Seven spots in the capital of South Korea for a delicious halal meal
WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS: ROXANNE BAMBOAT
With its bright neon lights, historic structures and obsession with skincare and beauty products, Seoul is an exciting city to visit, and food is one of the main reasons why.
Korean cuisine is a mix of delectable street food, sizzling Korean barbeque eaten family-style, and bowls of rice and vegetables mixed with the signature gochujang chilli paste. In addition to local fare, Seoul offers a number of international cuisines too, making it a haven for food lovers.
Now repositioning itself as a food paradise for Muslim travellers as well, South Korea in general, and Seoul in particular, has a surprisingly large number of halal-certified restaurants, and a great way to discover them is through the Halal Restaurant Week Korea 2018. “Halal” refers to what is permissible according to Muslim law with regard to food and drink, including abstinence from pork, a particular way the meat is butchered, but also extending to the ingredients used in sauces and mixes. The initiative is in its third year and these halal-friendly restaurants serve Indian, Turkish, Korean, Japanese and even Middle Eastern cuisine, and most offer fixed set meals alongside their regular menus, which make for a hearty lunch or dinner, and which can be easily shared by two and, sometimes, even three people.
Halal Restaurant Week Korea is on till October 14, 2018
Eat Korean at Makan
Located in the popular Itaewon neighbourhood, Makan is a cosy restaurant just a stone’s throw away from Seoul’s Central Mosque. It’s a traditional Korean restaurant that is halal certified and serves up to seven different Korean preparations cooked to halal specifications. The bulgogi bibimbap is a great way to sample two iconic dishes and comes with tiny accompaniments.
Try Korean temple fare at Maji
This Muslim-friendly restaurant serves healthy traditional Korean temple food. No spices or artificial flavourings are permitted, and the dishes focus on fresh vegetarian produce excluding dairy, garlic, onions or chives. The restaurant feels like a traditional Korean teahouse, and, as a bonus, the lady at the counter speaks fluent English and can guide you through the dishes.