5 Halal-Friendly Restaurants In Tokyo
Where to Go for Permissable Food and Japanese Variations
Tokyo expects to welcome a good number of Muslim tourists from all over the world for the 2020 Olympics, in addition to the thousands who have permanently made their home here. With that in mind, some restaurants are making the effort to cater to those with dietary restrictions or who can consume only halal food. Here are five places in the capital worth trying out.
Japan takes great pride in its commitment to providing quality food that’s tasty, healthy and superbly presented — and that’s exactly why it seems mottainai (wasteful) when it can’t be fully enjoyed by people with food restrictions and special needs. The good news is that more and more restaurants are making efforts to cater to those people. In this article, we’ll focus on some halal-friendly eateries in the city.
What is halal food?
First thing’s first. Though we’ve all heard of halal food, do we actually know what it is? And what it looks like? Maybe not exactly.
In Arabic, halal, literally means “permitted” and therefore, halal food is food approved for followers of the Muslim faith to eat or drink. For food to be halal certified, it cannot include blood, alcohol, meat or any products from a “forbidden” animal (including pigs and any carnivorous animals or birds of prey) or meat or any products of an animal which has not been slaughtered in the correct manner in the name of Allah. In order to correspond to the above-mentioned rules, the following restaurants use specially processed food that is certified as halal.
So where do you go if you want to eat halal? Here’s a list of several must-try, halal-friendly places in Tokyo that offer both authentic halal food and Japanese halal fusion .
Japan’s first-ever halal-certified karaoke restaurant is Manekineko in Shinjuku. Located just a minute’s walk from JR Yotsuya station, this restaurant has over 40 halal-friendly items on its menu, including ramen, French fries, yakisoba and fried chicken — all certified by the Malaysia Halal Corporation (MHC). The most popular of all is ramen and you can choose from three different flavors: salt, miso or shoyu (soy sauce). The restaurant also has an attached prayer room.
Address: 3-1 Samoncho, Shinjuku-ku
Business hours: 9 a.m.-6 a.m.
Sekai Café, Oshiage
Have you ever been asked to book a restaurant in the city for a group of vegetarian or Muslim friends — or both? Not the easiest task. Though not all food offered here is halal-certified, Sekai Café Oshiage, located a 2-minute walk from Tokyo Skytree, has some options with halal meat and without pork and alcohol, as well as some vegetarian food. This café attempts to create a place where people from all over the world can eat together regardless of religion, beliefs and allergies. The English-speaking staff, free WiFi and power sockets available at every seat make this cozy venue the ultimate tourist’s paradise for those with diet restrictions.
Address: 2-16-8 Narihira, Sumida-ku
Business hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
If you want to try some traditional Japanese meals, Yoshiya in Shinjuku is one of the few places in Tokyo that serves true halal-certified washoku. Headquartered in Kyoto, the Yoshiya Tokyo branch is located in the restaurant area on B1 floor of Shinjuku Nishiguchi station (TOEI Oedo line). Though the halal-certified menu is limited to only three meals, they use a fridge specially dedicated to keeping halal food. The most popular menu item here is the Asian-style, marinated spicy karaage (fried chicken) palte with vegetables on rice. Unlike regular karaage, it does not use any alcohol-containing ingredients such as mirin (sweet rice wine) or vinegar. English menus and English-speaking staff are also available.
Address: 1-1-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Business hours: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sumiyakiya, Nishi Azabu
You can’t really enjoy Japan if you don’t try yakiniku (grilled meat). Located a 6-minute walk from Roppongi station, Sumiyakiya is a perfect place to drop by or take friends during a Tokyo sightseeing trip if you’re craving good-quality meat — and a true Japanese barbecue experience. It’s also the restaurant that welcomed the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohamad, during one of his visits to Japan — so worry not.
With a vision to create a yakiniku restaurant that serves people with diverse backgrounds, Sumiyakiya chefs and managers met with various butchers and suppliers to make sure that the source and preparation process of their meat is halal certified. The chef has developed a variety of menus for Japanese guests as well, so anyone is welcome here. Alcohol is served upon request.
Address: 3-2-16, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku
Business hours: 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
With over 500 Muslim visitors every month, Hanasakaji-san is the most popular halal-certified shabu shabu (thinly sliced meat, boiled quickly and dipped in sauce) restaurant in Tokyo. Using halal Miyazaki beef supplied through MHC, all ingredients in the four luxurious shabu shabu courses are 100 percent halal-certified. Located right outside Shibuya station, Hanasakaji-san is the first washoku restaurant in Japan that was certified as a “local halal restaurant,” combining halal and authentic Japanese food. Here, you really do get the best of both worlds.
Address: B1 3-22 Sakura Building, Sakuragaoka, Shibuya-ku
Business hours: 11:30 a.m.-midnight.
Have we missed anything? What’s your favorite halal restaurant in and around Tokyo? Let us know in the comments!