Bulgogi, bibimbap , tteokbokki… ah, who doesn’t love Korean food? With a mix of sweet and spicy flavours, we can’t deny that we absolutely adore Korean cuisine and we’re thrilled that Halal Restaurant Week Korea is back! From 16 August to 14 October 2018, there’ll be discounts at halal or Muslim-friendly restaurants all around Korea. But before you get all excited, here’s your one-stop guide to everything about the event ☺️
Now, are you ready to feast?
1. What is Halal Restaurant Week?
So first things first, what is Halal Restaurant Week? If you’re unfamiliar with this event, this is the third year that it’s held and the main purpose is to promote halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants in South Korea not just to Muslims, but to travellers from all over the world.
As food is always a main concern for Muslim travellers, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has come up with this event to help Muslims find good and reliable restaurants in Korea where they can enjoy good food with no worries!
So, where to find the list of featured restaurants in the event? Well, all you have to do is head over to the Halal Restaurant Week website and find the list of restaurants there. If you prefer to have a physical copy of the restaurant list, the good news is that you can get a copy of the Halal Restaurant Week booklet from any KTO branches around the world, and they have branches in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Plus, other than halal or Muslim-friendly food options, you can also find prayer spaces and some simple Korean dialogue in the booklet ?
Now what’s an event without great deals right? What makes Halal Restaurant Week so amazing is that you can get discounts for dining in eateries which are on their list. There are two types of discounts available: 3,000 KRW off ala carte meals or 10,000 KRW off pre-fixed meals. If you want to find out what coupons are available at respective restaurants, check out the restaurant list!
Getting the discounts is easy. All you have to do is sign up for an account on the Halal Restaurant Week website, click on “My Page” and you’ll see the coupons.
Now how do they work? Just flash the coupons to the restaurant staff and they’ll have to enter the restaurant code and there you have it – a discount for your meal ?
Alternatively there are also hard-copy coupons inside the Halal Restaurant Week booklet which you can just tear and us. Do note that you can only use either one of the coupons at any restaurant you go to. But the good thing is, you can use the 3,000 KRW coupons for up to 9 times. And what’s more, you can combine these coupons with other existing promotions that the restaurants have.
3. Different types of restaurants
To help Muslim travellers decide which restaurants suit their preferences best, KTO has classified halal and Muslim-friendly restaurants in Korea into several categories so you don’t have to worry about the status of the eateries you dine at. And rest assured, only the restaurants in these categories will participate in the Halal Restaurant Week.
These are restaurants which have been certified by an authorised halal certification agency such as the Korean Muslim Federation (KMF). Though there aren’t that many restaurants in this category, there are some authentic Korean eateries that we’d recommend.
An example of a halal-certified eatery is Makan Restaurant in Seoul which serves a variety of scrumptious Korean dishes from favourites like bulgogi, bibimbap to braised stews and even Korean fried chicken! We visited the restaurant in July and we absolutely couldn’t get enough of their Dakdoritang (Korean-style braised chicken stew) and their Dakganjeong (sweet and spicy crunchy chicken) which were both gobsmackingly good ?
Self-certified restaurants are eateries which are certified as halal by Muslim restaurant owners themselves. If you’re familiar with HHWT’s classification of halal eateries, these restaurants would fall under “Muslim-owned” establishments.
An example of a self-certified eatery is Hibiscus Asian Restaurant in Seoul which has an all-you-can-eat buffet for just 15,000 KRW! With a good mix of Korean and Western dishes, you can savour Beef Bulgogi, pizzas and Spaghetti Bolognese here.
Hibiscus is one of the eateries which has special pre-fixed menus for Halal Restaurant Week so you can use your 10,000 KRW coupon to get discounts for their set meals.
These are restaurants which have some halal or seafood dishes and they don’t sell pork but alcohol might be served, so we recommend you to dine at your own discretion! These eateries form the bulk of the restaurants which are participating in Halal Restaurant Week.
#HHWT Tip: As this is quite a broad category, do check with the respective eateries if their meat is halal.
An example of a Muslim-friendly restaurant is Cheonhaecheon in Jeju Island, an eatery known for its halal shabu-shabu. The meat served here is halal-certified by the Jeju Islamic Cultural Center and that includes their different cuts of beef.
