and Halal Dining

Bassam Tariq is a Boing Boing guestblogger who is the co-author of 30 Mosques. A blog that celebrated the New York City mosques during the Islamic month of Ramadan. He lives in Harlem, New York.


If you live in New York City or any other major city, you may have seen a store sign scream "Halal Meat" or "Halal Certified." These signs are nothing but comfort for many Muslims who want meat that's prepared in accordance to the Islamic guidelines. The whole halal-making process is very similar to the kosher-making one. In fact, many Muslims, including myself, limit their meat consumption to only kosher and halal meat since they both fall under a similar rigorous certification.

So when I get tired of tuna sandwiches and want to get my halal grub on, where do I go? - it's really the authoritative guide to halal dining. It's a wiki-site created by the brilliant Shahed Amanullah back in 1999. Shahed meticulously typed in 200 restaurants himself, and now the site bolsters around 6,000 halal restaurants worldwide. Anyone can add their own restaurant and leave a review or two.

Anyone like to recommend their favorite halal eatery? Please do share!

Visit the site:


  1. @Gazzali, the Muslim population in New York City is said to be somewhere around 800,000. Close to 1 million.

  2. Gulzaar in San Jose, CA has some of the best food in town. The proprietor, Imam, is so genuinely nice and caring it will make you cry. Just looked them up on Zabihah to see they score a 4.9/5.

  3. “In fact, many Muslims, including myself, limit their meat consumption to only kosher and halal meat since they both fall under a similar rigorous certification.”

    I have ten years of experience as a kosher chef. The certification may be rigorous, but in the end it is all about money. I have seen the most disgusting meat you can imagine sold as kosher. All kosher really means it that the right people got their money. I personally do not buy any meat products that are certified kosher. I simply cannot trust them. I am friendly with a local farmer and help with the butchering in the fall. Even though there is no certificate or rabbi looking over our shoulder waiting for his pay, I know the meat, and I know that it is good.

  4. I’m a bit surprised. ~6,200 establishments(200 of those seeded by the founder) and ~32,000 comments is dead by the standards of a website catering to an interest as common as Halal food.

    The muslim population of the US alone is over 2 million, and the world population is huge(though obviously ones living in overwhelming muslim countries probably don’t need to bother with a website for the purpose).

    Are there multiple competitors in this space, or does internet penetration among muslims not measure up?

  5. >Anyone like to recommend their favorite halal eatery? Please do share!

    As a non-halal, non-religious person, I highly recommend “Cuisine of Pakistan” on 9th Ave. near Port Authority:

    Known as “the Pakistani place” by myself and (eventually) my poor taxi drivers, this is the place to get your post-drinking grub. I ask for a little of everything, and they’ve never failed to let me down. Make sure to get a Kashmir tea (with cream and almond slivers) and either onion or garlic naan. (If you need to pray to Allah, there is a place for you to do that here.)

  6. “Halal meat to introduce myself!”

    Didn’t like the joke?!? SARI!!

    I apologize, I live in a certain section of queens where all I see is halal meat places and sari shops. No one finds my antics amusing, so I figured I’d air them here.

    1. hahahah very good if not a bit corny anon…I had to read out lowd a few time in brit accent to get but made me chuckle thnx

  7. I think these posts would be far more interesting if the authors took it upon themselves to maybe say a little more about WHAT THEY THINK of the religious rules and customs they are writing about here. Why does the guest blogger think it worthwhile to follow gustatory advice from a book written fourteen centuries ago? What does he think of the rest of us kafir who eat at any old restaurant without regard to said rules? What does he think of his grandmother’s exhortation to eat on Eid by telling him the story about how ‘only the devil doesn’t eat on that day’? Surely it hasn’t escaped Mr. Tariq’s notice that his beliefs are in conflict with the beliefs and non-beliefs of a large proportion of his countrymen. It would be very worthwhile for him to take a moment to comment in his posts on how he, or indeed Muslims in the US in general, consider, ignore or otherwise regard the differences between his religion and the surrounding culture.

  8. In Dearborn Michigan there is a halal strip club. The sign is in Arabic, but there is no indication in English.

    I guess it doesn’t serve pork, and strip clubs in Michigan can’t serve alcohol.

  9. @ #6 Phishrow:

    Well, part of it is simple word of mouth. In the Chicago Muslim community people just know what places are Halal from their friends and family. Or in some areas, like the Muslim bit of Devon ave, all the businesses are Halal if they want to get any business.

    There’s a Hala KFC on the far north side here. Kind of blows my mind to think of anything coming from the Colonel being at all approved by the Divine.

  10. Halal is different things to different people.

    In one occasion I was visiting Manila with a Malaysian Muslim acquaintance.

