After reading Anam Javed’s piece ‘The Rise of the Mighty HSP’, I met up with a few TCK TOWN writers based in Melbourne. We decided to embark on the Mighty Halal Snack Pack Pilgrimage (HSP) for a life-changing experience of our own. Having never tasted the widely reviewed and documented HSP myself, I felt it un-Australian not to have experienced the dish that was, arguably, born in Australia. It’s not traditionally Turkish, Lebanese or Middle Eastern, however, it is loved and shared by all cultures here in Australia.
Approaching the store, a gathering of people patiently wait street side; perfection cannot be rushed. A hole-in-the-wall, it contains three men, who pleasantly greet all at the counter. After making our order we join the others in queue. Looking around, there is an array of ethnicities eagerly watching the orders as they are called out. No doubt, they will gather around their shared packs and feast in joint pleasure.
The aroma wafting from the store grips my stomach (and heart strings) as I watch mountain after mountain of glorious meat, cheese, chips, and sauce carried away from me. After what feels like an age, our number is finally called and we gleefully skip up (at least on the inside) to accept our personal mountain of hopes and dreams.
As the venue did not have any seating, we decided to amble down the road toward a park, however, overcome by the delicious smell drifting from the Styrofoam container, we then assessed the time it would take before we could consume this mess of gloriousness and settled on finding the next available street side bench. We noticed a plush bench located in the emerald-tiled entry of a coin laundry. After evaluating the possibility of being kicked out, we plonked ourselves down to eat.
Each delicate layer of the HSP was utterly magnificent for a first timer like me. The steaming potato chips, still crispy under the weight of the toppings, thin layers of soft juicy meat interlaced with melted cheese, and coated with the holy trinity of sauces became, together, a chemical reaction of magical proportions. It was over before we knew it and we sat together, reminiscing over the past half hour of gorging. The HSP brings people together, no politics, no racism, just pure joy shared by, and for, humanity.
It must have been serendipity as we third culture kids walked out of the laundry. Looking up we noticed the sign above the door that read ‘Nomads Laundry’. This experience was meant to be.