How To Eat Halal While Traveling: A Muslim Guide

While exploring the world is a privilege and a hobby for some people, one can also hit the road for other business purposes. For the Muslim ...

While exploring the world is a privilege and a hobby for some people, one can also hit the road for other business purposes. For the Muslim community, there's always one problem that worries them - Halal food!
No matter how much we enjoy traveling, there's always one thing that keeps us on our toes; will we be able to find Halal food? Whether exploring restaurants in a new city or stopping by a roadside kitchen, Muslims need to be certain about the ingredients and the process of making the food before consuming it.

In this article, guest contributor Dur-e-Sabih addresses this issue for you, so buckle up and bookmark this halal guide for a memorable trip.

What is meant by Halal food?
Islam is the religion of well-being; it promotes good health among its followers, which aids them in preaching and contributing to the welfare of society.

But what is Halal food? Any food that is termed permissible by Allah is called Halal food. According to Surah Al-Ma'idah in the Holy Quran:
''They ask you, O Prophet, what is permissible for them to eat. Say, ''What is good and lawful''.'' (Qur'an, 5:4)
Mainly alcohol, blood and pork (along with its by-products) are considered Haram (unlawful), among others. Examples include animal gelatine, rennet, certain diglycerides, emulsifiers or e-numbers. It's a lot to look out for.

Certain animals slaughtered in the most humane way are considered Halal for Muslims. These are guidelines set by Islam to ensure what is permissible to eat and what is not.

While one can keep these guidelines in mind while cooking at home, looking for food in a new state or city could be troublesome.

Halal Tips for Travelling
Beginning the trip, one should not forget to remember and praise the Almighty Allah and ask to make this journey easy for themselves. Recite a Du`aa' (supplication) for traveling a long distance and commence your ride with blessings.

Nonetheless, we have gathered some tips to make the journey easier when dining out.
  1. Halal Certified Restaurants: Without a doubt, this will be your priority. Look for a restaurant that has a halal certificate displayed around the restaurant. Remember - HMC vs HFA!; This is the easiest and safest option to get halal food. And many countries have developed a halal certifying alliance that looks for Islamic concerns about food.
  2. Muslim Owners: When you can't see a halal certificate somewhere, check if the owner is a Muslim, or Muslims run the food outlet; you can usually trust them with food. However, there are some instances where the workers are not entirely aware of the ingredients used. In such a case, you can ask for further details, if feasible. 
  3. Halal or Haram Restaurant: Um, a tricky but common situation. In many western countries, you may see a restaurant that promises halal food but also has haram cuisines on the menu (KFC, Mcdonald's, Subways). They will be using the same kitchen and utensils, probably, to cook halal and haram food. In this way, the spread of contamination is inevitable, and it violates the Islamic guidelines of Halal food. Therefore, it's time for a questionnaire!
    • Ask the chef if they have separate kitchens and utensils, and make sure they use halal ingredients, halal methods of food preparation, and pure meat.
    • It's pretty obvious but the purpose of this questionnaire is to get to know as much as possible about the restaurant; if you are satisfied and comfortable with their servings, feel free to dine in.
  4. Vegetarian or Sea Food: This seems like an easy option, right? Well, you might be wrong. While vegetables don't follow the same rules for halal/haram and seafood options depend on legal rulings, there is one drawback; the method of preparation.
    • Many restaurants prepare their food with alcohol. Yup, you heard it right; they include alcohol for flavouring and burning. Since alcohol is haram altogether, avoid this by kindly asking the owner if they can prepare your food without alcohol due to religious reasons. If they are Muslim-friendly restaurants, they will happily cater to halal options.
  5. Heading For a Bakery? Double-checking is the only way! We considered a strictly vegetarian food outlet safe, so why not bakeries? Unfortunately, there are haram methods in baked goods preparation too. It could involves wines, ales, ham, cheeses, lard in pastries. With that being said, it's better to double-check if they are halal certified before buying even a simple bread from them.
  6. Carry Your Own Snacks: It's a last resort but after finding none of the above avenues, and there is no further possibility of finding a nearby halal restaurant, your own snacks may come in handy. Ready-to-eat or instant noodles, a homemade sandwich for on-the-go or planning ahead by calling your local restaurants, are some of the options available.
Preparation Ahead of Travelling
These are a few steps you can take before hitting the road:
• Ask your friends and family if they know of any halal food outlets in the area. Places like Trip Advisor and Muslim friendly tourist sites offer these reviews - there are even some local halal food outlets you can't find on the internet.
• Do your research. Search for nearby halal restaurants to relieve the halal hunt operation.
• Look for the nearest masjid. You can get your answers there and might even find some fellow Muslims to show you around. Who wants to go around the neighborhood asking every restaurant if they're halal, right? Anyways, if the trip is short or sudden, you can always go for ready-to-eat lunches or fruits to keep you full during the travels, especially with Ramadan approaching really soon.

Despite everything, while we're on the topic of traveling, let's not forget about praising Allah Almighty. Islam is an easy-going religion; hence, one thing we ask our fellow Muslims to do while traveling is to recite Surah-Ikhlas.

As reported by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him); ''The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Surat Ikhlas is equivalent to one-third of the Qur'an." [Muslim].

This is the most convenient way of seeking the blessings of Allah during your journey; indeed, He will ease the problems you may face during your trip and bless you with a safe return.

Final Thoughts
We collected these tips to provide a safe eating experience and peace of mind while consuming food. Another option is preparing your own food whenever possible for carrying in the car or having the first meal when landing. Who else can keep Islamic values in mind better than yourself? I hope these tips help you so you can cherish a good travel memory. Safe travels!

Dur-e-Sabih provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. Her educational background in Accountancy helps her in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development, finance, and digital marketing. She writes for

Image + Shutterstock

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