I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a carnivore.

There’s nothing better to me than a medium-rare steak, seared just-so on a cast iron pan.

Despite this fact, I’ve spent too many years of my life substituting for vegetarian alternatives (hey, no hate to those who follow vegetarian diets!) out of no reason other than lack of access to halal meat.

Halal has always been important to my family.

I’m sure you’ve been there: searching desperately for any zabiha halal in the grocery stores, hoping you won’t need to drive the hour after your long work day to the halal butcher, only to find that the grocer just ran out and won’t you come again tomorrow?

Halal has always been important to my family.

As newlywed Muslim immigrants living in Japan, my parents would travel once a month to the one halal grocer in the region – a short five-hour drive. Meals would be rationed to preserve the meat throughout the month. When my family moved to the US, my parents continued our commitment to zabiha halal, because they saw it as a reminder of our faith and cultural identity.

But access to zabiha halal meat has never been easy – especially in the isolated areas where I grew up. Let’s be real, there’s nothing more draining than coming home after a long week of work, only to have to make another trek in search of groceries.

It got to a point where my friends often had to hear me ranting about just how real the struggle was (and if I was hungry, things were a bit worse. Sorry, y’all!). That is, until the day my best friend Amina found the perfect way to shut me up because she’d just started using this meat delivery company that actually sent her halal meat.

Skeptical? Duh. Curious? Of course. It was too good to be true – or so I thought.

It turns out it isn’t too good to be true.

Amina sent me the link the same day she told me about Boxed Halal, and, at my wit’s end with the amount of effort it takes to get my hands on meat, I decided to check it out.

Okay, I thought. This may actually work. The company talked about how it delivered zabiha halal meat anywhere in the US, so why not give it a chance? On the shop page, they listed all the available meat options. This was a relief– there’s nothing more stressful to me than standing at the halal counter trying to decide what I need for the week in less than a minute.

Let’s be real – the guy behind the counter is usually terrifying AF.

The Order

Taking a deep breath and a big leap into the online-food-ordering-unknown, I chose ground beef (a classic!), ground chicken (a luxury at my local halal store!), and chicken breasts (part of a recent obsession, don’t hate).

The Unboxing

I’ve never ordered meat online before, so I was eager to see how the shipping process would be.

(I say this as someone who’s literally ordered from H&M and never gotten their clothes because…New Hampshire.)

Just two days after ordering, the box of goodness arrived.

Before:

[Image description: Boxed Halal box on arrival, before it's opened.] Courtesy of author.
[Image description: Boxed Halal box on arrival, before it’s opened.] Courtesy of the author.

After:

[Image description: The meat and packaging inside the Boxed Halal package, after opening.] Courtesy of author.
[Image description: The meat and packaging inside the Boxed Halal package, after opening.] Courtesy of author.
Turns out that Boxed Halal packs the meats in vacuum-sealed bags, which are then packaged alongside ice packs. Even though there was some waste (reusing ice packs really aren’t my thing), the meat was fresh and cold.

The Cooking

I got cooking right away and started with some of my favorite food, butter chicken. It was the end of the workday, and I was not feeling the intensive process of making it from scratch, so I chopped up and cooked the chicken breast and topped it off with a ready-made butter chicken sauce.

You know, the authentic way. I served the dish with rice pilaf (yes, yes, the wrong type of rice, but cravings always win, okay?).

Butter chicken and rice pilaf sit on a white plate.
[Image description: Butter chicken and rice pilaf sit on a white plate.] Courtesy of the author.

The Taste

It was an immediate hit.

The chicken breast was completely tender and juicy, as though it had never been frozen. My mom, who usually is super picky, raved over it and was in shock to learn that it was mail-ordered meat.

The next day was a special day. Since I was at my family’s house and my brother (who has the appetite of five ordinary people) was coming over for dinner, I decided to go all out with the two remaining products.

The first dish I made was my family’s trademark Syrian dish, ma’lubeh (it’s often known as makloubeh, too). This dish uses rice with fried eggplants and our meat of choice. Typically, we use ground beef, but I decided to be daring and venture forth with the ground chicken. I browned the chicken and layered it carefully in the rice dish, sneaking only a few bites in the meantime. The ground chicken met all my health desires, with limited fat in the meat and a clean but subtle-y chicken taste. It was clear that this would be a winner for the ma’lubeh.

Quality of meat makes a huge difference for a dish like kofta, so I wanted to put Boxed Halal to the test.

While the ma’lubeh cooked, I started on the ground beef.

I’d decided to make kofta (meatballs), a dish I usually refuse to make due to the manual labor aspect (I’m a lazy cook, okay), but the ground beef seemed too good to pass up such a limited spice dish. Quality of meat makes a huge difference for a dish like kofta, so I wanted to put Boxed Halal to the test.

Into the slow cooker, it went, with some tomato puree.

Kofta in a pan.
[Image description: Kofta prepped and ready to go.] Courtesy of the author.
When mealtime came around, we were all excited to taste the outcomes of my late night endeavors. The first dish to be devoured was the ma’lubeh (no surprise there). The ground chicken was tender and complimented the flavor of the ma’lubeh.

However, the real winner, hands down, was the kofta. Boxed Halal’s ground beef is a match unlike that found in the local halal stores, and each bite had the perfect taste that comes only from high-quality meat.

The Verdict

Overall, Boxed Halal was everything I had previously only dreamed of. I used to think that eating halal was synonymous with making compromises – be that sacrificing extra time or quality. Boxed Halal has changed that for me.

As a young professional who hardly has time for sleep, nonetheless grocery shopping, Boxed Halal makes it easy for me to observe my zabiha halal diet from the comfort of my bed. Gone is the constant stress of having to drive to the halal store or being frustrated at the lower quality of meat that I’m provided with.

Gone is the constant stress of having to drive to the halal store.

Instead, I can now sign in quickly online and create an order for my week’s meat groceries, all without leaving my house.

Since my initial order, I’ve been spreading the gospel of Boxed Halal like nothing else.

I can’t seem to look back to the days of searching for halal on my own. If you’re over long trips looking for an alternative, consider this my official stamp of approval for Boxed Halal and all of their delicious meat offerings.

And let’s be real – there is no better timing for this than the next time you’re craving a good burger. What better time is there to try it than now?


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Huda Alawa

By Huda Alawa

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