of my favorite foods on the planet! Now I’m hungry…

  13. travtrails says:

    New York is a food paradise…Enjoyed your post and posting my contribution Fish Tales……

  14. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food | tahira's

    • ailsapm says:

      Stunning shots, Color Odyssey, they practically leapt off the page at me. I adore Thai food too, I’m feeling rather hungry now after reading your post!

  15. Pingback: travel theme: food « The journey is the destination. You carry your journey with you.

  16. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food | newsofthetimes

  17. Yum! Here’s mine… Thanks for another great theme – I’m getting hungry! 🙂

  18. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food « A year in the Life

  19. livvy30 says:

    Love your photos and theme this week! Here’s one from Barcelona.

    • ailsapm says:

      Briliiant shot, Livvy, from the angle you took it at, it looks like a veritable Everest of fruit. I’m now craving some of those figs over to the left.

  20. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food « Incidentally

  21. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food « Inside the Mind of Isadora

  22. What is it about street vendors that makes the food taste so yummy??? It’s the love they put into it. Hmmm … mmmm … I think so. I love walking down a city street and eating something with sauce that just drips down your hand and you can’t help but think – “Damn, this is good.” YUP – it is so good. The challenge was hard as I was trying to be healthy while thinking these decadant thoughts. So here’s my healthy submission. Sure wish it had been a hot dog from a street vendor. LOL

    • ailsapm says:

      Ah yes, much healthier than street food – I love pineapples. There is an organic pineapple farm in Costa Rica called Finca Corsicana and I have never in my life tasted more amazing pineapples – they ship to the US and sometimes Whole Foods carries their pineapples. When that happens, I am a very happy person.

  23. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food « Ron Mayhew Photography

  24. gingerbreadcafe says:

    Considering I love eating local foods while traveling I don’t photograph it, I think I will start! My favourite country for food is Austria, this is due to a love of desserts, Kaiserscharrm ( chopped apple pancake) Germnodel (like a sweet dumpling sitting in Vanilla custard) are just 2. The Falafel looks great too!

  25. MAking note of this place – looks yummy! Done right – with enough sauce! Spicy…oh must book ticket now…

  26. Sunshine says:

    The Falafel sandwich looks great…oh, just to have one bitty bite…

  27. Pingback: One of my favorite restaurant meals. (Travel theme: Food) | Four Deer Oak

  28. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food « The Quotidian Hudson

  29. Vanessa T. says:

    Looks yummy! I have not tried this before, but I definitely will when I pass by this store the next time I drop by NY! ^_^v

  30. Pingback: Ailsa’s travel theme: Food | Anotherdayinparadise2's Blog

  31. adinparadise says:

    I decided to take you shopping around the world for ingredients: 😉

    • ailsapm says:

      I love the look of that market in hills just outside Marrakech, with the veggies all piled up in heaps. and that corn in Peru looks delicious. Yum!

  32. Pingback: American Diner with a Twist | Canoe Communications Blog

  33. Sunshine says:

    Being a certified ‘homebody,’ I kept things simple…
    Simply Home-grown

  34. Pingback: Simply Home-grown | Simply Charming

  35. Pingback: Sri Lankan Rice and Curry « The Wanderlust Gene

  36. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food | Autumn in Bruges

  37. Pingback: travel theme: food « a nomad in the land of nizwa

  38. Pingback: travel theme: food « whatever a moon has always meant

  39. Hi Ailsa, Your Halal Guys with their falafel sandwiches seem wonderful!! I would love to try those sometime in NYC!! And you always have such interesting stories to tell with your posts!

    I have two entries, right under the wire. One from Oman, one from the Mekong.

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks Cathy, glad you enjoyed my Halal Guys tribute, they’re something of a legend in the Big Apple. I love both your posts, the heron carved out of turnips are incredible, and those banana leaf cups are awesome!

  40. Pingback: Travel Theme: Food | travellersoul76

  41. Hi Ailsa! Loved your description about the Falafel guys and how the hot sauce makes your eyebrows sweat ha ha. Love middle eastern food!

    Here is my contribution! I picked several pics from my trips around the world. Hope you like it 😉

    Til next time,


    Kay 🙂

    • ailsapm says:

      Oh so good, Kay. Do you happen to remember where you got that veggie platter in Antigua? It looks sooo good – and since I fell in love with Antigua I’m bound to return at some point. xxx Ailsa

      • Good question, it was off the plaza central maybe on 4ta calle? We stopped there on our way to Mercado de Artesanias.

        I loved it too, it was a family restaurant and we went to the terrace. The view of the city from there is great!

        If you go back, make sure you go to Iglesia La Merced and also Arco Santa Catarina. Couldn’t stop taking pictures there 😉

        • ailsapm says:

          Oh I’ve been to both, they’re stunning. I also did this crazy trip up the side of Fuego to see it erupt at midnight. Guatemala rocks!

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