Warning: This is a food post sprinkled with a small amount politics and smothered in seriously good flavour.
When we arrived in Melbourne, worn out yet wired from the long journey it took to get to Australia from South Africa, my family graciously and considerately had nothing major planned for that day, except going out to eat an Aussie favourite.
The family told us we’d be going for Halal Snack Packs. Of course, being South African and unfamiliar with this meal, we needed to be brought up to speed about what this food that has become a popular part of Australian culture.
A senator called Pauline Hanson, leader of One Nation, basically doesn’t want Australia to be “Islamified”. One of the party’s key policies is to ban halal certification as Hanson believes it funds terrorism.
I’m a bit confused about the order of the happenings but a Labor politician called Sam Dastyari invited Hanson for a Halal Snack Pack. She promptly refused saying she isn’t “interested in halal”. Watch the video below.
She’s quite ridiculous, isn’t she?
Anyway now that you have a bit of background about why this food became popular, let me tell you what exactly it is.
At the base of it is chips, topped with cheese, then followed by slices of doner kebab meat (often a mix of chicken and lamb or beef) and then finally drizzled liberally with what is called a holy trinity of sauces (garlic, barbeque and chilli). Is it healthy? No. Is it delicious comfort food? YES. Will you want more? YES. Should you eat it daily? No, of course not. But enjoy things in moderation so don’t be hard on yourself if you have a not-so-good-for-you meal once in a while.
We had our first HSP (short for Halal Snack Pack) at a place called Kebabs @ Hoppers in an area called Hoppers Crossing somewhere in Melbourne. Like I said before it was super delicious and the overall service, experience, and taste of the food at Kebabs @ Hoppers was superb.
We had some other really tasty foods there besides the HSP, including mixed grill and Turkish dish called Iskender that was mouth-wateringly tasty. Each table is given Turkish bread – possibly the softest and most more-ish bread there is and some dips. We also had some tabbouleh and Greek salad – you know for balance and to lessen the guilt of the carby-meat-fest.
The place was packed with people ordering food, sitting in and eating, and people hovering over tables waiting to get one for their own group of hungry HSP-seekers.
I really must thank my family for treating us to this memorable feast on our first day in Melbourne.
It was so memorable in fact that I attempted my own homemade HSP. I of course don’t have doner kebab meat on the go all the time so I opted to use thinly sliced steak cooked in a pan with some onion and pepper.
All the other elements were the same, except for the fact that I only used 2 of the 3 sauces on top because I’d run out of chilli sauce. It still had a nice kick to it though because I used a good spice on the steak when I cooked it.
The feedback I had from the guests at dinner was all good positive so I’ll be making it again for sure. Just with added chilli sauce next time to complete the holy trinity at the top.