EXPLORING SEOUL : PLACES TO EAT + FINDING HALAL FOOD // SEOUL SEARCHING 2016

Being a Muslim, there are food restrictions that I have to follow. I can consume just about any food other than pork and alcohol. As for meat, the animal has to be slaughtered by the name of my God in the manner that has been laid out by the religion, which we have to follow. If you’re not familiar with halal food, I’m sure you can find eye-opening articles (and some controversial ones too) about it online. If you are familiar with halal food or you are concerned about halal food, then I might be able to help you, if you let me.

This might be a bit controversial but I don’t believe in putting restrictions upon myself, in terms of food or anything else, that would definitely make it difficult for me to live. Now, finding halal food is already extremely difficult being in a country where the population of Muslims is less than 1% of its entire nation. So, I think it’s up to us, to make the decisions for ourselves and decide just how strict we want to be towards ourselves. If you want completely pork-free restaurants, that’s your choice. If you prefer halal certified restaurants, again, that’s completely your choice.

However, I choose to restrict myself to eating only halal meat and seafood based dishes, regardless of whether the restaurant serves pork or not. Obviously, if I was in Malaysia or any other Muslim majority countries, I would prefer completely halal certified restaurants. But when I’m in countries where it’s difficult to find actual halal food, I allow myself to be less restrictive towards myself.

Koreans are mostly meat-eaters and they really love their meat, especially pork. Almost 85% of the restaurants in Seoul, serve pork and there’s no way to go around it. I’ve actually tried restricting myself to non-pork serving restaurants and it took 2 hours to find a restaurant within that restriction, which led me to basically giving up and eating at a pork serving restaurant anyway. There are restaurants that don’t serve pork, that serve halal meat and are even halal certified by their local Islamic council but they’re mostly based in Itaewon. Commuting to Itaewon every day is not an easy and cheap task, especially if you’re heading towards areas that are located across the Han River. So, that’s my justification as to why I don’t restrict myself the way that I would normally do when I’m in a Muslim majority country.

Again, this is completely opinion-based so if you do not agree, feel free to go ahead and do things your way.

Now, for the best part, here are some restaurants that I would love to recommend to you guys :

1. Juk-iyagi @ Konkuk University Station, Exit 4 (pork-free)

 

2. Yoogane, Myeongdong

 

3. Insadong Geujip @ Insadong

 

4. Nipong Naepong @ Anam 

 

5. Eid Muslim Restaurant @ Itaewon (halal-certified)

 

6. The Beastro @ Hongdae

 

7. Butterfingers @ Gangnam

 

8. Ma Bok Rim Tteokbokki @ Sindang

I hope this post has clarified a few things you might have been curious about. If you have any other concerns, feel free to ask me on Twitter.

Talk again soon,
Hani Lutfi

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