Ahhh, the HSP… We don’t expect newly arrived international students to know what this is – heck, some students who’ve been here for a while might not know. But once you try one for yourself, you’re not likely to go back. It’s the quintessential late-night meal for students looking for something fast and greasy (or for anyone looking to complement a night out with a midnight serving of chips and meat) and in Melbourne’s CBD, there’s certainly no shortage of HSP spots.
But the question remains – what the hell is a HSP?
The HSP is short for halal snack pack and is a Middle-Eastern fast food meal that’s popular with pretty popular for the late night crowd (looking at you, students!). The meal hardly counts as a snack (they’re usually served in large boxes) and is best shared with others (or on your own if you’re really looking to treat yourself.
A simple ‘dish’, the standard HSP usually consists of a combination of Halal-certified doner kebab meat (lamb, chicken or both – it’s your choice!), chips and an assortment of sauces (garlic, sweet chili and BBQ sauce is usually the default for most but other sauces are available too). Cheese can be added as well to really hold everything together.
In Australia, the HSP rose to prominence after Labor senator Sam Dastyari had invited anti-Islam supporter Senator Pauline Hanson for a celebratory HSP upon her electoral victory (needless to say, Senator Hanson swiftly declined).
Why is it so popular?
The HSP’s popularity and relevance among students can be explained by the following:
- Affordability: Ranging anywhere between $10AUD and $20AUD, the HSP can be seen as affordable when you consider just how much you’re really getting. If it’s enough to serve more than two people, we think it’s definitely affordable if you’re splitting the cost.
- Late-night service: The very fact that it opens late at night makes the HSP a prime choice for any one looking for some greasy power food to get them through a night of intense study. It’s also good for when you’re out with your mates after a solid night of drinking.
- Simplicity: Meat, chips and sauce. It’s literally all you need! This alone makes it the perfect snack to get late at night (you could probably make it yourself too).
Kebab shops are also open till late which makes this the perfect night time to-go snack. For those looking for a cheap, easy, greasy fill, HSPs are ideal.
Where to find a good HSP in the city
Every kebab stop you can think of in Melbourne, whether it’s tucked away in the suburbs or located on a freeway, will most definitely sell the HSP (and even if they don’t, a kebab itself is always good!). But since most international students reside in the city, we’ve got a few suggestions where you might like to visit for HSP if these locations are close to you:
- Ritz Kebab: Located on 200 Spencer St, this kebab spot is open until 3.00am. Perfect for students seeking an alternative fast-food option that doesn’t consist of Maccas, KFC or Hungry Jack’s.
- Southern Xross Kebabs: Also located on Spencer St is this kebab joint! If you’re looking to dine in, it’s got a solid atmosphere and what’s more, it’s easy to find given it’s located so closely to Southern Cross Station. Too lazy to go out though? These guys are on Uber Eats as well!
- Viva Kebabs: One of the more popular kebab spots in the city is Viva Kebabs. They tend to serve your food pretty quickly and generally, we found the meats here to not contain as much fat. The sauces were tasty too! Close to Flinders St Station, this kebab spot’s only draw back is that it closes at the early time of 8.30pm.
This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via email@example.com.