Halal Platter: food with a smile, large portions


The Halal Platter food truck sits in the Student Services Plaza waiting for customers. Taken by Ariana Powell, March 28.

A bright-red truck marks the spot on Chico State’s campus for anyone looking for large portions and friendly service. The Halal Platter food truck, located at the Student Services Center Plaza, stands prepped for service five days a week, rain or shine.

The truck setup shop on campus for the first time at the beginning of the 2023 spring semester. Three proteins: chicken, lamb and falafel blanket fries and rice, are featured in gyros and tikka on their 12-dish menu. All dishes come mild or spicy, consumers’ choice.

The prices may seem steep — some being over $10 — but are worth it. Most items could easily feed two people. While the dishes are simple and composed of few ingredients, all pack a savory and filling flavor, and are always served warm.

Fries sit on-top of a bed of rice covered in white and red sauces.
Halal Platter’s mixed super fries dish. Taken by Ariana Powell, Feb. 27.

Their mixed super fries, lamb and chicken drizzled with sauce over fries and rice, is one of their three fry-centered dishes. The other two being lamb and chicken super fries.

The savory flavor of the lamb in the dish greatly overpowers that of the chicken, but pairs nicely with the sauces. The sauces saturate the undercooked and limp fries, causing them to burst with flavor. The occasional crispy fry does add some much-needed texture to the dish. 

Fries are supposed to be the star of the dish, indicated by the name, but they are probably the component that is the least abundant. The amount of meat and rice greatly outnumbers the fries.

The bed of rice — hidden under the massive amount of meat and fries — is easily missable for those only picking through the toppings. In this dish rice is similar to a canvas, necessary, but hidden.

Lamb sits in one half of the paper container, lettuce in the other, all on-top of a bed of rice.
Halal Platter’s lamb over rice dish. Taken by Ariana Powell, Feb. 23.

The protein in the lamb over rice dish contradicts that of the super fries. The lamb’s flavor is subtle and tender, and encourages the red and white sauces to become the stars. The dish comes packed with lamb, lettuce, sauces and rice.

The mild sauce, as indicated, is not overly spicy and has a nice flavor, and especially stands out against the lettuce. The crunchiness of the lettuce and the slight chewiness of the rice combines to create an interesting and engaging texture.

The sauces that encompass the entire dish brings out individual, savory flavors, but fall short of creating a cohesive eating experience. The flavors mingle well, but are not fully integrated. After being mixed together the dish components meld better, but this may be tricky to do if you’re a student trying to grab a bite in-between classes or meetings.

If the separate components had more time to marinate with the sauce, that could’ve helped enhance the flavor profile.

Four falafel balls covered in white and red sauces sit on-top of rice and next to lettuce.
Halal Platter’s falafel over rice dish. Taken by Ariana Powell, Feb. 23.

The same can be said for the lamb over rice’s falafel counterpart. The four falafel balls were heavily cracked and dry, the insides dense and heavily seasoned, but had a subtle flavor that pairs well with the sauces.

Four falafel balls sit on-top of rice and lettuce, covered in white and red sauces.
Halal Platter’s falafel tikka. Taken by Ariana Powell, Feb. 23.

The same for the falafel tikka. Due to the falafel balls’ large size they don’t mix well with the rest of the dish. They’re easier to eat by themselves, followed by the rest of the dish.

Lamb sits on-top of rice and next to lettuce.
Halal Platter’s lamb tikka. Taken by Ariana Powell, Feb. 23.

In contrast, the lamb tikka mixes well together. Just as in the lamb over rice, the meat has a very subtle taste and texture that brings out the sauces. There did seem to be far more lettuce than rice or meat in the dish, however.

Halal Platter's gyro sits inside two sheets of tin foil.
Halal Platter’s chicken gyro. Taken by Ariana Powell, Feb. 27.

The chicken gyro is one of five chicken-based dishes. For this meal you will definitely need the napkins that come with the double-foil-wrapped gyro as the sauces succulently drip out. A large amount of lettuce sits on top of spice-saturated chicken that stimulates the palate in more ways than one.

The level of spice, mild or otherwise, is not overpowering, but instead heightens the savory aftertaste of the chicken, which is abundant. The slight chewiness of the pita bread pairs nicely, texture-wise, with the lettuce.

Though the messiness may make it harder to walk and eat, this is by far the best dish.

Halal Platter also serves pita for $2, and drinks for $1.50.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected].