Project Pengyou intern, Hadeel Said, shares her experience with halal eating in Beijing and how as a Muslim-American she found comfort and community in these soul foods.
“I don’t eat pork”
This phrase has become my go-to on many occasions when my stomach is growling and I’m in search of good food in Beijing!
While China is often associated more with Atheism and Buddhism, there is also a deep-rooted relationship with Islam that dates far back. About 2% of China’s population identify as Muslim, and Beijing alone is home to an estimated 250,000 Muslims. Luckily for me, that meant there were plenty of options to try!
The Halal Muslim cuisine provides a place of comfort for a Muslim looking to find familiar food in a foreign place. When I walked into Huolaishun Restaurant, the kind woman working there greeted me with Ni Hao. In response, I greeted her with Salamo Alaikum, the Muslim greeting. Her face lit up as she responded back with Wa Alaikum Al Salam. This feeling of comfort and familiarity allowed me to confidently take the streets as a young American-Muslim knowing I wouldn’t go hungry, and the friendly faces told me I had found a sense of community.
For the Pengyous out there that are Halal food eaters, or maybe just want to know of a good and hearty fix for some of the best Halal spots around town, keep scrolling below to know where to go!
This delicious Uyghur restaurant is located in the Fengtai district of Beijing. Next to the main road among a cluster of other options, it could be easy to miss this one, but if you go inside you will be in for a treat. The array of herb incorporated baked goods decorate the tables at your entrance. In addition, if you like savory meats, then this one is for you. The halal lamb chops are sizzling with marinade while the chicken kabobs have an aroma of earthy spices.
2. 1001 Nights
If you’re in the mood for a taste for Arabic food, then venturing out of Beijing for Hummus and Falafel is not required. Neighboring the Beijing Workers Sports Complex (known to locals as gongti), one of the most bustling areas in the city, you’ll find 1001 Nights, a restaurant home to the Middle Eastern cuisine and experience. Rated one of the Top 10 Best Halal Places to Eat on Tripadvisor, you’ll be in for a true Arabian experience, with food soaked in olive-oil and Belly Dancers to entertain you while you dine.
Indian food is very well known for its colorful sauces and vibrant tastes that combine delicious vegetables with lively spices—the result, marvelous. If you’re also a vegetarian, this spot is for you. The offerings on the menu are all meat-free, with vegan-friendly options as well. The curries, garlic naan, and samosas have placed Ganges Indian as a top destination for locals and tourists seeking Halal food or the hearty Indian cuisine in the city of Beijing.
Maybe when it comes to Asian cuisines you prefer a mix? Then Khan Baba Restaurant offers a buffet style array that allows you to try various types of flavorful dishes during the weekdays! The lunch and dinner collections are prepared with a Pakistani twist, so if you like spicy food this is where you can give your tastebuds a fiery kick. The restaurant will be found on the 5th floor of the Sanlitun Soho, Building Number two, in the Shopping Mall. The great food ratings are also backed by a mutual rating on affordability, making this Halal spot one to add to your list!
Getting Hot Pot is definitely one of the more popular food activities to try in Beijing. You can choose your ingredients and merge them all together for what will be a delicious pot of flavorful ingredients. However, for those eating Halal it can be hard to find the right broth, or any meat for that matter that goes well into your concoction! For the comfort of mind and the happiness of the stomach and soul, rest will be assured when going for Hot Pot at Ju BaoYuan on Beijing’s Southwest corner and in the heart of the Niujie muslim district.
Xinjiang Red Rose is named one of Beijing’s most famous Xinjiang restaurants around town. Serving some of the most mouth-watering lamb skewers and chicken on-the-grill, this place is a spot to try. In addition to the savory meats, make sure to get some delicious side dishes like dapan and latiaozi if you like a spicy tomato sauce. The atmosphere is inviting for a fun night, where live music and bellydancers perform with snakes. You will definitely be in for a treat.
It is worth the trek to venture to Chaoyangmennei station to find this gem of a restaurant. At Crescent Moon you can find a roast leg of lamb to be well-seasoned and cooked to perfection. There is also a great variety of vegetarian options for those who are non-meat eaters as well. The food is reviewed highly by customers who vow to come back, and the service backs up the favored status as well making Crescent Moon a favorite spot for Beijing Halal food.
Have any more of your favorite Halal Spots around Beijing to add to our list? Please comment below and let us know!