Monday, December 24, 2018

Halal Food Review in Kyoto - Osaka Japan (November, 2018)


-HALAL FOOD In Kyoto-Osaka-

The Prophet SAW said: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ceaseless charity); knowledge which is beneficial; or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (the deceased).” [Sahih Muslim]. So, what's travelling if you don't share the knowldge that may benefit other Muslim travellers?

So, i wd try to share some knowledge/reviews on the Muslim food we had in Kyoto-Osaka last Autumn  (16-22 November, 2018).

First n foremost, I wd say Japan is now Muslim-friendly and u cn even get Halal meals once u'v arrived Kansai Airport. However, bear in mind that getting there is not a piece of cake coz  the halal food outlets are usually crowded during peak seasons (unless you are lucky). If you hv toddlers, get them entertained before they get cranky waiting!

1) Arashiyama Restaurant, Kyoto

The first Halal restaurant we had lunch was Arashiyama Restaurant,near Togetsu Bridge. We came here between our visit to Bamboo Forest and Romantic Train. (All guests must fill in their names before they call you to be seated). Although we waited for half an hour, it is worth the effort bcoz the food was superb!!! Halal wagyu is also available with 4,000 yen per meal, tempura shrimp and fried chicken are deliciously crispy and u can't just get them enough. In the autumn cool breeze, my son's hot udon soup is such a comfort food.

We warmly feel welcomed bcoz the staff are incredibly kind and friendly. Indonesian Muslims also work there and it eases the communication for the non-Japanese speakers. Spacious prayer room, together with ablution/wuduk area is also available for the guest's convenience but you need to take a permission pass before getting there.

So, this is a must-try restaurant for you in Kyoto! We also bought halal beef croquettes for our take-away dinner.  Overall, i give this place 4/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ #arashiyama #arashiyamarestaurant #kyotojapan #muslimfoodinjapan #halalfoodinjapan🎌 #halalfoodkyoto #muslimtravelers

2) Naritaya Ramen, Osaka

Next Restaurant is Naritaya Ramen, a famous halal cafe outlet which has branches in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. However, always make sure you check their opening time to avoid dissappoinment. The cafe closes at 9pm  and we missed the great opportunity to have dinner there in Kyoto due to our late arrival. Luckily, we managed to dine in the Osaka branch. The menu here is mostly ramen (Japanese noodles), karage (deep fried chicken) and dumplings. Prayer room is also available but can only be occupied by 1-2 persons. Overall, i give this place 3.5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ #naritayaramen #karage #ramen #halalfoodinjapan🎌 #muslimtravelers #muslimfoodinjapan

3) Instanbul Table (near Legoland Osaka)

Starving for heavy lunch while playing at Legoland Osaka with kids? Instanbul Table is another halal restaurant recommended for you. Located in the same plaza, this place serves a variety of Turkish cuisines like kebab, rice, burger and dessert. The food is fairly good but the portion is small for a Mediterranean meal.

This place is definitely not for those looking for Japanese/local food but the only advantage coming here is that the prayer room is located just next to the restaurant. Plus, water tap is inside for ablution (wuduk) and this makes it convenient for guests especially Muslimah. Overall, i rate this restaurant  3/5 🌟 🌟 🌟

#muslimfoodinjapan #halalfoodinjapan🎌
#muslimtravelers #halalfoodosaka
#instanbultable #autumn🍁

4) Red Lobster

Done the whole day at Universal Studio Japan (USJ) , got hungry and cannot wait until you get home? So, this is the only Halal food restaurant you may access, located near the Hard Rock Cafe outside USJ. The restaurant highlights lobsters as their main course, but a wide range of fresh seafood menu is also available. However choices are limited as halal meal are mostly appetizers, side dish and selected lobster menu. All spaghetti 🍝 are non-halal though as they use wine🍷 etc, so we could only order their fried oyster, shrimp popcorn and snow crab.  The taste are incredibly superb and my kids can't just get them enough!

With their friendly staff, great ambiance, scrumptious mouth-watering seafood meal and fast service, i give this restaurant 4/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟. #halalfoodinjapan🎌 #muslimfoodinjapan #muslimtravelers #halalfoodosaka #halalseafood #universalstudiojapan🇯🇵#redlobster #autumn🍁

5) Kerapirka

Tired of ramen, sushi, soba and udon? Wanted to fly to Hokkaido but your holiday ends in two days? So, this is another halal restaurant recommended for you if you wanna try a taste of Hokkaido. Halal Ainu cuisines (Japanese native food) are available here in Osaka, and the chef himself is Ainu (Hokkaido origin). Getting there requires around 10min walk from the Osaka Kids Plaza.

