I was 22 when I went to China. That was my first trip overseas on my own. Didn’t follow any tour groups. Didn’t even book a hotel before leaving for China. All I know I was going to stay there for 9 days. Before anybody aspire to follow my footsteps, take note that at that time I wasn’t completely on my own. I had my ex-colleagues and China student to bring me sight-seeing and arrange my lodging.
Obviously, they weren’t with me all the time, so there were occasions when I had to play solo. Alhamdulillah for me, the place I was staying at had a decent Muslim population and finding halal food was easy.
But after coming back, I realized that for some people, it’s not as easy for them to find halal food in China. It becomes more difficult when they don’t speak the language.
Here’s our quick guide on how you can find halal food in China.
What Is 清真? (Qīngzhēn)
One of the things I noticed was the halal restaurants in China and halal food products have 清真 displayed in their shop or on their product packaging. In fact, you can even find it on some of the products sold in Malaysia. You may have guessed it, 清真 can simply be translated to halal in Chinese.
Can we say that the food and products labelled 清真 are 100% halal and safe for Muslim consumption?
Not exactly. This is where you need to do a bit of digging around. The 2 basic questions you can ask at a Chinese restaurant or food street vendors are,
- 你是穆斯林吗? (Nǐ shì mùsīlín ma – Are you a Muslim?)
- 这个是清真的吗(Zhège shì qīngzhēn de ma – Is this halal?)
Now you could ask more questions like whether the food has any non-halal ingredients like 猪肉 (Zhūròu – pig meat), 培根 (Péigēn – bacon), 猪油 (Zhū yóu – pig fat or oil) or 料酒 (Liàojiǔ – cooking wine). You could even ask in English or Arabic, though this may not work all the time. Generally, the locals speak Mandarin Chinese and knowing some basic Chinese would be helpful.
How about buying a product at the store or a supermarket? Or when there’s no one to ask? This brings us to our next point: China halal logos.
Does China Have Any Halal Logos?
China have their own halal logos. These are the ones recognized by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) – the agency responsible for the Islamic affairs including halal certification in Malaysia.
|Shandong Halal Certification Service ( SHC )|
6F North Building
No. 86 Jianshe Road
|Mr. Yusof An Ruicheng (President)|
Tel / Fax: +86-531-81767296 / 69989121
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
|China Islamic Association|
No 103 Nanhengxijie
|Mr. Yang Fa-Ming (President)|
Mdm Huang WenJian/ Munira Ahmad
Tel: + 8610-59313062/ 8610 5931 3067
Website : www.chinaislam.net.cn
|ARA Halal Certification Services Centre Inc.|
No. 28 Dong Feng Road
|Mdm Ani Zhao Hua (President)|
Mr. Abdul Rahim Albert Hsiu
Tel: +86-155 1554 5789
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org /
|Linxia Halal Food Certification Centre (Gansu)|
No. 43 Jiefang Road
|Mr. Ma Dingyuan (Director)|
Tel: +86 930 6286516
Fax: +86 930 6286806
|Shaanxi Shang Pin Yuan Halal Food & Restaurant|
Management Limited Company
No.70, Xi Bei Yi Lu, Qing Nian
Street, Lian Hu District, Xi’an,
|Mr. Tie Qunping (CEO)|
Tel : 008618220818091 / 0086 029-88638790
|Halal Certification Services Chongqing (HCS)|
No. 11 Community, Baihe Village,
Nanquan Street, Banan District
401120, Chongqing, China
|Mr. Mohammed bin Saleh|
Tel : 86 023 63322976 (Official) / 86 18723479733
E-mail: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org /
What About The Halal Logos From Other Countries?
Another way to find halal food in China is to buy food products that are imported from other countries. You can find these at the supermarkets. Just look for the halal logo from their country of origin.
Not sure which logo is legit? Visit The Recognized Foreign Halal Certification Bodies & Authorities 10 Dec 2019 for a list of halal logos from other countries recognized by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).
Back To My First-Ever China Trip
Throughout my stay there, I went to Chinese Muslim restaurants, Arab restaurants, bought halal products, and products that I deem as halal after checking the ingredients list.
Things have certainly changed since my first trip. Nowadays, you can easily find halal Chinese food via mobile apps and some restaurants even provide delivery services.
But if you are ever at a fix, finding the nearest mosque would be the easiest way to find halal food. Usually there’ll be small eateries or food carts around the area selling halal food. Alternatively, you could ask the Muslims and they’d be more than happy to direct you to the nearest halal food joint.
Hope you find this little guide helpful for your next trip to China!