Here’s an easy guide on finding halal food in non-muslim countries. With some planning & exploration, you can still enjoy local cuisine in halal options!
Are you planning to travel overseas but worried about finding halal food? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks to help you find halal food no matter where you go.
First things first, let’s talk about what halal food is. Halal food is food that is permissible according to Islamic law. This means that the food must be prepared and consumed in a certain way, and must not contain any ingredients that are considered haram (forbidden). Some examples of haram ingredients include pork, alcohol, and meat from animals that were not slaughtered in the correct way.
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Speaking With Locals And Learning How To Say ‘Halal’ In The Local Language
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how to find halal food when you’re travelling overseas. One of the best ways to find halal food is to talk to locals. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the locals! They’d probably be the best candidates to give you good recommendations on where to find halal food in town. For this, it would be incredibly handy to learn how to say “halal” in the local language. This can help you communicate with locals and find halal food more easily. Who knows, they might just lead you to a hole-in-the-wall type of hidden gem establishment beloved by locals.
Pro-tip: It also helps if you save a list of loosely translated local words that helps you to communicate your point across on looking for Halal food options or checking if they are Halal certified when you visit a restaurant or a street food stall looking for a quick bite.
YouTrip’s Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries: Find out more about what halal food is here
Ask Local Mosques Or Islamic Centres
Image credits: HalalZilla
Similar to speaking with locals, another great way to find halal food is to visit the local Mosque or Islamic Centre. The locals there can give you recommendations on where to find halal food in the area. Plus, it’s always exciting to get insights into the local culture, customs, and practices. Other than that, since mosques are often situated in neighbourhoods with a significant Muslim population, it’s likely that you’ll find Halal stalls and restaurants nearby.
P/S: If you are heading to Hong Kong, you can check out the Islamic Centre’s Canteen which serves halal Cantonese cuisine from breakfast through dinner. Do come early and avoid arriving after 2:30 PM for a better selection of dim sum, which finishes at 3 PM. It is known for being ‘the only place for halal Cantonese cuisine in town’.
Opening Hours: Daily, 10 AM – 8 PM daily
YouTrip’s Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries: Find out more about Islamic Centre Canteen here
Download Halal Food Apps
Image credits: Food Navigator
Planning is a crucial step before commencing your journey. It’s essential to conduct research on whether your destination has halal food or a significant Muslim population with a local mosque. Consider using halal food apps such as HalalTrip, Zabihah, and HalalGo to create a list of halal restaurants and grocers that you can easily reference, either on your phone or in a notebook.
There are also apps available for specific countries like if you’re going to Korea, there’s an app called Mufko that allows you to scan the barcodes of popular Korean snacks to identify if the item is halal. Similarly, in France, there’s a halal food checker app called Shukran. By preparing and conducting research beforehand, you can concentrate on enjoying your trip instead of worrying about finding your next halal meal.
Pro-tip: Download various apps before you travel so you are able to rely on an alternative app in case an app is down for maintenance.
YouTrip’s Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries: For more Muslim travel apps click here
Check Out Tourism Websites
Check out the tourism website of the country you’re heading to and see if they have a Muslim-friendly travel page providing halal food guides. A simple Google search showed that Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) had a website dedicated to Muslim travellers looking to indulge in local cuisines. Aside from Japan, the tourism boards of Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand are now catering to Muslim-friendly travel by offering guides on locating Halal food and prayer spots.
YouTrip’s Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries: For more on JNTO click here
Hit Up Convenience Stores & Supermarkets
Image credits: Vietnam Plus
Be sure to check out convenience stores and supermarkets wherever you are. They often stock a range of Halal-certified and vegetarian-friendly snacks and drinks which can be a mix of local and imported options.
Image credits: NUCB
Pro-tip: If you are heading to Japan, you may be interested in checking out some 7/11 stores! Some 7/11 convenience stores even provide halal lunch boxes and food options!
YouTrip’s Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries: For more Muslim-friendly Japanese convenience store snacks click here
Explore Social Media
With TikTok and Instagram, you can easily search for halal food in regions you’ve never been to. Simply typing ‘Halal food in Korea’ or whatever country you’re in, will allow you to find some other savvy travellers’ recommendations for delicious halal finds. Don’t forget to use hashtags like #halalfoodie, #halaltravel or #halal(region) to find more specific results. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, follow halal food influencers on social media like @asingaporeanabroad and @halalfoody.nl for more recommendations and tips.
Pro-tip: Create a folder and save up all the different food places you come across. You will find that the search algorithm will flood your page feed with Halal food options and places, making your job easier.
Don’t forget that you have the internet at your fingertips! So apart from social media, you can check local halal food websites or blogs from halal food travel influencers like Have Halal Will Travel.
YouTrip’s Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries: Check out Have Halal Will Travel here
Try Pescatarian, Vegan, And Vegetarian places
Image credits: BBC Good Food
If all else fails, you can probably try looking for seafood, vegan, or vegetarian options. It is a common misconception that vegan or vegetarian foods are halal but not necessarily so. it’s essential to check the ingredients of vegan or vegetarian food before consuming it, as it may still contain haram ingredients like alcohol. Most seafood is considered Halal. Occasionally, there will be small amounts of alcohol present in things like sauces, batters, or salad dressings; hence, remember to ask the establishment about the ingredients within the seafood, vegetarian, or vegan dish.
Avoid Processed Food
It’s generally a good idea to steer clear of processed foods as much as possible. They may contain unfamiliar ingredients that could make you hesitant to consume them. When in doubt, it’s best to avoid them altogether. By choosing halal and pure foods instead of processed ones, you can ensure both peace of mind and good health for your body. This is especially important when travelling, as it can be tough on your body. Opting for nutrient-rich foods rather than processed ones can help you stay healthy and energised.
Bring Your Own snacks!
Image credits: Dpulze
If you’re concerned about the availability of halal snacks during your trip, it’s advisable to bring your own snacks. These snacks are crucial during long journeys and help to stave off hunger. You can bring ready-to-eat snacks such as overnight oats, packaged nuts, dried fruits, pre-made sandwiches, and salads for convenience. You can also enhance the nutritional content of your snacks by adding herbs and a variety of seeds, such as chia, pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds.
Eat Your Hearts Out With This Guide To Finding Halal Food In Non-Muslim Countries!
Image credits: Restaurant Clicks
Finding halal food overseas may seem difficult but with a little research, a willingness to ask for help, and an open mind, you can enjoy the local cuisine while staying true to your beliefs. And while on the hunt for your next meal, remember to use your YouTrip card to cash in on our sweet wholesale exchange rates!
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Happy travels and bon appétit!