Australia is a diverse country that reflects the variety of cultures well in the food. There are "pockets" of Restaurants and Cafes that have established themselves as go to places within most cities and towns.
Chinatown exists within most cities of Australia. Here you can capture the cuisine food experienced from Asian continents. Whether you are looking for szechuan or ginger fish or chilli mud crab. Taking a short Uber trip down to the local Chinatown precinct will see you served quality food (hint just follow the long lines at some restaurants)
Greek Outlets are scattered across most cities. They often establish themselves in small groups of 2 - 5 Restaurants and Cafes. The opportunity to eat a traditional Greek Meal, Gyros for example, is always easily complemented with traditional Greek Deserts from the next door Cafe. Melbourne has the largest Greek Community within Australia and this is reflected with some fine places to enjoy the food located along Lonsdale St (Stalactites & Tsindos).
Modern Australian Foods like the Asian and Greek outlets have established themselves well in trendy Cafe Precincts that burst out with colours to match the flavours fused into the dishes served. Some great examples of this style of Restaurant and Cafe can be found in Sydney - Take a short drive to Darling St in Balmain or Enmore Rd in Newtown. They are also well established in Melbourne, St Kilda comes to mind.
The point is that as pockets of Restaurants and Cafes establish a reputation for Culinary delights it becomes increasingly harder for some cultural needs to be met. In the case of the Muslim Traveler it is always tricky trying to find a suitable place to eat. With a key consideration being whether a Restaurant or Cafe is Halal Compliant.
So when a diner stops and asks the Restaurant staff "Are you Halal?" they are only asking a simple question to identify whether that Restaurant or Cafe is suitable to eat at. This is no different to being asked "Do you cook with Peanut Oil?" or "Do you cook with MSG?".
As more diners become empowered to ask those sort of questions the Restaurants respond to market demand and make adjustments in order to secure the dining dollar of the discerning traveler.
There are very few online directories within Australia that make every effort to identify the Halal Status of the Restaurant or Cafe. One that does this well is www.halalfood.com.au with a Halal Rating System it identifies four Categories
1. Halal Certified
2. Halal Friendly
There is a clear difference between Halal Certified, Halal Friendly, Mushbooh ( مشبوه ) and Haram Food. Some outlets exist in a curious cross-section within these classifications.
www.halalfood.com.au is a leading Australian directory that works at making information available to the diner requiring Halal Food. This is achieved with a Rating and Review System that complements Halal Certifications. It also takes steps to review and monitor Halal Status of Restaurants and Cafes to ensure that the diner is kept up to date on suitability to their own dining needs.
Many existing Food Directories are happy to accept listings and classifications based on the responses made at the time of registration by the Restaurant and Cafe. Often not assessing, qualifying or monitoring Halal Status.
So consider for example
A Restaurant has a dynamic, mouth watering, well priced Menu with a great range of dishes being available to the eager diner passing by. But lets consider the following:
1. They source the Beef or Lamb or Goat from a Halal Certified provider even showing a Halal Certificate from the provider.
2. They prepare the Meals in a common area of the kitchen. Sharing preparation and cooking utensils
3. They use Gelatine in the deserts (but not quite sure whether it is beef or seafood or vegetable based)
4. There is Alcohol service in the restaurant and they do have some aspects of the menu using Alcohol or Vinegars (Salad Dressings).
When you take all this on board it is not Halal Certified, it is not Halal Friendly it is Mushbooh. That is to say its Halal Status of food is questionable.
Now that a Restaurant is Mushbooh...does this mean that a Muslim Traveller will not eat there? No. It just means the diner should be aware that there is a risk of Haram ingredients contaminating the meal and decide whether that is acceptable for them. Some will choose not to dine, others, will choose to dine. It is the choice they have.
As always we encourage diners when they are unsure to ask. Ask if MSG, ask if Peanuts are used or just ask "Are you Halal?". You will be surprised to learn that more places are becoming available for the needs of Muslim Diners... but that is a story for another time.....
Halal Restaurants and Cafes in Australia
Article to be released soon. Its being proof read at the moment.
Halal Friendly Restaurants and Cafes in Australi.
Article to be released soon. Its being proof read at the moment