HFC and Shawarma Grill blends Bangladeshi, Iraqi recipes in West Rogers Park

Friday, September 6, 2019
Hungry Hound: HFC and Shawarma Grill
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A new restaurant in West Rogers Park is blending family traditions from both Bangladesh and Iraq onto one menu.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new restaurant in West Rogers Park is bringing together two cultures from one family. In this case, the family comes from both Bangladesh, as well as Iraq. Each side brings their own special recipes to the menu.

From the Bangladeshi side patrons can indulge in halal fried chicken, and from the Iraqi side you can grab a plate of beef and chicken shawarma.

The thing that links both of these items on the menu is a family-recipe for a special sauce that crosses over many borders.

Like a lot of family businesses, the one behind the new HFC and Shawarma Grill does everything together. However in this kitchen dividing the workload is made easier since there are two distinct cultures involved, and thus, two sides to the menu.

"It's me and my dad," said Rezwan Choudhury, of HFC & Shawarma Grill. "So my brother-in-law is originally from Iraq, which is why you have the mix of the two cultures. So we're from Bangladesh - so you've got the Bengali food - so the Halal fried chicken. And then the shawarma comes from his end, from Iraq."

In the marinade for the beef, there's turmeric, fresh garlic and ginger, plus oregano. Stacked and sliced to-order, the beef has a crispy edge but juicy interior. The chicken, meanwhile, is stacked daily and marinated in the same tumeric, garlic and ginger. It is then cooked methodically on a vertical spit. In either case, you can get the chicken or beef served over rice in a plate, or in a wrap. The wrap is first slathered with some mayo, then finely-chopped pickles and ultimately, the cooked beef or chicken pieces. Once folded up, the sandwich goes onto the griddle where it crisps-up for a few minutes on each side.

The sandwich is then sliced into four pieces to make it easier to dip into or douse with one of two sauces. You can choose from either a sesame-based tahini, or a fantastic yogurt-y mint-y sauce which provides a fresh kick from herbs and a mild dose of heat from chiles. The recipe for this green sauce has been in the family for many years, and naturally, they're reluctant to share all of the details.

"It's something that's been going on for generations that he learned from his father-in-law," Choudhury said.

In Steve's Extra Course Video, he takes a closer look at their Halal fried chicken.

HFC & Shawarma Grill

6242 N. California Ave.