April - June 2012, Other

Community offers culturally diverse taco stand

By Mohammed Haider

March 21, 2012

The Daily Cougar

Community offers culturally diverse taco stand

This beef fajita taco, topped off with a spicy Indian-Parkistani sauce was inspired by the diverse streets of Houston.

A person cannot drive anywhere in Houston without noticing a taco truck, but there is one taco truck that is slightly different.

Hamza Halal Taco is where South Asia meets Latin America, fusing two sides of the world.

The term “halal” is the Arabic word for lawful, the dietary law that identifies which meats are permitted for Muslims.

The truck usually sits at 3514 Hillcroft in the heart of the Mahatma Gandhi District. Owner Faiza Khatra, a Pakistani immigrant who moved to Houston three years ago, was the first to start a taco truck that served halal meat, catering to both the Muslim and Latino community.

“When I saw so much Mexican fast food here, my husband said we needed to start something too,” Khatra said.

“There wasn’t a single halal Mexican restaurant at the time and now we’re planning to open more. We will also start serving chicken bryani, thikkah and hot wings with Indian spices.”

I wanted to try out some of the common items first, so I decided to go with the traditional beef fajita taco.

The meat was grilled to perfection, which was not too chewy or over-cooked and was marinated with traditional Indian-Pakistani Masala spice. It was topped off with classic cheese; diced tomatoes and cilantro giving it a cool, minty touch at the end of every bite.

My friend got the Mexican-style shredded chicken soft taco garnished with cheese, diced tomatoes and sour cream and all stuffed into a warm chapatti, the Indian equivalent of a tortilla.

The best part was the green chutney sauce that was provided. Although I love traditional salsa, the green chutney is an amazing substitute that I have not seen anywhere else.

I was not completely full just yet, so my friend and I decided to share the ultimate burrito, which had juicy ground beef, melted white and yellow cheese, peppers, tomatoes and sour cream wrapped in a toasted chapatti.

The best part of it wall was our bill was only $6.

The owner was also kind of enough to give us a complimentary homemade pineapple beverage to wash down all those spices.

If you want fast and quality Mexican food with a South Asian kick, then Hamza Halal Taco is the perfect spot for a quick bite.

Hamza Halal Taco is located on Hillcroft, just 25 minutes away from campus making it accessible and affordable for UH students.