The Halal Food Guide To Tokyo
Saima-Sensei has been part of the Biancissimo crew for for a couple of years now. Since she’s originally from one of my favorite cities, Glasgow, and lives in one of my favorite cities, Tokyo, she became the perfect way for me to escape my Berlin life sometimes to get a little bit of the Tokyo vibe, even if it’s just via dm‘s and real ass correspondence.
Earlier this year the German - Scottish all star team finally met up deep down in Neo Tokyo to run the streets together with some of our friends from London and Manchester. Saima helped us drunk but lovely idiots and saved our lives a few times.
Since Saima only eats halal food which is not that easy to find in Tokyo I asked her to contribute her personal guide to Biancissimo. This guide is for my Halal family and even for some of my vegetarian friends. I am more than happy to have Saima finally on Biancissimo and always with me when I am in Tokyo, Glasgow or somewhere else where we can use modern and offline communications to stay in contact. Arigatou Saima.
The Halal Food Guide To Tokyo
“Are you eating okay?”
“What’s the food like?”
“Can you get *our* food there?”
“Is it all fish?`
“Any halal places?”
5 questions that were regularly asked when I moved to Tokyo, truth be told my only experience of Japanese food was in the UK until I went in April 2016 for a holiday and discovered the countless dishes in Japanese culture. But wait, due to my dietary requirements eating halal Japanese food was another story altogether. In a city of 26 million it should be easy. Right? Come and let me be your halal pal.
Ramen, a staple dish in Japan and if you have read Adrian’s guide he LOVES ramen but his version is haram so I found a place in the back streets of Nishi-Shinjuku. On arrival there is a queue, add your name to the list and wait and wait and wait, there is only 9 seats so be prepared as this place is popular with non-Muslims due the different taste of the ramen. There are only 3 ramen dishes, chicken, spicy chicken and beef. A set menu that consists of a chicken dumpling so soft that it melts in your mouth with the flavour of ginger coming through. Then you will receive your (very big bowl) of ramen, your toppings are served on a side dish so it is your own choice of how you wish to slurp up this ramen and a cup of hot green tea. Boxes of tissue are placed on the counter to wipe off that spice sweat.
“So fish isn’t eaten all the time?”
Yakiniku is an indoors BBQ restaurant which is something Scotland could really benefit from, located in a back alley in the streets of Shibuya you will smell the charcoal before you see it. A halal set menu of chicken and beef, Korean salad, sticky rice and BBQ dipping sauce and a drink of your choice.
Cook, listen to that sizzle, talk, laugh, dip and eat away.
This place is in the back streets of Harajuku and you will be hungry by the time you find it. Popular with the locals and visitors this is the perfect place to eat Japanese ‘soul food’ okonomiyaki and monjayaki, a combination of a pizza and a pancake this is a dish to be enjoyed with friends. Unfortunately there is no halal meat but you can choose a seafood or veggie option, sit around the teppan (hot plate) and let 5 Japanese guys* cook your mixture, cover it in brown sauce and mayonnaise, slice up and chew on this soft flavoursome dish.
* Taking your shirt off is optional while cooking this dish.
MALAY ASIAN CUISINE
If your palette is looking for something a bit more spicy then Malay Asian Cuisine will satisfy that craving. Located on the quiet side of Shibuya heading towards Aoyama. You will find all your favourite Malaysian dishes with plenty of ginger and lemongrass in the curries, the roasted duck and beef rendang are highly recommended and let those Malay flavours loose.
If you are near the famous Yanamote Line it is a 30 minute journey from Shibuya to experience one of the most mish-mash restaurants in Tokyo, billed as Persian but in reality you can eat Persian, Indian, Pakistani, Egyptian, Turkish and Moroccan food all at once. This isn’t a bad thing but don’t bother eating anything else that day as you will receive non-stop 5 courses which turns into about 12. Sit on the floor, wonder why there is a life size camel in the corner while you chew on the fresh barbari bread with Egyptian cheese. (No pictures as I too busy eating lol)
NARITAYA HALAL RAMEN SHOP
Based is Asakusa this is the perfect place to end your day after mooching around all the different street stalls of kimonos, ninja stars, bento boxes and snacks. Pay your respects at the shrine then enjoy the dish that we started with. Seats available upstairs and down but choose to sit at the counter and have a chat with the chef. Rabia is from Pakistan and she made a difference to the whole experience. Both chicken and beef ramen is available and the portions are BIG, get a side kick of gyzoya and Rabia made a wee spicy sauce in replacement of the standard soy sauce. Slurp slurp.
ALL. OVER. TOKYO. This is one thing I could not figure out, kebabs stands in every part of Tokyo. What? How? When? I asked but to this day no one can explain the Turkish-Japanese connection, but the popularity of kebab sando among the locals is one of the most interesting things I observed in while living in Japan. All halal might I add and remarkably good if you need a quick fix., I am none the wiser but my stomach isn’t complaining.