A halal snack pack, or HSP, is a dish consisting of halal-certified doner kebab meat (typically lamb or beef, but also chicken), chips, and one or more sauces, especially chili, garlic and barbecue. Yoghurt, cheese, jalapeño peppers, and hummus are common additions. It is traditionally served in a styrofoam container, and has been described as a staple dish of takeaway kebab shops in Australia. Some Australian restaurant menus refer to the dish as a "snack box" or "mixed plate", rather than as a "halal snack pack". The name of the dish was selected by the Macquarie Dictionary as the "People's choice Word of the Year" for 2016.
The halal snack pack dish originated in Australia as a culinary fusion of Middle-Eastern and European cuisine. By some accounts, snack packs have had a long history, originating more than 30 years ago. They have since become a quintessential Australian dish. However, variations or similar dishes exist in other countries; such include "doner meat and chips" in the United Kingdom, kapsalon ('barbershop') in The Netherlands and Belgium, "kebabtallrik" ('kebab plate') in Sweden, and "kebab ranskalaisilla" ('kebab with French fries') in Finland. In Adelaide, South Australia, the dish is known as "AB".
In late 2015, following the creation of the Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society, a subculture formed around the dish and has been suggested to bring cultures together. This led to wide coverage of the dish in the media, as well as a notable reference by Senator Sam Dastyari in Australian Parliament during a debate about halal certification which is credited as largely the reason for the increase in attention paid to this dish.
Health concerns have been raised, even flippantly, about halal snack packs' refined carbohydrate and saturated fat content, causing obesity and heart disease, among other conditions, such as cerebrovascular, metabolic and renal conditions and complications.
The Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society is a Facebook group established in December 2015 by Luke Eagles and Ryan Durrington and is the centre of halal snack pack subculture. The group had 16,000 members sign on in its first month. As of November 2016, the group has more than 183,000 members. Like the dish, the subculture within the group is a blend of Middle-Eastern and Western. Both Muslim and non-Muslim members use Islamic words in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, expressing approval of a snack pack by describing it as "halal" or disapproval by describing it as "haram". A member who requests tomato sauce or salad (e.g., lettuce or tabbouleh), with their snack pack is referred to as a "haram dingo", and the page states that such users should be banned.
One of the goals of the Facebook group is to identify the potential for the world's best halal snack pack. The group also raises funds to support the Australian Relief Organisation, an organisation that assists underprivileged people to attain cataract surgery and assists orphanages with matters regarding water supplies.
A typical post on the page involves a picture of a recently-purchased halal snack pack, along with an informal review that scores the dish on various criteria, including meat, chips and sauce quality, clarity of halal signage, packaging, price and greeting. Muslim and non-Muslim members, who refer to one another as "brother and sister", band together to oppose any anti-halal posts that appear on the page. The Australian Labor Party senator Sam Dastyari is a member of the Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society and has publicly stated support for halal products and certification.
Some kebab shops and restaurants have noted significantly increased sales after being reviewed on the group's Facebook page. For example, Metro One in the inner-west suburb of Ashfield in Sydney had revenue increases of over 75% after being featured on the site as making one of the best halal snack packs in the city.
In July 2016, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari invited the One Nation party leader, Pauline Hanson, out for a Halal Snack Pack following her victory of a senate seat in the Australian Federal Elections. She rejected his proposal saying, “It’s not happening, not interested in halal, thank you”. Hanson then elaborated by stating “I’m not interested in it. I don’t believe in halal certification,” and went on to claim that “98 per cent of Australians” opposed it. As a consequence, several Australian restaurants created a Pauline Hanson-inspired Halal Snack Pack. There has also been a GoFundMe campaign to turn Hanson's former fish and chip shop into a halal snack pack popup stand.
The AB in Adelaide is a very similar dish, which is prepared using gyro meat, chips, tomato sauce, chilli sauce, barbecue sauce, and garlic sauce. The dish is sometimes accompanied with alcoholic beverages. Two restaurants in Adelaide have claimed to have invented the dish: the North Adelaide Burger Bar (also known as the Red & White), which claims to have invented the AB between 1969 and 1972, and the Blue & White, which dates their claim to 1989. The AB may be consumed as a shared dish, with the meal being placed at the centre of a table. According to urban legend, the North Adelaide Burger Bar AB takes its name from one of two words: "afterbirth" or "abortion". Since a change of ownership, AB appears as Atomic Bomb on the North Adelaide Burger Bar menu.
Kapsalon is a Dutch food item consisting of fries, topped with döner or shawarma meat, grilled with a layer of Gouda cheese until melted, and then covered with a layer of dressed salad greens.
A munchy box is an inexpensive fast-food product sold from takeaway restaurants, primarily in the West of Scotland and Glasgow. It typically includes kebab meat, fried chicken, pizza, chicken tikka, onion rings, pakora, naan bread, garlic bread, coleslaw, and other fast foods and sauces.
HSP culture also has a Canadian cousin in poutine dishes. Poutine (french slang for "a mess") traditionally consists of fries, thin gravy and cheese curds, plus a variety of toppings from ground beef, sliced sausage, or doner meat like the HSP, to pizza sauce, bacon and maple syrup, even foie gras and truffles.Similar dishes