New York City is filled with carts selling all sorts of food, but the most common ones are the halal carts. They each have their own recipes, but all have the same basic signature dishes: chicken or lamb, over rice or in a pita, with optional "white sauce" and "hot sauce." The lamb is generally gyro meat, but the chicken is something unique... chunks of white and dark meat marinated in a rich, flavorful blend of generically middle eastern spices, sauteed and chopped up. The rice is usually either a bright yellow or an even brighter orange.
I'm wondering how I might make this at home: what spices might I put on the chicken? What's the white sauce? What's the hot sauce? What's in the rice? I'm usually good at figuring out spices, so I'd expect to find the flavor of cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and the like, but I can't make out a single distinct flavor in the delicious blends used at most of these carts! The only hint I have is the whole cardamom pods I've occasionally bitten into.
(I've tried asking, but the vendors invariably lose their understanding of the english language at precisely this moment :)