The combo plateOkay, so awards shows have gotten out of hand. You’ve got the People’s Choice, the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, and now the Video Games Awards. Who really deserves props most? It’s that guy down on the street corner that you see every day, standing out in the freezing cold serving New Yorkers their food on the go. This November kicked off the Vendys, the new annual awards for New York City street vendors . Gothamist queued up on the sidewalk to try one of the finalists, The Best Halal, on 53rd St. and 6th Avenue.

The laden griddleThe Best Halal is like a carnival caravan that magically pulls up around 8pm, wafting lamb-scented smoke amid the skyscraper canyons of midtown, and then packs up and drives off just before sunrise. There are imitators, but you can’t mistake the cart—it’s the one on the southwest corner with the line down the block. Is it worth the wait? If your budget for dinner is $5, then most definitely yes. This gets you a foil container packed with chopped meat, yellow rice, warm pita triangles, and lettuce. It’s enough to feed a family of four, and it looked as if some people planned to do just that, taking it to go with a couple kids in tow.

White sauce and hot sauce are optional—ask for both. Despite the unappealing name, the white sauce is no bland gravy. It’s a fresh nutty tahini that tastes so creamy it might have a touch of lebneh-style yogurt mixed in. But the main event of course is the meat. You can either get lamb gyro, chicken, or a combination. The lamb tends to be too salty, so go for all chicken. This might be the closest approximation to real Southern-style barbeque that you can get in the city. The chicken fortuitously shares griddle space with lamb, picking up wonderful smoky flavor and lots of crispy bits as it’s chopped, turned, and chopped again.

Still have a hangup about ordering meat from a street stand? Consider this then: Halal means that the meat has been produced in a more careful (and humane) way. According to Muslim law, no hormones can be administered, the animals’ feed can be vegetarian only, and the animals must be slaughtered under personal supervision. (You’re safer eating here than at KFC.) And you can tell from the Zen-like workers at the stand that they also take this task seriously. So, next time you’re working late (or—Allah forbid—boozing it up), stop by Best Halal and you’ll be sure to be completely satisfied (and hangover-free).