Choose Between Two Options
- $11 for $20 worth of halal Middle Eastern cuisine
- $20 for $40 worth of halal Middle Eastern cuisine for a table of four or more
Halal Food: Muslims’ Stamp of Approval
Many Middle Eastern eateries feature halal food, that is to say, food prepared according to Islamic law. Read Groupon’s guide to understand this crucial designation.
Just as the term kosher applies to foods acceptable within Jewish law, halal simply refers to food deemed “lawful or permitted” according to the Islamic faith. Most food items are considered halal, with a few crucial exceptions, namely pork, alcohol, the meat of carnivorous animals, and blood. These nonpermitted items are called haram, meaning “unlawful or prohibited,” and count among them any food slaughtered in a nonhalal manner or contaminated with any haram ingredient.
Not all foods fit so easily into the halal or haram categories, however. Many additives in processed food, such as gelatins, emulsifiers, and flavoring agents, don’t list their origin, and those from animal sources may not specify the species from which they derive. That uncertain category of items, called mashbooh, also extends to vitamins, cosmetics, cleansers, and medicines, often making it difficult for people who live halal to confidently purchase certain items or submit to certain vaccines. To help with the uncertainty, many organizations worldwide can legally certify food products as halal, such as IFANCA, the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, which is recognized by the USDA. And the number of halal foods appears to be growing. In 2009, Time magazine reported that halal foods accounted for $632 billion per year and comprised 16% of the world’s total food sales, just behind caramel-covered brussels sprouts.