What is Halal? Explanation of typical items that cannot be eaten and Halal compliance that restaurants should work on.


The number of Muslim tourists visiting Japan has been increasing in recent years. For restaurants, it is essential to understand “Halal” in order to accept Muslim customers, whose religion clearly defines what they are not allowed to eat. Many restaurants may want to know basic information in order to promote ” food diversity” in their restaurants.

This article will introduce what restaurants can do about Halal compliance. In the unlikely event that they fail to comply, they will not only lose credibility, but could also run into trouble.

Let’s work on Halal compliance earlier than our rivals so that we can welcome the increasing number of Muslims who will be coming to Japan in the future.

What is Halal?


Halal , translated from Japanese, means “that which is permitted”. It is a concept that is valued by Muslims (commonly known as Muslims, or Muslimahs for women), who consider anything that is legal in their daily lives to be Halal.

On the other hand, what is unlawful is called haram, and is considered to be an act forbidden by God. Muslims judge everything in their lives, from food and clothing to everyday conduct, on the basis of whether it is “halal or haram”.

In order to avoid acting against God’s teachings, Muslims basically only choose restaurants that are Halal compliant. Therefore, restaurants that wish to welcome Muslims must understand and accommodate Halal food.

5 Things Muslims Can’t Eat


In general, if you serve food and service that avoids what is considered inedible (i.e., what is considered haram), you are less likely to be disrespectful to Muslims. To get started as a Halal restaurant, it is necessary to understand what Muslims cannot eat.

1. pork

Among the haram, pork is especially to be avoided. Not only pork itself, but also livestock that have eaten feed containing pork are prohibited. In addition, it is also important to note that products containing ingredients derived from pigs are also considered undesirable. For example, sausages made from pork skin and soups made from pork broth are considered haram.

Muslims must understand that eating pork is forbidden in Islam and must be thoroughly eliminated from the menu.

2. Alcohol

Inoculation with alcohol, which causes intoxication, is prohibited in Islam. Therefore, one must be careful not to suggest alcohol, including before or after meals.

It is also important to understand that there are individual differences in attitudes regarding alcohol. For example, in some cases, the use of alcohol as a seasoning in cooking is not a problem, while in other cases it is undesirable.

On the other hand, in many cases, hand sanitizing with alcohol is not a problem. The degree of responsiveness is required depending on how many Muslim guests you wish to welcome.

3. Meat that has not been properly processed

Meat other than pork that has not been processed as required by Islamic law is considered haram. Specifically, meat that has been processed without causing suffering from a live animal, such as by cutting the carotid artery at once, is meat that complies with Islamic law.

If the meat is subjected to knocking, which stuns the animal, it is not considered properly processed meat. Meat from animals that have died of natural causes or disease is also considered haram. According to the strict rules, meat that has been mixed with haram meat during transportation or display is not considered halal.

4. Blood

Blood itself is considered haram, so dishes such as the live blood of the tsuppon should not be served. In addition, dishes that have not been drained of blood themselves must also be avoided.

Furthermore, it is preferable to grill the cross section of meat well to avoid the association of blood with the cut. In these areas where individual differences arise, one measure is to actively ask about the degree of grilling.

5. Fish without scales (depending on the sect)

Fish is considered Halal, so there is no problem serving it. However, fish without scales are considered haram, and should be served with caution.

Fish without scales include eel and conger eel. Since there are some cases in which there is no problem depending on the religious denomination, it is necessary to determine to what extent halal compliance is required.

Food that is safe to eat is called Halal food.


Food that is not haram is called halal food, which is permitted by God to eat. In restaurants, it is important to know about Halal food that Muslims eat on a daily basis.

Items that fall under the category of Halal food include vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seafood, milk, eggs, etc. Many ingredients distributed in Japan can be used. However, one must be aware that the use of alcohol as an ingredient, which is considered halal, may fall under the category of haram.

It will be easier to decide what to serve if you have the idea that anything other than haram is acceptable to serve. In addition, utilizing vegan and vegetarian plant-based meats, which do not contain animal meat, will likely enrich the variety of menu items.

If you understand what Halal food is and can offer a unique menu, you can expect to differentiate yourself from other restaurants.
[Related Article] 5 Points Restaurants Should Know About Making Vegan Menu Items

Why restaurants should be Halal compliant


By making restaurants Halal compliant now, they can expect to increase their profits in the future. We will explain why restaurants should be Halal compliant in order to seize the opportunity of the times.

Because of the growing Muslim population

The Muslim population is on the rise and currently accounts for a quarter of the world’s population. It is also estimated that more than 200,000 Muslims currently live in Japan. As the number of inbound tourists is increasing, it is necessary to respond to the increasing demand for Halal in order to welcome more diverse customers.
[Related Articles] Simultaneously attracting inbound customers and promoting the SDGs! 10 “Food Diversity” Measures for Restaurants

To accommodate “food diversity”

In recent years, attention has focused on the importance of food diversity response” from the perspective of sustainability, respecting diverse food choices, and preparing and responding to the environment. Food Diversity is the literal translation of the term “food diversity. In common usage, it refers to the diversity of distinctive dietary habits and cuisines that exist in the world, based on food culture, religion, and other factors. In recent years, it tends to include not only background characteristics such as religion and culture, but also those based on health reasons and thinking.

