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Davis, California

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Best Food Truck: Shah’s Halal Food

The truck’s consistency and customer service earned it 59.8% of students’ vote


By SONORA SLATER — features@theaggie.org


In a lot of ways, the college experience doesn’t fully live up to the romanticized vision we tend to mentally curate throughout middle and high school. Reality somehow seems to involve less love triangle-induced drama, more calculus and an unexpected degree of stress about whether or not a squirrel is going to run directly into the path of your bicycle. But at least in one way, the UC Davis experience meets and even exceeds adolescent dreams of collegiate dining decadence through on-campus food trucks. 

The joy of stepping out of a two-hour lecture and walking 10 feet away to order the craving of your choice from a small window and recognizing the person taking your order after months of semiregular visits, followed by a niche serotonin of carrying your meal the short distance to the Arboretum to sit on the lawn, people watch and revel in the feeling of your hunger being satiated is an experience that can only be provided by on-campus food trucks. And one of these rises above the rest; according to 59.8% of student voters in this year’s Best of Davis survey, Shah’s Halal Food deserves the title of Best Food Truck in Davis.

Shah’s is parked on campus next to the Silo five days a week and serves halal-certified Mediterranean food, including chicken, lamb and falafel platters and gyros. Bashir Yarzada, the manager of the truck, talked about why he believes their truck has won so many students’ hearts (and stomachs) over.

“We are always available to them,” Yarzada said. “Plus, we have good quality, non-fried food and good portion sizes.”

He went on to say that the truck’s top-selling item is its chicken over rice, noting that it serves between 12 and 13 buckets of rice a day. Many students love the truck specifically for its rice, according to Yarzada.

One student who had just received her order confirmed this claim, saying, “I come here for the rice!”

Yarzada, who has worked with Shah’s Halal Food since 2015, said that he especially likes the on-campus location of Shah’s because of the customer base. 

“There are a lot of students and a lot of educated people,” Yarzada said. “We don’t have problems with customer service because people are very nice to us; I really appreciate the customers for how kind they are, and we try to do our best for them.”

While he was talking, several ducks waddled up to the window and began to quack at the employee working at the time.

“See, even the ducks like it here!” Yarzada said with a laugh.

Written by: Sonora Slater — features@theaggie.org