A halal cafe is an informal restaurant or snack bar which serves food that has been prepared according to Islamic Law, also known as Shari’ah. Islamic dietary laws specify that only certain types of animals are acceptable for consumption and, further, that these animals must be slaughtered and prepared in a specific way. There is some debate over what constitutes a halal cafe or other dining establishment, with some arguing that it must be fully halal and others simply claiming it must offer one or more halal menu options. Those looking for a halal cafe in their area or in an unfamiliar locale may be able to find a variety of options by researching.
Like most cafes, a halal cafe is an eatery that serves items like sandwiches, desserts, tea, and coffee. The characteristic that differentiates halal establishments from non-halal ones, however, is the fact that the former serves halal foods. So, halal cafes offer menu options which conform to Shari’ah law.
Shari’ah forbids the consumption of certain types of animals, such as pork, reptiles, birds of prey, and vermin. Those animals which are acceptable for consumption must be slaughtered according to certain guidelines. Specifically, their throats must be quickly slashed with a sharp knife, and the slaughterer must invoke Allah’s name immediately before an animal is killed. Additionally, Shari’ah prohibits consumption of alcohol, blood, certain organs, and any food item which has been contaminated through contact with a forbidden substance.
Some argue that a cafe can qualify as halal simply if it offers one or more menu items which conform to Shari’ah. It is important to keep in mind, however, that foods lose their halal status if they come into contact with utensils or appliances which have been used to prepare non-halal items. For this reason, many claim that only cafes which do not serve any non-halal items can truly be considered halal.
Those looking for a halal cafe in their area may wish to consider searching the Internet. Advocates of halal dining in many locations around the world have created a number of searchable online databases containing lists and reviews of halal cafes, restaurants, butcher shops, and other food-related establishments. Such sites make it easy to find halal dining options in one’s own city as well as in unfamiliar places.