In recent years, with the rise in global sustainability awareness, more and more people are expecting “freer food choices” from restaurants.
[Related Articles] What is food diversity?

To be able to differentiate from other stores

Halal compliance will help differentiate the company from competing restaurants. This is because Muslims, who cherish the teachings of God, will not, in principle, eat at restaurants that are not Halal compliant.

Halal food also has the background of attracting attention in New York and around the world as a new food trend. Halal Guys, a famous food cart (vendor) in New York City, is known for always having a long line of customers. The classic menu item, chicken over rice, is healthy and full of vegetables at a reasonable price, and is popular among both tourists and locals.

Because of the predictable increase in Muslim tourists

As the spread of the COVID-19 settles down, it is expected that the number of tourists will increase. Among them, Muslims, whose population is large, are likely to come to Japan, where inbound tourism is being developed.

In addition to tourists, visitors may also come for business purposes. When Turkish President Erdogan visited Japan for the G20, he announced that “he could not find a Halal-compliant restaurant and chose a low-price restaurant in a business hotel for his meal”.

When Muslims eat, they often choose restaurants based on whether they are Halal-compliant or not, which limits their choice of restaurants. The number of Halal-compliant restaurants in Japan is still small, and by making them Halal-compliant now, they are likely to be chosen by tourists and Muslim guests who come to Japan for business purposes.

Halal compliance to be addressed by restaurants


There may be cases where restaurants do not know where to start when it comes to Halal compliance. It is important for restaurants to take action as soon as possible, even if only one at a time, in order to ensure that Muslims can spend time in their restaurants without fear of being harassed by the Halal community.

Obtain Halal Certification

Halal certification is a system that allows a third-party organization to certify that a restaurant is Halal comp liant. By acquiring the certification mark, a restaurant can easily demonstrate to Muslims that it is Halal compliant.

It is estimated that there are more than 300 Halal certification organizations in the world. The criteria vary from agency to agency, but in general, the checklist includes whether or not the raw materials are Halal and whether or not they are stored properly.

In many other cases, the criteria is whether halal and haram are managed separately. If a restaurant successfully passes the screening, it can display a certification sticker at the entrance of the restaurant or publicize it on its website. Halal certification can be used as an indicator to help Muslims decide which stores to use, and will likely increase the number of stores that are chosen.

Make a menu list that shows Halal compliance.

Stating on the menu list that the food is Halal-compliant would make it easier for Muslim customers to order. Other methods include preparing a Halal-specific menu list and listing the ingredients in detail.

Another effective method is to provide a communication board that allows communication only by pointing. Muslims can feel comfortable ordering Halal menu items by simply using illustrations and text. It is important to pay attention to the menu list and let people know that the restaurant has an understanding of Halal.

Prepare Halal-specific utensils and tableware

Some Muslims feel uncomfortable without Halal-specific cooking utensils and tableware. This is because cooking other dishes in a pan in which pork, which is haram, is cooked, is also haram.

Furthermore, cooking utensils that have come in contact with Haram ingredients cannot be used as Halal, even if they are cleaned. They can be treated as Halal only after they have been purified in the manner prescribed by Islamic law. By separating cooking utensils and tableware based on the correct rules, the restaurant will be able to promote itself as a more authentic Halal-compliant restaurant.

Provide a dedicated space for Muslims.

Some Muslims do not want to see other customers consuming alcohol or eating pork. Therefore, creating a dedicated space or private room for Muslims would allow them to enjoy their meals in peace.

It would also be more accommodating to provide a space where people can pray. Muslims have time to pray five times a day, so restaurants with space for prayer are easy to use. Understanding the Muslim way of thinking and providing services that respect their customs will make the restaurants more likely to be used again and again.

It is important to understand what you cannot eat in Halal

Halal compliance is essential to attract Muslim tourists, who are expected to increase, to restaurants.

Since this custom is unfamiliar to many Japanese, it may seem difficult to deal with at first glance, but if we are aware of avoiding haram, which is an inedible food, we will be able to deal with it without trouble. Why not start with what you can do, such as providing a special menu list and preparing special cooking utensils?

The restaurant also has a Food Diversity (food diversity), we will be one step closer to creating a sustainable restaurant. By considering the provision of services that cater to a wider range of people, including Muslim customers, it is likely to help increase the sales of the restaurant.

[Related Article]


[Reference site] Yokkaichi City Hall
[Reference Site] Halal Japan Association
[Reference site] NPO Japan Halal Association
[Reference site] ASEAN-Japan Centre for International Organizations: HALAM = banned
[Reference site] ASEAN-Japan Centre for International Organizations: HALALAL = Halal Permitted
[Reference Site] Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism: What is Islam?
[Reference Site] Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA): “Muslim Society in Japan” Lecture at Tehran University by Iran Office staff” ( in Japanese)

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