Are Korean Honey Butter Snacks Muslim-Friendly? – Here’s What Muslim Travellers Need To Know


Shasha Dania •  Jul 09, 2019

We've previously looked at whether the popular Japanese Tokyo Banana and Royce' chocolates are Muslim-friendly and suitable for consumption, and now we're shifting our focus to the neighbouring country of Korea to look at a familiar and equally popular snack - honey butter snacks! If you're paying Seoul a visit, chances are you'll see plenty of these sweet snacks on supermarket shelves waiting to be bought as souvenirs for friends back home.

Credit: Giphy

But are these chips and nuts safe for Muslims to consume? We've received this question many times, and it's time to finally answer it to put your heart at ease. ?

Disclaimer: Do note that we are not a halal-certifying body and that the information we have derived is from checking the online page Halal Korea which is run by Muslims and is the Facebook page for the Halal Korea Consumers Union.

What are honey butter products and why is there uncertainty?

Credit: Hi Koreanfashion

Honey butter chips, almonds, and other nuts became a popular Korean souvenir snack not too long ago, and there have been concerns raised for just as long whether they're safe for Muslims to consume. Our non-Muslim friends sing praises all the time for their sweet, crunchy yet savoury flavour and they've become as iconic a Korean souvenir as seaweed sheets, kimchi, or gochujang! A common line we may hear from others is that the ingredients that go into these products are usually vegetarian-friendly consisting mainly of almonds, dough, honey, butter, and assorted flavourings. But does that really mean it's safe for Muslims? ?

Credit: Halal Korea on Facebook

Ultimately, a product's halal status isn't just based on its ingredients alone but also the source of ingredients and the process by which it was made. In the case of honey butter almonds, while the ingredients might be okay on their own the location the products were made are what makes it unsuitable for Muslims. The characters 돼지 (dwe-ji) in the photo above mean pig, indicating that the product was made in a factory that also processes pork and other pig-derived products. As such, the product from this particular (and popular) brand is unsuitable for Muslims as there is the possibility of cross-contamination. ? We advise that readers purchase these at their own discretion.

Here are some popular brands that are produced in factories that also process pork products:

Credit: Halal Korea (left) and Halal Korea (right) on Facebook

Calbee Honey Butter Chip

Credit: Halal Korea (left) and Halal Korea (right) on Facebook

Tom's Farm Honey Butter Almond, Honey Butter Mix Nut, Honey Butter Wasabi Almond, and Wasabi Almond

Credit: Halal Korea (left) and Halal Korea (right) on Facebook

Tom's Farm Honey Butter Cashew Nut and Honey Butter Walnut

#HHWT Tip: Though this list is non-exhaustive, you can use Google Translate try to look out for the characters 돼지 (dwe-ji) on the packaging on other products to double-check if they might have been exposed to cross-contamination.

Are there any halal alternatives?

Credit: Halal Korea on Facebook

Actually, there are some companies such as Nuts Holic that have begun to produce halal-certified versions of this popular snack! Though the number of products available is small, we hope that these brands will continue to grow and give us more delicious flavours to snack on. ?

These products have been certified by the Korea Muslim Federation Halal Committee, and have been marked with a green logo at the corner of the packaging so do look out for the icon when you're browsing the shelves! The flavours also come in 30g packets that are perfect for a mid-day snack, or 180g packets that you can slowly finish over a few days (or a few hours? ?) Here are the flavours you can look forward to:

Credit: Halal Korea on Facebook

Honey Butter Almond: Now you can finally try out this classic flavour which is a blend of sweet, savoury, and a crunchy texture that adds the perfect touch!

Credit: Halal Korea on Facebook

Hot Spicy Almond: For those spice-lovers who just want that kick of flavour, try out this version that will leave a spicy tingle in your mouth!

Credit: Halal Korea on Facebook

Strawberry Almond: Not feeling up to having a savoury snack? You'll love this strawberry-flavoured version that comes coated in a sweet powder - perfect for a post-meal treat!

We hope that this short guide will make your Seoul souvenir spree a little easier, and you can try your luck at some of the halal food marts to see if you can find the halal varieties on the shelves! ? Do note that the 3 products listed above are currently the only ones certified by the KMF; while other products from other brands may have agreeable ingredients and are produced in a suitable environment, we advise you to do the necessary checks and purchase them at your own discretion. Google Translate's camera function will definitely come in handy while you're in Korea itself, especially in pointing out key ingredients such as pork or other animal-based derivatives.

Do let us know in the comments section what other Korean or popular snacks you’d like to us to talk about and SHARE this information with fellow Muslim travellers ?