However, take note that this is an Italian restaurant, so the menu are mostly pizza 🍕 and pasta 🍝. From the conversation with the wife, the chef has worked in Italy for many years, guess that explains why the pizza tastes so Italian-authentic and marvellous 👌

The restaurant is cozy and relaxing, with soft background english music for the guests to enjoy. A prayer space is provided but can accomodate only 1person. We enjoyed ourself talking to the owner as she provided us a lot of info about Osaka and halal food. We received Japanese origami as souvenirs and halal travel biscuits for our kids before leaving. Overall, i rate this place 4/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟. #kerapirka #ainucuisines #japanesenativefood #italianrestaurant🇮🇹 #halalfoodinjapan🎌 #muslimfoodinjapan #muslimtravelers #halalfoodosaka #autumn🍁

6) Creo-Ru Dotobori (Takoyaki stall)

So, if you are a fan of Takoyaki (Japanese octopus ball-dumpling), Creo-Ru Dotonbori is a place for you. The taste is justttt WOW!!! With around 500 yen, you'll get a set of big, FAT takoyaki with drizzling sweet sauce on top. And trust me, one piece is not enough. You'll be craving for more and more! 🐙🐙 I rate this place 4/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
#creoru #takoyaki #halaltakoyaki
#muslimtravelers #muslimfoodinjapan
#halalfoodinjapan🎌 #halalosaka #halalfoodreview #autumn🍁 #lainrasadarimalaysia

7) The U-don (Kansai Airport)

'The U-don' at Kansai Airport is a must-try Halal restaurant if you feel like eating hot noodles or beef rice while waiting for your flight. Certified by the Malaysian Halal Consultancy & Training, it is a self-service restaurant which let you select your own main course & side-dish.  After ordering, wait for your meal 2be ready, place them on a tray and finally pay to the counter. You are also required to clean your own table and return your dish to the designated place after a meal. Our beef udon, beef bowl rice are delightfully yummy and flavoursome. I really enjoyed the hot tempura as well.

Other than that, I'm proud to see that the cafe's signage has Japanese and our national language translation (Bahasa Melayu) as well. No matter where i go, i bring 🇲🇾 in my heart ♥. I rate this place 4.5/5 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟. #muslimtravelers #muslimfoodinjapan #halalfoodinjapan🎌 #halalfoodosaka #halalfoodinkansaiairport #halalosaka #kansaiinternationalairport #autumn🍁

Lastly, pls bear in mind that the food review is based on our personal experience and preference. As travellers with two toddlers, we have always tried our best to find a child-friendly restaurant to ensure our kids' convenience and safety.  If you visit Kyoto or Osaka, don't forget to try the restaurants we recommended. Share with us in the comments. We also hope you'll enjoy the halal Japanese meals as much as we do! ❤️❤️

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Part 3: Last day in Vietnam - Visiting Ho Chi Minh

We didnt spend too much time in HCM as our flight to Malaysia wd be the day after we arrived the city. Our bus from Phan Rang stopped at the HCM bus station at around 4.30 am,so we directly checked in at Kingston Hotel. For ur info.. the hotel is about 8min walking distance to Bent than market, and is also opposite to a Halal restaurant named Pandan restaurant, owned by a Malaysian.

Breakfast is also included in this hotel - and i noticed there were many Malaysians staying here too,mostly those who travelled in a large group. There was a variety of food served including noodles n pastries. So.. Just be careful to not take the non-halal dish. For the first day,we were so starving but lazy to go downstair. Glad that we had our very own brunch packed by Marim's mother.

Marinated fried beef  and rice packed by
Marim's mother before we left Phan Rang.
We ate these for breakfast & lunch on our 1s day
in HCM. Saved our day and pocket!

Our first day in HCM is not complete without visiting the popular market - Bent Than. We planned to window shopping but of course i couldt help myself buying 3pieces of Vietnamese silk,tshirts,bagpack, shoes and etc. Bargain is a MuST!! My husbnd was also able to purchase a Burberry London perfume for men (not ori) for a very reasonable price.

Beautiful Vietnamese silk

Emerald green: two sided colours

Then,we left Bent than and looked for 'telekung' shops at the streets. I was able to buy 10 pieces, with rm25 per 'telekung' to bring them back as souvenirs for my family. Before walking back to our hotel room, we suddenly noticed that we were broke! Thank God ATM was everywhere and you can easily withdraw your money in any ATM machines with a surcharge rm15 per withdrawal. However, good news for Maybank or HSBC card holders as these banks are available and u cn withdraw money  at the ATM without any surcharge.

Red coloured Lycra telekung. Rm25 per piece

After Maghrib, we continued walking to Saigon Square. Surprisingly, the clothes in Saigon Square are much cheaper than ben than but are sold in a fixed price. Only some shops could still tolerate with you if you bargain. We managed to buy some baby clothes for Fateh and his cousins.

Burberry London baby dress for Fateh's cousin

Next,we stopped for dinner at the Daun restaurant which is owned by a Singaporean. This place has been listed by the Trip Advisor as one of the best Halal restaurants in HCM. For dinner, I was craving for Vietnamese "Pho" with chicken soup.. so i thought i have ordered the chicken version but it was nothing similar. The food i ordered was actually "bihun sup Vietnam ayam" and i just gotta know "pho" is always associated with beef slices,not chicken. It was ok bcoz the food still tasted so good..!

