B, D, E at Seventh Ave.; E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
These days, there may be more halal carts than hot-dog stands, but you will recognize this one by its never-ending line. You will also know it by its signature bright-yellow plastic bags and employees’ T-shirts, which proclaim, in no uncertain terms, we are different. the best. delicious. This opinion is echoed on a fan-based Website (53rdand6th.com), in a Young Muslims of North America chat room, and especially by the polyglot mixture of cabbies and bridge-and-tunnel pleasure seekers who crowd the corner every night, turning it into an impromptu alfresco cookout. The stand has even made it onto Wikipedia, under the name “Chicken and Rice,” and gained a more tragic form of notoriety in the fall of 2006, when one customer stabbed another to death after a line-cutting scuffle. While no $6 lamb-and-chicken-combo platter is worth dying for, this one benefits from the constant turnover and the harmonic convergence of a hot red-chile sauce and a mysterious white one, the contents of which the Halal Guys crew cannot be sweet talked into revealing. An even bigger secret than the white-sauce recipe is the fact that HC and G operates a second cart across Sixth Avenue, on the southeast corner of 53rd Street, and even though it’s parked there until 5 a.m., it’s never cultivated the same devout following—proof, perhaps, of the herd mentality: The longer the line, the better it must be.