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Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/13 13:50
I have been to Japan once but I have regret that I didn't try any Japanese food while I'm there. I'm planning to go again next year, thus, I would like to know whether Muslim can eat Okonomiyaki,Takoyaki,sushi and ramen there or not? If possible, please help me with the details of the ingredients used in each food. Thank you!
by Naive88 (guest)  

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/13 16:15
I hope other, more knowledgeable people can help answer this question, but I will try to give you some information to start.

Since I don't know much about Islamic Dietary Laws, I took a quick look at wikipedia for some information, so this is what I found. I will quote wikipedia then follow up with some food suggestions. Also, I don't know how strict you are, so please read the following carefully!

From the sentence, "Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is a prescribed method of ritual animal slaughter; it does not apply to most aquatic animals..."

I assume that means that fish and any sea animals are safe to eat. If this is true, then sushi, takoyaki, and many kinds of okonomiyaki are safe for you to eat.

Sushi is made of vinegared rice and various toppings. Usually the toppings are raw fish, but other kinds such as vegetables and cooked egg are also popular. Many kinds of sushi have a little wasabi (a spice made from a root plant) and are eaten with a bit of soy sauce.

Takoyaki are small pieces of octopus cooked in a round dough ball and usually topped with sauces. I'm not a big fan and don't eat this often, so I can't remember the name of the sauce, sorry!

Okonomiyaki, especially in okonomiyaki style restaurants, can be literally anything included, but I think the most common kind is a mix of egg, cabbage, and a few other ingredients with mayo and a sweet sauce on top. If you are wanting to try, there are many vegetarian kinds (I think most of them are, actually), so just be careful to choose one without meat!

As for ramen, many kinds contain meat (usually pork I think) both as a topping and sometimes in the broth. So that may not be so safe depending on how strict you are. At the very least, you can order the ramen without the meat topping, and if you get miso ramen the broth may be okay. However I'd be careful.

When it comes to any other meat, unless it is in a Muslim restaurant, it will not be halal. Wikipedia says, "The animal must be slaughtered by a Muslim or by one of the People of the Book, generally speaking, a Christian or a Jew, while mentioning the name of God (Allah in Arabic)". Since the majority of the population is Buddhist or Shinto or both, this is obviously not going to be the norm throughout the country except at special halal restaurants. So I think it is safe to say anything else with meat is bad.

Since it seems there are no restrictions whatsoever on vegetables, checking this sites many forum questions about vegetarian foods will also be helpful for what you can and cannot eat, but I can add a few more foods that I believe are safe:

Pickled veggies, which come in many many kinds, are made with vegetables and vinegar.

Natto, a Japanese food many love to hate, is fermented soy beans, and is vegetarian.

Noodles such as udon or soba as well as ramen as long as you are careful about the broth!

There are many fried, baked, or grilled fish dishes as well.

Tofu, especially plain or with a little soysauce, is also a-okay. Be careful of the dish containing tofu such as Mabodofu though, this often contains meat.

Anyway, I apologize if any of this information is incomplete or unhelpful, but I hope you find some things you can eat and have a wonderful trip to Japan!
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/13 16:26
Oops, just read up a bit further down the page and found,

"In addition to this, most observant Muslims refrain from consuming food products that contain pure vanilla extract or soy sauce if these food products contain alcohol; there is some debate about whether the prohibition extends to dishes in which the alcohol would be cooked off or if it would be practically impossible to consume enough of the food to become intoxicated."

If you follow this strictly, then soy sauce AND vinegar is forbidden since it is made with alcohol. Therefore, since sushi is made with vinegared rice, that is not good. Also, the pickled veggies can not be eaten either.

However, it does not stop you from making your own sushi without the vinegar rice or soy sauce! It might taste a bit different, but would be a good compromise!

Lastly, I believe it is possible that the okonomiyaki and takoyaki sauces also may have vinegar in them. If you eat them without sauce it should be okay.

Maybe the best thing to do before you eat anything you aren't sure about would be to ask at a Muslim restaurant in Tokyo or somewhere in Japan what kind of Japanese foods are safe for you just to be sure!
by scarreddragon rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/14 12:12
I would like to know whether Muslim can eat Okonomiyaki,Takoyaki,sushi and ramen there or not? If possible, please help me with the details of the ingredients used in each food.

It depends on how strictly you adhere to a halal diet. Here's a few things to consider:

Okonomiyaki:

Most of the menu is not halal, but okonomiyaki can be a good choice because you basically get to choose your ingredients. Stick to the more vegetarian offerings, and you may also want to avoid the sauce because some brands include chicken flavoring in them.

Takoyaki:

If you can eat octopus and soy sauce than it should be fine.

Sushi:

It depends on how strict you are about the consumption of vinegar. Donburi might be a good alternative if you don't eat vinegar.

Ramen:

I think you'll have to skip ramen, because virtually all ramen uses pork or chicken stock as a base for the soup. And it is extremely unlikely that a chicken based soup is halal.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/17 01:28
Holy shit, i'm muslim and i never heard about the vinegar, soy sauce and vanilla stuff xD
But if you like sea food japan will be great for you !
by Leto (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/19 17:19
I'm a Muslim and will be going to Japan soon to study for at least 6 months.

As far as I'm concern, it's kind of difficult to find halal Japanese food in Japan.

