The Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society, or HSPAS, is the ‘new kid’ on Facebook, yet it is one that has absolutely exploded onto the scene. This groups mission is simple: find and critique Halal Snack Packs. Never heard of a Halal Snack Pack? Well neither have most people. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s exciting. A HSP is a combination of meat, cheese, sauce and chips, served in a very specific way. The chips go on the bottom, with the meat on top, this is then covered by the cheese, and then topped with sauce (usually garlic and chilli with some variations).
True to the nature of the snack pack, the group critiques HSP’s in a specific way also despite the fact that the page admins say that there need not be any mandatory rating system. There are 7 criteria that must all be rated from 1-10, and then an overall score on the same scale. First things first, the signage. This includes languages, clarity, and whether it is a neon sign or not. Then comes the service. Although a pretty self-explanatory criterion, high scorers usually refer to their customers as “brother” or “sister.”
Then there is how good the packaging is, this does not necessarily mean how good it looks, in fact quite the opposite. A Styrofoam package that holds everything well scores much better than anything else. Next comes the score of the meat, possibly the most important part of the score. Taste, texture, quality of meat, this is what it all comes down to. The sauce and cheese are occasionally rated as one, this includes how much there is and how good it is. Finally comes the chips. As they are beneath the meat, they can go disastrously wrong. It is an art form to be able to keep the chips tasty and crunchy under the heat and locked in by Styrofoam, and this is what separates the boys from the men.
Each of these criteria are followed by a brief comment, letting other snack packer appreciators know exactly what to expect from each store. There is also always a picture so that people can see it for themselves.
This Facebook group is truly exceptional. Much like the stalker space, the people are kind and genuine, all working together to achieve one goal; to find the best places to get a Halal snack pack. Just shy of 100,000 members, the group has faced exponential growth, pouring on dozens of thousands of people within the last few months alone.
I spoke to Ryan Pancho to find out the appeal.
“Well it’s amazing to just find so many people all on a page for the one thing, finding food. Each time I open Facebook, I see one, and I just start to crave it. I wish there was a kebab shop closer to my place so I could go there more often.”
Once you are down with the lingo of the page, you feel at home, and I thoroughly recommend that anyone who loves kebab meat at all should join this group. It’s truly remarkable, and its available everywhere.
By James Wallace