While big cities are often culinary hubs representative of different food cultures, food habits and religions, Tokyo unfortunately lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to food diversity.
However, in recent years, food choices are expanding in Japan. There is growing demand for halal food, especially among the increasing Muslim population, which is reflective in the expanding number of Muslim-friendly and halal restaurants in Tokyo.
In this article, I would like to introduce some Muslim-friendly and halal restaurants in Tokyo that I recommend, whether you are a Muslim resident or visitor, dining with Muslim friends, or just want to try halal food in Japan for yourself.
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Halal Wagyu Yakiniku PANGA
Yakiniku Panga (焼肉ぱんが 新御徒町本店) is a Japan Halal Foundation-certified yakiniku restaurant in Tokyo. It’s located in Okachimachi and it can be easily accessed from Ueno and Okachimachi stations.
There’s no prayer room in the restaurant, but Okachimachi Mosque is less than a four-minute walk from the restaurant, so you can enjoy your lunch after praying without any worries.
In Japan, it is not easy to find halal-certified meat for all the parts of wagyu, or Japanese beef, needed for yakiniku. At this restaurant, they only use beef from Japanese black cattle they have bought themselves, and entrust the slaughtering to Muslim suppliers to guarantee its halal status. All cuts of beef are available and served as their special Satsuma beef with quality and taste in mind, attracting many wagyu fans, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
During lunch, you can order a yakiniku set meal for the reasonable price of around 800-1,000 yen. There are several types of yakiniku, and you have the option to order a large portion. Together with the beef, namul (seasoned Korean vegetables used commonly in Korean cooking), kimchi, salad and rice are also served, making it very good value for money.
A wide selection of dishes from the grand menu is also available, although it is more expensive than the lunch set menu. I’d recommend this if you are visiting the restaurant with more than one person.
Ramen Honolu Ebisu
Honolu is a halal ramen restaurant in Tokyo. They use only a limited number of special Islamic ingredients to ensure that their halal ramen is safe for Muslims to eat and adhere to regulations set by Japan’s Halal Certification.
Halal Ramen Honolu Ebisu (ラーメン帆のる 恵比寿店) is located on the right hand side of the moving walkway heading towards Yebisu Garden Place at JR Ebisu Station. If you want to find a halal chicken ramen restaurant in Tokyo, this is the place to go.
The restaurant itself is small and not a place for groups, but it is a place where you can easily eat alone at the counter. If you are with more than one person, you can eat your ramen upstairs at the tables. Upstairs, there is also a curtained-off place for worship, which is an attractive feature of the restaurant for those looking to pray before or after their meal.
The restaurant’s special rich chicken ramen is a popular choice, but customers with a taste for spicy food should also try the spicy ramen. My personal recommendation is the ramen with fried chicken. It gives you an opportunity to taste karaage (Japanese fried chicken), which is a famous Japanese dish seasoned to go well with rice.
If you’re hungry, the halal gyoza is also an appetizing side dish. Soft with its signature crispy bottom, they go perfectly with the ramen.
Malay Asian Cuisine
Malaysian cuisine is becoming increasingly popular among Japanese people. One of the reasons for this is that many Malaysian dishes are based on rice or noodles, which generally goes well with Japanese people’s tastes.
This halal Malaysian restaurant, simply called Malay Asian Cuisine (マレーアジアンクイジーン) is located about a seven-minute walk from Shibuya Station, one of the most popular tourist areas in Tokyo. The interior is stylish and full of Malaysian flags and pictures. It’ll make you feel as if you are in Malaysia.
My recommendation is to try their nasi goreng (fried rice), the soul food of Malaysia. The saltiness is perfect and goes very well with the vegetables served on the plate. It is good for those who like rice-based meals as well as those who have never had Malaysian food before. They also have a delicious Malaysian curry noodle called mi kari which has a nice spice to it.
Aliya (アリヤ清真美食 池袋店) is an authentic halal Chinese restaurant located at the north exit of JR Ikebukuro Station, where there is a large concentration of Chinese restaurants and businesses, which has led to the area being nicknamed “China without a passport”.
In front of the entrance of the restaurant at the top of the stairs, there is a ‘Muslim Friendly Certification Summary’, which shows not only Muslim customers but also non-Muslim customers what the Muslim-friendly menu is.
The interior of the restaurant is decorated in a way that evokes Islam and Chinese Muslim culture, with even the menu written in Chinese. When you open the menu, you will find a wide range of halal dishes along with familiar ones such as green pepper paste, fried rice and bean curd.
The lunch menu, available during lunch hours, is particularly good value. You can order a main dish for lunch and then pick up a drink, rice, soup, side dish or dessert as you like. As for the buffet menu, it is placed on a table in the middle of the restaurant, from where customers can freely choose what they want to eat.
It is also possible to order from the grand menu as well as the lunch menu. I recommend the halal shumai (dumplings) which are delicious and full of flavor.
BINDI is an Indian Muslim-friendly restaurant located in Shiodome that uses only the finest ingredients, including over twenty different spices.
The restaurant is located in a bustling office area and is often busy at lunchtime. The restaurant is not only halal-friendly, but also offers a vegetarian menu, making it a flexible restaurant for those with a variety of dietary requirements.
I recommend the lunchtime set menu. Along with a delicious curry and large naan, you can also order a drink. The mango lassi is highly recommended. You can also choose a set menu with sides such as tandoori chicken, which will satisfy your lunchtime hunger.
Have you visited any halal restaurants in Tokyo? Which one is your favorite?
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Nur Arisa Maryam is a Japanese Muslimah born and raised in Tokyo. A student of Islamic Studies, she shares information about her lifestyle as a Muslimah and Islam in Japan online.