For this lazy Thursday, am suddenly craving for a tasty serving of shrimp biryani at Ghazal, the best little hole-on-the-wall for Middle Eastern food in my book, even better than Shawarma Center. Don’t expect anything fancy, the resto is an affair of eight or so tables in the busy thoroughfare that is Mabini St. in Manila, a walking distance from the Hyatt Hotel. What you can find here: various kinds of biryani and tikka, kebabs, lassi and other home-cooked specialties that escape me now. In this place, I go to the extremes and slather my hot rice with butter… it’s really good!
Ghazal just happens to be one of a few restaurants in the city serving authentic halal food. There is certainly much demand for places offering halal food… but the question is, where to go?
For purposes of this discussion, halal means food that’s permissible to consume by Muslims and non-pork eating people. They shouldn’t contain pork or pork-related products (such as lard) and must have gone through the proper slaughtering process.
Luckily, I have Facebook friend Fahim to show us. There happens to be a useful guide being distributed to students of Asia’s top management school AIM which should come in handy for expats and Muslim tourists to the country looking for genuine halal food. Here it goes:
Assad’s CafÃ© – Pakistani joint serving decent Indian and Pakistani fare. Value for money. Meals cost P400 for two. U.N. Avenue, opposite Unilever, Paco, Manila. Telephone No. 5261349, 5265034
Ghazal – Muslim-owned eatery. 1551 A. Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila
Halal Caterer to Indonesian & Brunei embassies (Gerry) – serves/caters halal meals on daily basis on request; separate cutting boards, knives & utensils for halal meal preparation. Charges Peso 40 delivery charge per dinner, if less than 5 orders. Cebu Financial Services, Rolex Building, Paseo De Roxas (next to AIM)
Hossein’s Persian Kebab – Meals for two cost an average of P1,000. Original branch at 7857 Makati Avenue, Makati (Telephone no. 890-6137) Can also be found in Serendra.
Jakarta Inn & Restaurant – Serving mainly Indonesian specialties. 2082 F. Benitez St. near cor. San Andres, Malate, Manila. Tel. No. 521-4116
Jerusalem – two branches, in Malate and Makati Avenue.
Kashmir – Indian fine dining restaurant. Branches in Padre Faura St., Malate, Manila and Pasay Road, Makati City (tel. no. 8444924)
Makati Cinema Square – Filipino Halal cuisine. Owner speaks on Tagalog when contacted by phone. They also have a Musalla next door.
Manita Caterers – Serves halal Lunch & dinner on all weekdays at AIM pool side. Also undertakes catering of Indian food and snacks on request. Mobile No. 09189235696
Moud’s Chicken Halal – located just a stone’s throw away from the Golden Mosque in Quiapo. This district also has a number of other halal restaurants. 827 Globo de Oro Street, Quiapo, Manila. Tel. No. 488-5006
New Delhi Restaurant- Only the lamb is Halal, not the chicken. 1418 President Quirino Avenue, South Superhighway Paco, Manila. Tel. No. 5629160
Prince of Jaipur – Owner says he procures the lamb in Australia for the shawarma, not sure if this is halal. Branches in the Mall of Asia and Unit -E, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig ( Tel. No. 8841692-94)
Queen’s Restaurant, Jupiter St., Makati City – halal on prior request only.
Swagat Indian Restaurant – 119 FCC Building, Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. Telephone No. 7525669.
Shawarma Snack Center – A place famous for their shawarmas, priced between P48 to P70. Rice dishes also available. 485B R. Salas Street, Ermita, Manila
The Curry Leaf – Can be contacted at 776-3084 or 0915-7704433.
Claims to be certified Halal by Imams and also the Philippines Halal Fatwa Council.
Chicken Bacolod (different from Bacolod Chicken Inasal) – eat at your own risk; the chicken cannot be confirmed as halal, although the owner is Muslim
Ziggurat – cozy resto serving African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern & Indian cuisine. Sunette Tower, Durban Street corner Makati Avenue, Barangay Poblacion, Makati. Tel. No. 8975179
The anonymous guide ends with a note on “international chains misunderstood to be halal in the Philippines:”
KFC – KFC Philippines use pork lard to fry its chicken and patties. This has been confirmed by very good sources.
McDonalds – McDonald’s in the Philippines is NOT halal. Although they have started using vegetable oil for the past two years to fry their patties, the meat is still not halal. However, the fillet-o-fish burger may be consumed.
Pizza Hut – not halal in the Philippines, not sure even about the oil being used for veggie pizzas