    As anybody casually acquainted with Filipino cuisine knows, it is not remotely close to halal.

    So this chap was eating veggie sandwiches every day, so one day I found a restaurant claiming to be halal. I was delighted to be of any use to this chap, and after walking a longish way to get there, he refused to eat there. His explanation was that the restaurant was run by Pakistanis, and thus he could not trust they were doing Halal food properly (!?!?!?)

    Needless to say I let the little twat enjoying his salad sandwiches while I indulged in Filipino food for the rest of our stay there.

  11. Discussing halal slaughter on a web site for the general public requires more explanation than merely saying it is “prepared in accordance to the Islamic guidelines.” These are animals that are fully conscious when killed. The same is true for kosher meat. The animals can even be hoisted into the air by their hind legs where they thrash about in agony as they bleed to death. Understandably, most Muslim and Jewish supporters of this practice don’t want that to be widely known as it would disgust most people. Two thousand years ago they didn’t have the ability to stun animals into unconsciousness as they do today. Continuing to subject animals to such outrageous cruelty when it is unnecessary defies common sense. Even worse, halal and kosher meat can be sold to the public without being labeled as such. Fortunately, sites like YouTube make it easier to educate oneself and anyone who hasn’t witnessed it and can stomach the footage can start there.

  12. I don’t know, seems like hoisting an animal up by its hind legs is a good way to drain the blood out of it quickly. gravity is efficient.

  13. Yeah, I believe we’ve progressed in our ability to humanly kill animals over kosher or halal methods and so actively avoid it when possible.

    It does make me wish there were more details on the methods used for the killing animals to allow more informed choices.

  14. Kromekoran: it’s not quick, indeed it often takes them 15 minutes or more of thrashing before they die in this cruel and useless manner. I’ve visited and I had family members who worked in slaughterhouses that practiced both normal and halal killings: the tales are horrendous. It’s barbaric, period. As someone quoted earlier, it’s just a method for the right people to get the dough. And I guess before that it was a method to ensure that the proper authority would check that the animal wasn’t sick, but nowadays it’s just a rotten way to kill.

  15. Professor Wilhelm Schulze of the Hannover University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Germany, and his colleague Dr. Hazim, compared the response of the brain and heart during and immediately after ritual slaughter and slaughter with captive bolt stunning, a method widely used in many slaughterhouses.

    The results of electroencephalograph (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG) readings showed that Islamic ritual slaughtering caused a loss of consciousness before pain could be felt, while the captive bolt stunning caused severe pain to the animal before it lost consciousness.

    Dr. Temple Grandin, an expert on livestock handling facilities and a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, has witnessed ritual slaughter many times while inspecting and advising kosher slaughterhouses. She notes on her website: “When the cut is done correctly, the animal appears not to feel it. From an animal welfare standpoint, the major concern during ritual slaughter are the stressful and cruel methods of restraint (holding) that are used in some plants.”

    Read more:

    Also, in Islam, the animals are respected before the slaughter as well. The butcher is not allowed to show the animal the knife, so that it may not feel stress. Also, another animal should not hear or see the slaughter take place, so that they do not anticipate any slaughter with anxiety.

  16. “A study done by Professor Wilhelm Schulze et al. at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany, with electrodes surgically implanted on the skull of sheep and calves, concluded that “[t]he slaughter in the form of ritual cut is, if carried out properly, painless in sheep and calves according to the EEG recordings and the missing defensive actions.” The results were more favourable towards the ritual slaughter method, for which the “EEG zero line – as a certain sign of the expiration of cerebral cortex activity and according to today’s state of knowledge also of consciousness – occurred generally within considerably less time than during the slaughter method after captive bolt stunning.” (my bold)

  17. Wow never thought would show up on Boing Boing.
    It is very popular with Muslims out here in the Bay Area and is pretty much the go to place when you are trying to find a Halal place out to eat. Its most user entered info, so no one really verifies it but it works pretty well.
    They have also one of the better iPhone websites/App I have seen, and I remember them being one of the first iPhone-centric site. Right now they their iPhone site allows you check what is close to you using the built in GPS which is very slick.
    Some say the site looks “dead” due the low number of reviews, but, the halal movement in the US for Muslims is pretty new. For a long time it was hard to find proper Halal meat, much less restaurants that would serve it. So its a growing market, in the SF Bay Area within the last 10 years we have seen a large explosion of Halal restaurants.
    Hell even now its reported that Outback Steakhouse serves Halal lamb that it imports from Australia.
    While i see a lot of debate on the whole “cruelty” of Halal, something I am not going to get in to. But a larger debate on Halal for Muslims is what defines Halal, as their are doubts on suppliers, where does Beef derived products fall in to, what about machine slaughter chicken and etc etc. Their is some blogs trying to answer this, like which is ran by a local Mufti in the San Francsico Bay Area, but again his rules are again, just his own, and people can follow it or follows other scholars.

