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Discovering Thailand’s Halal Culinary Delights: A Guide to Muslim-Friendly Thai Cuisine

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Discovering Thailand's Halal Culinary Delights A Guide to Muslim-Friendly Thai Cuisine

(CTN News) – Thailand’s aromatic, spicy cuisine has long been a popular visitor attraction. The government is now working on making halal versions of famous foods to attract more Muslim tourists.

Since mostly Buddhist Thailand resumed diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia in 2022, there has been a greater emphasis on luring visitors from Muslim-majority countries to the popular tourist resort.

Last month, the government unveiled a 2024-28 strategy to position Thailand as the “halal kitchen of the world” and Southeast Asia’s “halal hub.”

The Halal Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok is the primary institution ensuring adherence to halal food rules in Thailand.

It has developed a standardisation system known as the Halal Assurance, Liability-Quality System, or HAL-Q, which is used by over 770 food factories and 7,000 restaurants across the country, allowing them to use the term “halal” in their marketing.

According to the centre’s founding director, Dr Winai Dahlan, there are 900 such restaurants in Bangkok alone, which is “enough to welcome Muslim tourists,” he told Arab News.


A halal food stall displays its menu at Jodd Fairs Night Market in Bangkok, Thailand, Feb. 21, 2024. (AN Photo)

Dahlan continued, “We work with the Central Islamic Council of Thailand. We are trying to introduce halal Thai food as a soft power of Thailand.”

Thai food is guided by harmony, from the famed lemongrass-flavored tom yum soup to pad thai, the country’s savoury noodles. Dahlan believes that having food cooked and verified as halal helps “boost the trust” of tourists since an increasing number of Muslim visitors arrive there.

The Kan Tang stand at Sook Siam, an indoor floating-market-themed food hall at Bangkok’s ICONSIAM Mall, sells halal versions of the most popular Thai meals.

“Tom yum is the best… many people come (to have it) here,” said Onk Natphuwanat, the stall attendant.

However, not many Muslim travellers know about the relatively new food market or other halal sellers.

The Jodd Fairs Night Market in the Rama IX neighbourhood also serves halal food, such as seafood tom yum noodles, red beef curry, and pad thai. In Bangkok’s Pratunam Market, a few stalls run by Thai Muslims serve halal food, however finding them takes some effort.

Some guests, such as Nani Rohayu, who is coming with her husband and children from Thailand’s Muslim neighbour Malaysia, have used social media culinary tips to navigate Bangkok’s streets and lanes.

For her family, following online recommendations was a pleasant way to explore the city and try different halal foods.

“If you go from one street or alley to the next, you will find halal (meal). There is no difficulty,” Rohayu told Arab News during a successful hunt for tom yum, noodles, and mango sticky rice.

“There’s so much information on the internet,” she added. “It is very easy.”

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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