Please note that Muslims cannot consume alcohol, including in food. Since I'm a big fan of Japanese food in my country, I often find it difficult to make my own Japanese food, as the ingredients like shouyu/nitsume, dashi stock, etc contains alcohol. Some are mirin, or sake. I'm not an expert on this but this is what I understand so far.

Halal food is not just about whether the food is halal, but also how they handle the food. For udon/soba fans, you must be careful of the broth. It's best to avoid them at all! Some even used pork to make the broth, and pork is a big no-no for Muslims! Meat other than pork, just like the above mentioned points, must be handle according to the Islamic law. It's an obligation. No choice, but to leave the meat alone. :p

As far as I know, vinegar is halal in Islam but not sake/rice vinegar. In my country, which is a Muslim country, we use vinegar in a lot of food too. I think the best way to enjoy sushi etc without hesitation, is to properly & purposely ask for non-vinegar sushi (maybe saying that we are allergic!).
by Diyana rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2012/11/20 07:32
If the food is cooked, there is no more problem with alcohol no ?
by Leto (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 00:06
@scarreddragon

Thank you so much for replying in such detail.
Really appreciate it.
by ateeqimra rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 13:22
http://www.halalwashoku.com/
Japanese restaurant serves halal food.
http://www.yokohamajapan.com/things-to-do/muslim/shin-yokohama-raumen-...
halal ramen museum in Shin yokohama.
by AZ85 rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 13:59
I feel that apart from the certain taboo ingredients involved. The main issue would be the method of killing/preparation for various ingredients.

Chances are, if it is not Halal certified, the ingredients/food will not be halal at all. As mentioned by few other people, it really depends how strict you are with your Halal diet/practice. Best is still research online (eg. links by AZ85) which places serves halal certified food.
by vinces7 rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 14:39
On side note on alcohol, most Japanese cooking involves the use of Dashi, and in majority of this dashi there is normally Mirin involves in it.

And depending on what type of mirin, they usually have varying % of alcohol in them.

In fact, Mirin is used quite often in various foods in Japan, one example that you might have seen would be the Japanese Rolled eggs (Tamagoyaki), some recipes of this involved used of Mirin.
by vinces7 rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 15:35
If you are able to prepare your own food, you can buy export beef, lamb and goat through some quality supermarkets and foodhalls from either Australia and New Zealand, and rest assured this is all Halal slaughtered. Every export graded freezing works in these two countries employ Muslim slaughtermen who carry out the slaughtering process to the necessary standards for Muslim consumption.
by LoveJapan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 17:26
about alcohol:
okonomiyaki sauce and takoyaki sauce contain alcohol.
https://www.otafuku.co.jp/recipe.php/goods/show.html?id=120
yakiniku sauce, "tare" contains soy sauce and miso, may contain mirin(alcohol).
salad dressing sold at supermarkets contains alcohol.
http://www.seikatsu.city.nagoya.jp/test/shibai/ALCHOL.pdf

those results are derived from scientific analysis. I think nearly all food products of Japan contain in some extent of alcohol.
since the owners of halal restaurants in Japan are not scientists, I am sure that the dishes served at halal restaurants in Japan contains alcohol, even if it is very very low. Just they don't know the fact.

what is your goal, to have less alcohol, or NO ALCOHOL ?
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/27 17:39
I am sure that the dishes served at halal restaurants in Japan contains alcohol, even if it is very very low. Just they don't know the fact.

I'm not sure the science really matters. The question is more about what the OP considers permissible regarding the presence of alcohol in the food they eat. If the OP considers alcohol to be burned off in cooking then they should be ok with the items mentioned.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/28 07:43
I would say no to ramen as it tends to have broth that is pork-based and/or chicken-based.

Sushi- it depends. Some rice vinegar has a high content of alcohol so it is best to check but as a note all vinegar is distilled and fermented so there is always a trace of alcohol in all vinegar. Islam does allow a minute amount of alcohol in its consumption from 0.01% to 0.05% depending on how strict your upbringing is.

Okomiyaki- there are vegetarian options but the cooking/grilling is done in the same place with all other non-halal ingredients so again this is dependent on you.
by Bart (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/28 09:42
in my opinion, to topup above
- stick to restaurant that sells only tempuras/donburi (eg Tenya, HottoMotto,..).
- veggie pizza or something that involves only bake or grill as the utensils/oil are not mixed w/ other stuff.
- and if possible when you want to order, you may ask the waiter/waitress of the ingredient or ask for suggestion after you explain what you cant eat.

So far i find all the places are very helpful to answer my query and give suggestions (y)
by ejump0 rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/28 15:51
Do they have Jewish restaurants in Japan? isn't Halal similar to Kosher?
by Moses (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/29 21:39
You can find a few tokyo restaurants that sell Halal only meat.

Unless they sell pork dishes I think you are fine.
by Shintai rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/29 21:53
Some cafeterias in Universities operated by COOP serve halal foods. In general they are less expensive.

http://goo.gl/Nrnp5d
by frog1954 rate this post as useful

Re: Can Muslim eat Japanese food in Japan? 2014/10/30 03:55
found this article about restaurants in the kanto area which are halal certified or muslim friendly

http://www.tsunagujapan.com/must-try-halal-restaurants-in-the-tokyo-ar...
by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

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