Thursday 14 September 2023

Halal Guys is Not Worth the Hype

Vancouver always seems to gets missed by large popular brands. Vancouver is a major city on the west coast of Canada and often ranks as one of the most expensive cities to live in the world and yet we are never worthy of being a brands first location. Not to throw shade, but how is it that the prairie cities beat us out for iconic eateries time and time again? So when a popular chain decides to finally grace us with their presence, we embrace it with much fan fare and pomp and circumstance as possible. The anticipation of eating the much-touted Halal Guys meant my expectations were incredibly high. It pains me to say this, but The Halal Guys is a hard pass from me. 

For years I have heard stories of The Halal Guys being New York City's favourite Donair brand. With lines snaking around the block, hungry patrons are willing to wait for the perfect platter of meat, rice, and vegetables all doused in the Halal Guys' signature "White Sauce" and "Hot Sauce." A great Donair is defined by the protein which is often a juicy slowly roasted chicken or beef.   

The first red flag should have been that The Halal Guys do not cut their meat to order. Instead, the meat is sliced and layered into a giant sheet tray where it is held hot for what could be hours. There are three protein options: Beef, Chicken and Falafel. The Beef and Chicken looked grey in colour and completely devoid of any sign of seasoning or herbs. Downright insulting to the meat! I had the Falafel which were good, but nothing to rave about. 

My friends decided to put the Chicken and Beef to the test, but as I suspected, no seasoning therefore zero flavour. The meat was dry and overall unpleasant. The protein was arranged on a bed of rice. At first glance, I mistook the rice for shredded carrots because the rice is bright orange red in colour. I have never seen rice that shade of colour before and it was brutally spicy. My guess is that the rice was literally cooked in hot sauce hence taking on that crazy bright orange shade of colour. Iceberge lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and black olives were added raw with no salad dressing. You are given the option of adding their famous "white sauce" and "hot sauce" which I happily asked for a generous portion of. 

I swear, the whole reason I was excited about Halal Guys was for their infamous "White Sauce." Apparently the sauce is so incredible that Halal Guys sells it in giant pouches! I resisted googling the white sauce, so I had zero idea what the condiment would taste like. 

The White Sauce has zero flavour. I Repeat: zero flavour. It adds a creaminess to the donair, but no flavour. The White Sauce is a total scam! I tried it on its own. I tried it with the food. I could not detect any possible hint of flavour. Now that I have tried it, I asked Google for more concrete answers on what the Halal Guys White Sauce flavour profile should be. Scanning through multiple sites, white sauce is a combination of mayonnaise and yogurt. Those are fairly neutral in flavour, so I am not wrong for finding the white sauce devoid of all flavour. 

The portion sizes are massive, but for fast casual food, I found it incredibly expensive. I want to say with tax, the total came out to $18! For $18 I wanted to enjoy my food and finish it, but instead, I found myself pushing it around the container to avoid another bite. 

In summary, I was excited for Halal Guys but instead, I was duped and left feeling cheated and now shoot them angry looks whenever I pass by the Vancouver location. 


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