Halal snack pack named people’s choice word of 2016 by Macquarie Australian English Dictionary
Dictionary editor devours her first HSP to mark the occasion
By Emily Woods
It’s meaty, cheesy, and incredibly saucy, and it was the word on every Australian’s lips in 2016.
Last year was a momentous one for the Halal Snack Pack.
There were queues at kebab stands as its popularity skyrocketed, a HSP appreciation society was formed, and the greasy treat made its mark on Australian politics on election night when Labour senator Sam Dastyari offered to take Pauline Hanson out for a halal bite.
Finally the people have spoken. Halal snack pack (HSP), “a fast food comprising layers of hot chips, grated cheese, halal doner kebab meat, garlic sauce, barbecue sauce and chilli sauce”, has been named People’s Choice Word of the Year 2016 by Macquarie Dictionary.
“The significance of halal snack pack is that it tells us about something once confined largely to the Muslim community that is now surfacing throughout the broader Australian community,” the Macquarie committee said.
Macquarie Dictionary editor Susan Butler said she had devoured her first HSP in honour of the occasion.
“I think it is the duty of lexicographers to, as much as is humanly possible, eat the food items that they put in the dictionary,” she said.
“How can you write the definition of HSP with enthusiasm if you have never sampled it? So today I ate my first HSP.
“I can understand why this dish has become the fast food item of the day. It is carbo-loaded, calorific sinfulness. Once started on it, you cannot stop.”
At the height of its popularity, in July last year, Melbourne’s Viva Kebab shop had lines around the corner of people hankering for the dish.
Owner Cihan Parti’s said more than 400 HSPs were being sold there every day.
The runners up were the terms alt-right and fake news, which was announced last week as the Committee’s Choice Word of the Year 2016.
“Politics was big in the year that was, and so it is not unexpected that alt-right would be in second place,” Ms Butler said.
“The success of extreme right-wing political groups in the UK, the US, France, the Netherlands and Australia is unprecedented,”
“The popular vote went for food first of all, and then politics.”