Recently, a food stall situated in Kuala Lumpur has ignited controversy due to its alleged inclusion of alcohol in its claypot chicken rice recipe. This food stall, located in Kuala Lumpur's Sri Petaling neighbourhood, is managed by a Cantonese-speaking couple who, allegedly, have been serving this dish to customers for an extended period without disclosing the use of alcohol in its preparation.
A video showcasing the preparation of their claypot chicken rice went viral, revealing that one of the ingredients added to the dish was rice wine. Rice wine is a common component in Chinese and Chinese-influenced culinary traditions and is frequently used in claypot chicken rice recipes in regions outside Islamic countries. Typically, rice wine has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of approximately 15%, though most of it evaporates during cooking.
So, is rice wine halal?
In Islam, the consumption of alcohol is considered haram (forbidden). The Quran includes multiple verses in which Allah advises the Prophet Muhammad about the detrimental effects of alcoholic beverages. One such verse can be found in Surah Maidah, the fifth chapter of the holy text, which states, "Indeed, Satan desires to incur enmity and hatred between you through wine and gambling, and he desires to prevent you from God's remembrance and prayer."
In response to the widespread criticism of the food stall for allegedly using alcohol as an ingredient, Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), the Malaysian government's Islamic affairs department, clarified that the establishment has never held the Malaysian Halal Verification Certificate.
As a result of the backlash, it is understood that the couple has temporarily closed their food stall.