Halal eats: 10 Muslim-friendly restaurants in Tokyo
MUSLIMS who enjoy traveling to places out of their comfort zone, such as destinations that aren’t traditionally Muslim-friendly, may find it a challenge to find halal-certified or Muslim-friendly restaurants.
More often than not, Muslim travelers resort to bringing their own food from home (bread, instant noodles, savory snacks) because pickings for halal meals are slim. And that’s neither fun nor any way to travel.
Fortunately, popular Asian destinations have started adopting the trend of halal food due to the increase of Muslim travelers to said places. In particular, non-Muslim countries like Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and China, just to name a few.
To get the halal eats series started, from halal yakiniku to Muslim-friendly sushi, here are a couple of halal corresponding restaurants in Tokyo.
Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka
Japanese ramen soup can be made from chicken, seafood-based dashi broth, or tonkotsu (pork bone). To play it absolutely safe, head over to this ramen eatery in Shinjuku, which has received a halal certification from the Otsuka Mosque, and does not offer any alcohol on the menu. Their ramen is made with sea bream soup, and they even offer vegan ramen. While you’re at it, go ahead and enjoy the ochazuke, where you eat the remaining broth of your ramen with a bowl of rice.
Address: 1 Chome-11-7 Shinjuku.
Here’s another ramen restaurant worth visiting. Just like Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka, Naritaya visitors can also order their ramen via the vending machine just outside the establishment’s entrance. Operated by a noodle factory, the restaurant serves fresh ramen noodles in chicken-based broth. Just remember to toss in the chilli paste provided. Naritaya prides itself in being a true, halal certified restaurant as the entire menu contains no pork or alcohol, and there’s even a room reserved for prayer on the second floor.
Address: 2 Chome-7-13 Asakusa, Taito.
Nobody leaves Japan without trying a bit of sushi because it’s a must-have Japanese food for any traveler. Muslims, included since they can now have halal sushi. Sushi Ken is the first halal sushi restaurant in Japan, with an English menu and English-speaking staff. “The sushi sets were delicious and the portions are big,” reads a review on TripAdvisor. It looks like a traditional Japanese restaurant, complete with a dining space with tatami mats on the floor so you can have an authentic dining experience.
Address: 2-11-4, Asakusa, Taitō-ku.
Halal shabu shabu hot pot, it exists! Shabu Shabu is a traditional Japanese dish where you run thinly sliced beef through lightly flavored boiling water and then eat it with a special sauce. The thick sesame sauce pictured here matches well with the beef. Located right by the Shibuya station, Hanasaka Ji-san serves up halal certified Wagyu beef from Miyazai prefecture, and you can also savor the Japanese beef steak. It is said that more than 1,000 Muslim travelers flock the restaurant every year.
Address: Shibuya Sakuragaoka, 3-22 Sakura Building B1.
Soba is the Japanese name for buckwheat and refers to thin noodles made from buckwheat flour or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours. The noodles are usually served chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth. It’s easy to make and has good nutritional properties such as thiamine (vitamin B1), which can help prevent beriberi, and all eight essential amino acids. Slurp some up at Yoshitomoan, a restaurant near Shinjuku that serves Muslim-friendly soba.
Address: 10 Nandomachi, Shinjuku-ku
Hankering for a hearty, halal meal after a day out in Tokyo? Gyū-mon is a halal certified yakiniku barbecue restaurant. Visitors will be able to enjoy dishes made by a Muslim chef in an old-fashioned Japanese restaurant atmosphere. It’s also reassuring that they have English menus, so you will know exactly what you’re ordering. However, do call them at +81 3-5469-2911 to make a reservation at least two days in advance if you require a halal-friendly menu.
Address: Shibuya 3-14-5.
Manekineko is one of Japan’s largest major karaoke chains with more than 500 outlets nationwide, and also the country’s first ever halal-certified karaoke restaurant. The restaurant has over 40 halal-friendly items on its menu, including ramen, french fries, yakidoba, and fried chicken, and the items have all been certified by the Malaysia Halal Corporation (MHC). What’s even more fantastic is that there’s even a prayer room inside, which is extremely convenient for those who intend to spend a couple of hours belting out their favorite tunes.
Address: samonchou 3-1 Samon Eleven Biru 2F, Shinjuku-ku.
Malay Asian Cuisine
Missing home? There’s a Malaysian restaurant in Shibuya that’s run by a Muslim Malaysian chef. Malay Asian Cuisine offers traditional halal Malaysian dishes such as mee goreng, kangkung belacan, otak-otak, laksa, nasi goreng kampung, roti canai, nasi lemak, and satay, among others. The staff is also able to offer assistance in English, Malay, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
Address: Sanwa Aoyama Bld. 2F, 2-9-9 Shibuya.
Treat yourself to a nice, piping hot bowl of beef udon, a type of thick wheat flour noodle, before jetting off. Kineyamugimaru at Level 5 of Narita Airport Terminal 1 serves one of the nicest and most reasonably-priced homemade udon. The restaurant serves a variety of udon soup noodles, an assortment of tempura, and onigiri rice balls. The best part about Kineyamugimaru’s firm, springy noodles is that it’s halal-certified.
Address: Narita Airport, Terminal 1 Central Building 5th floor.
Kaiseiki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner prepared so skillfully that it’s an art form. The work of perfectionist chefs, only fresh seasonal ingredients are used in preparation. Finished dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished with flowers and leaves, and presented on plates that are handpicked to enhance both the appearance and the seasonal theme of the meal. Muslim travelers can get a dose of kaiseiki at Minokichi, but do plan ahead as a reservation for a halal meal must be placed five days prior.
Address: Spice Ikebukuro Tobu 15F, 1-1-25, Nishiikebukuro, Toshima-ku