There’s also a wide variety of seafood from abalone and crayfish to crabs and mussels. Plus, an array of cooked food from tteokbokki to Korean fried chicken!
4. Prayer spaces
We know how hard it can be to find prayer spaces when you’re travelling but if you’re in Korea, you’d be pleased to know that they have been ramping up efforts to increase the number of prayer spaces ?
If you’re in the Itaewon district which is where a lot of the halal eateries are at, you don’t have to worry about finding a place to pray, as the Seoul Central Mosque will be just round the corner.
Outside of Itaewon, there are plenty of prayer spaces too such as the K Style Hub at Cheonggye Stream and COEX Mall in Gangnam. Some hotels like Lotte Hotel in Myeongdong and Four Seasons Hotel near Seoul Station also have prayer spaces. Amusement parks such as Lotte World have prayer rooms too!
Did you know that Busan also has a mosque? But unfortunately, as the mosque is far from the city centre, it might be inconvenient to get to. If you’re around the famous Haeundae Beach area, head over to Lotte Hotel, Novotel Ambassador or The Westin Chosun to do your prayers. Popular attractions such as the Trick Eye Museum Busan also have prayer rooms.
In Jeju, most of the Muslim-friendly eateries listed in the Halal Restaurant Week website will have a prayer area, and all you have to do is ask the staff to assist you.
If you’re in the Jeju City Centre, head over to the Jeju Islamic Cultural Center to do your prayers. Like Seoul, several hotels in Jeju also have prayer spaces such as Hyatt Regency, Shilla and WE Hotel.
Find the complete list of prayer spaces in Korea here. Alternatively, you can find them in the Halal Restaurant Week booklet too!
5. Simple Korean dialogue
Now, we’re pretty sure most of you will be wondering if you’d need a bit of Korean to converse with the locals. If you’re heading to the bigger cities like Seoul, Busan and Jeju, chances are the staff at the eateries will know a little bit of English. But if you’re heading to the smaller towns, some Korean would be helpful, so here are some phrases you can use:
Please remove pork, ham and bacon.
Dwae-ji go-gi, ham, bacon ppae-go ju-sae-yo
[돼지고기, 햄, 베이컨 빼고 주세요]
Please do not include alcohol in the food.
[음식에 술 넣지 마세요]
Please remove all meat from the food.
[고기 빼고 주세요]
Is the meat halal?
I will use this coupon.
Where is the prayer room?
Do you have an English menu?
[영어 메뉴 있어요?]
You can find more Korean phrases here or in the Halal Restaurant Week booklet too!
BONUS: Enjoy discounts at attractions around Korea
As if having discounts for your meals isn’t good enough, this year’s Halal Restaurant Week also has discount coupons for various attractions and cultural activities around Korea.
One of the activities that has discount coupons is NANTA – a Korean non-verbal comedy show that’s won numerous awards around the world. Fusing Korean traditional rhythm with comedy and played out in a kitchen setting, the show has also made an appearance on New York’s broadway!
Credit: Global NANTA on Facebook
With Halal Restaurant Week’s coupons, you can get up to 40% off NANTA tickets but do note that the promotion is only available at Myeongdong, Hongdae and Jeju theatres, and they can only be used once.
Another place where you can get discounts during Halal Restaurant Week is Petite France, with 20% off ticket prices. Located near the famous Nami Island, this picturesque French village will make you forget that you’re even in Korea.
Plus, you wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to turn Petite France’s colourful buildings into a gorgeous picture-perfect backdrop!
Trickeye Museum Busan
Want to enjoy both virtual and augmented reality in one place? Trickeye Museum Busan is perfect for that! Here’s where you can step into live-sized famous paintings and take lots of interesting pictures. There’s also a VR zone for you to have a more immersive experience.
What’s more, you can get 25% off admission tickets if you visit Trick Eye Museum Busan during Halal Restaurant Week so that’s definitely more reason for you to visit this awesome attraction.
P.S. Find the full list of attractions participating in Halal Restaurant Week here.
So are you excited for Halal Restaurant Week Korea? With so many halal and Muslim-friendly eateries available plus attractive discount coupons, your visit to Korea will be an unforgettable one. Not to mention that you can also get discounts on several attraction tickets. Mark your calendars this 16 August to 14 October and have a whale of a time in Korea!
This article is brought to you by Korea Tourism Organization (Singapore).