The Daun Restaurant

Vietnamese coffee and Dilmah strawberry hot tea

Then,we continued shopping at Night Market. We were able to get souvenirs like keychains,earrings and baby girl traditional dress in a very low price. Thanks to my husbnd for always looking stern enough to 'scare' the salesgirl until she lowered down the price according to the price we wanted. This was the first time i saw my husbnd showing her hidden talent bargaining till we drop!

Yellow Vietnamese girl dress for Fateh's cousin

The next morning, we went for window shopping for the last time and bought lunch from 'Pandan'. After zuhur, we packed our luggages and left Kingston Hotel by a private car booked by the receiptionist. Booking was made earlier,so it was easier to manage our time to go to the airport.

Buying nuts and Halal coffee
 powder before leaving HCM

We boarded the plane from HCM to K.Lumpur at 4.30 pm by Malindo Air.  To sum up, the 6-day trip -- Dalat -Phan Rang- HCM was able to strengthen our relationship as husbnd and wife. Bringing a toddler to travel along with you is never easy without tolerance,patience and cooperation between both of us as parents. My husbnd has genuinely helped me to be a strong mother and wife, and i have encouraged him to be a positive father and leader.

Imam Shafi'e has once said, "Travel! You will find a replacement for what you have left"  and what my husband and I both found are really precious to be replaced with neither money nor gold. We have enthralled  love,faith and trust for each other and most of all, we have built closer relationship to Allah - the Creator of the universe.

The world is too much to be explored and always remember, if the lion doesn't leave his den, he cannot hunt.

Till then, hope 2see you in the next entry (if i travel again insyaallah).
With love.

Our mujahid

Monday, October 3, 2016

Part 2 : A Two-day Visit in Phan Rang, Vietnam

The journey from Dalat to Phan Rang by bus (which was actually a van) supposedly took about 4hours but to our surprise, we arrived earlier than expected. Actually, this is my second time visiting Phan Rang as i had been here in 2011 with my sister Ika, visiting my Vietnamese friend, Marim. We used to study in the same university together in International Islamic University Malaysia (or known as IIUM or UIA) completing our degree and Marim went back to her hometown in Phan Rang, Vietnam after graduation in 2009.

This time around, we will visit n stay with Marim again for my husbnd said instead of directly go to HCM, it is better to see her now as the chance to catch up each other again is impossible due to living in different countries. However, things got a little tense up when we weren't able to communicate properly with the van conductor, so we had difficulty to inform her the place we should stop. The driver wasn't informed about the situation (i dont know hw 2say bus station in Vietnamese but google map didnt help much whn we googled for phan rang bus station), and it seemed everyone in the van trying to help us but we ended up like chicken-and-duck talk due to the communication barrier. Besides, the van was seen to hop on and off the passengers before arriving the last destination.

So, we desperately called Marim and luckily, Marim explained to the van conductor in Vietnamese and we finally stopped somewhre to take a taxi to Marim's house.

Fateh slept all the way through our journey until we arrived Marim's house. Actually, it is a blessing to have a Muslim friend from a non-Muslim country as accomodation and Halal meal aren't a big problem. Travelling is either by taxi or motorcycle. We had lunch and performed prayer at Marim's house before leaving to a beach nearby to savour the seafood.

The food of course was very tasty. Vietnamese cuisines from my opinion, is a mixture of Chinese and Thailand dish. Most meat is either freshly boiled with vegetables or grilled after being marinated with herbs. The fried fish dipped in Vietnamese chillie sauce has always been my fave since i visited her house in 2011!

Marim's mother cooked a lot for us and i was so flattered that she cooked my fave fish again and also the famous Vietnamese Pho.

Lunch: Vietnamese cuisines

Tasty meat (daging korbing during Aidiladha dish,)
Fish n veggies

'Pho' in the making

The famous Vietnamese beef noodle
(Known as Pho)

The salads or 'ulam'  eaten with 'pho':
Salad,mint, bean sprout anf basil leaves

Dont forget the chillie sauce and lime 

Fateh having fun eating

Vietnamese bread and eggs

Dating with a Vietnamese aunty. Haha.

Energy drink

One of the best seafood at the beach

Having Jasmine tea,coffee and
coconut ice cream at night

The famous Jasmine tea and Vietnamese coffee

12 years of friendship between
two countries

Actually, visiting Phan Rang is more like walking down the memory lane. Everything at Marim's house looks and smells so familiar; from the same friendly faces of her Mom and relatives, the aunthentic local food, the sound of birds, chickens n sheep outside her house really brought back the memory during my first time visit here. Due to time limitation..we didnt go to many interesting places. Plus, Marim's husbnd, Hasif is presently working,so with two daughters need 2b taken care of, Marim had to wait for Hasief 2finish work or ask help frm her cousins to bring us touring around the city by motorcycles. However,we still enjoyed our stay and owe her family for the great hospitality.

Two days n one night at Marim's and we were getting ready for the next adventure. We took a taxi to the bus station and continue our 7hour journey with our toddler to Ho Chi Minh City by sleeping bus.

(To be continued)