  18. Bassam – You must hear this all the time, but you don’t have to be Muslim to love 30 Mosques. The food pictures make me want to eat my computer screen.

  19. As a graduate student in Montreal, I live off Al-taib’s. I’m not Muslim, just frugal :) You really won’t find a better taste for your buck in the city.

  20. So, what would anyone suggest to a halal-eating newbie? I’ve been wanting to give it a try, for cross-cultural education as well as finding new & delicious stuff to eat. What is something good with goat in it? Does anyone know of a favorite Halal place in the south end of Seattle? And, do the proprietors of these places take kindly to non-Muslims? (I figure my money is as good as anyone else’s).
    One more thing: I have heard that butchering amimals in a way that instills fear in them causes adreneline to surge into thier muscles, thus tainting it, compared to offing them while they’re happily chewing thier cud, before they know what’s hit them. Any validity to that?

  21. Surely it hasn’t escaped Mr. Tariq’s notice that his beliefs are in conflict with the beliefs and non-beliefs of a large proportion of his countrymen. It would be very worthwhile for him to take a moment to comment in his posts on how he, or indeed Muslims in the US in general, consider, ignore or otherwise regard the differences between his religion and the surrounding culture.

    Why on earth should he explain himself for doing something differently than “the surrounding culture?” Never mind that he and other Muslims are a part of American culture. By that logic you’d be hard pressed to say who isn’t in “conflict with the beliefs of a large proportion of [their] countrymen.” Vegetarians, people who like jazz, people who voted for McGovern in ’72, freegans, single-payer health care advocates, homosexuals, Yankees fans…

    Besides, I don’t know much about Mr. Tariq, but if he’s smart enough to be guest-blogging here, he’s probably smart enough to know that neither he nor anyone else can speak for “Muslims in the US in general.”

    It’s America. At least in theory, at least on paper, people are allowed to do their thing and celebrate their culture in their own ways, without having to justify it.

  22. @#20 & #21

    Professor Wilhelm Schulze’s studys was undertaken in the 70s and has generally not been reproduced.

    The British Farm Animal Welfare Council (An independent body started by the Gov to investigate animal welfare) investigated the method of Halal killing in 2003 and determined that it was far more inhumane and cruel than other available methods.

    I’m fine with following the evidence towards the most humane method of animal slaughter, regardless of what that method is, because my concern is for the animal.

    I am worried however that ideological beliefs (both for and against halal) might cloud that pursuit of truth. I’m not sure one example of that might be the support for a 31 year old study that supports your beliefs rather than a more modern extended study that does not.

    I can’t believe that Halal is the *perfect* way to kill an animal (or that any method we currently know is either) and so shuttign the door to progress by assuming it is bothers me greatly.

    1. Skeptobot,

      Since you didn’t link to any evidence, I’m going to assume that it doesn’t exist and your argument is invalid. Feel free to prove me wrong.

  23. FtheChef @#7:

    Why do you call it “the Pakistani place” when the name’s as simple as “Cuisine of Pakistan”? It can’t be difficulty in pronouncing the foreign words in the actual name, can it? I think even (most) Americans can pronounce “cuisine” even if they don’t actually speak French.

    “…they’ve never failed to let me down.”

    So you recommend them, do you? ;-)

  24. So, ehhhmmmm…
    Who’ll be making an internet-site that recommends the best places to get a bacon-wrapped porkchop in the muslim countries?

    … It’d be an easy job!

  25. #29 Antinous

    the evidence for the comment made by skeptobot can be found at FAWC’s website under the ‘reports’ section, PB number 8347.
    direct link
    (paragraph 195 sums it up)

    in addition dr Wilhelm Schulze, in regard to his experiments carried out between 1974-78, stated “these initial scientific findings and the results presented are only a very first contribution” and that they “need to be followed as a high priority by further investigations.

    I can find no follow-up investigations to his initial findings, but they should be reproduced by a second independent authority in order to be verified as scientific.

    until then, I for one will support the findings of the FAWC

  26. ok, so some new studies have come in fairly recently. new scientist magazine ran the article on a study carried out by Craig Johnson of Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand who presented his results this october (2009) in london.
    animals slaughtered in the halal fashion DO feel more pain than the captive bolt method.
    the article can be found here:

  27. There is no real halal certification board in NYC. They are trying to create an independent committee though. The issue of restaurant owners deaming their food halal when sometimes it is not – happens here all the time. I just take people’s word for it.

Comments are closed.