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Korea has always given us many reasons to keep coming back for a vacation - from its amazing attractions to beautiful culture, breathtaking natural sights and of course, halal Korean food! Good news for all Muslim travellers - Korea’s Halal Restaurant Week is back for its fourth edition this 2019!
P.S. Plan your trip with our 5D4N Muslim-friendly Seoul itinerary!
Credit: GiphyThe HHWT team was privileged to be given the chance to attend the opening ceremony of the 2019 Halal Restaurant Week Korea. This is the first time that we’ve been invited and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this awesome event. For those of you who are visiting Korea soon, here’s what you can expect for this year’s Halal Restaurant Week Korea 🤗P.S. Make sure to collect your Halal Restaurant Week coupon booklet (full of discounts to halal restaurants and popular attractions!) from Korea Plaza in KL! Just approach the friendly counter staff and enquire about the Halal Restaurant Week booklet. (while stocks last)Address: Korea Plaza, Ground Floor, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan P Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaOpening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Mon – Fri), 10am-3pm (Sat), closedon SundaysCollection Period: From 5 September onwards (while stocks last)You can also get the booklet at the upcoming KL MATTA Travel Fair (6-8 Sept)!
1. Halal Restaurant Week
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Halal Restaurant Week Korea, it’s actually an event held annually since 2016 to promote the country’s Muslim-friendly restaurants. And this year marks the fourth edition of the event! What’s great about the event is that it’s not just limited for Muslims but also open to other travellers in Korea and it celebrates the diversity of Muslim-friendly restaurants in Korea. You can expect to enjoy halal food from various cuisines like Korean, Turkish, Chinese, Mediterranean and more. What’s even better is that there are discounts for eateries, attractions and shopping, so you won’t want to miss it.You might think that it only lasts for a week but you’d be pleased to know that the event lasts for 2 months 😊 And this year, it’s held from 1 September to 31 October 2019! That means you can start planning your trip now and still have time to enjoy promotions and discounts in Korea (more on this later)! This year is special because the HHWT team hadthe privilege of attending the opening ceremony of Halal Restaurant Week Korea at the InterContinental Seoul COEX Hotel.The event started off with a few speeches including a speech by KTO CEO An Yong Bae on how far the Halal Restaurant Week has come since it first started in 2016. Travellers can now get discounts at 152 Muslim-friendly restaurants and 40 tourist spots!KTO’s Asia and the Middle East Team Director Kim Hyoung-Jun also introduced us to upcoming projects to boost Korea’s Muslim-friendliness such as getting more restaurants in other provinces besides Seoul to participate in Halal Restaurant Week. That’s because currently, there’s an imbalance in the concentration of Muslim-friendly eateries between Seoul and rural provinces. Ultimately, they hope to equip Muslim travellers with useful information like Muslim-friendly eateries, prayer rooms and resources to communicate with locals. After the speeches, we were treated to a live cooking display by InterContinental COEX’s Chef Muhammad Maksood. He whipped up a fusion dish – Chicken Briyani with kimchi and the smell was so fragrant throughout the hall!And of course, what’s a halal event without amazing halal food? We were served a 4-course dinner meal and the food was a fusion of cuisines –Indian quinoa salad with pomegranate dressing, halaltteokgalbi with mushroom, chicken Briyani with kimchi (which Chef Maksood prepared) and fresh fruits and mango lassi for dessert. The tteokgalbi (minced beef patty) was our favourite as it was really yummy. We also enjoyed Chef Maksood’s creation – it was slightly spicy with an interesting flavour to it 😋 On top of that, we could also sample food from various Muslim-friendly restaurants in Seoul, including this delicious japchae (sweet potato glass noodles, left) and Korean traditional mini pancakes (jeon) from Myeongdongjeong. Our tummies were so full from all the good food! The night ended off with a performance by fusion gugak (Korean folk music) group, K-pera Lin. This event gave us the opportunity to gain insights from a government body like KTO and it’s heartening to see the increasing variety of Muslim-friendly options in Korea.We can’t be happier that it’s so much easier for Muslims to travel to Korea now. Can’t wait for more exciting news in future!
2. Even more halal restaurants to enjoy at discounted prices
With 150 halal restaurants participating in Halal Restaurant Week this year as compared to 120 last year, it means that there are more options foryou to enjoy halal food in Korea so yay!
P.S. Check out the top 9 halal Korean eateries you need to try in Seoul!
One of the newcomers to join Halal Restaurant Week this year is The Halal Guys which has three outlets in Seoul! This American chain which started out as a humble cart in New York is famous for their mouthwatering chicken and gyro over rice meal topped with yummy sauces. If you haven’t had the chance to visit New York, don’t worry because you can enjoy The Halal Guys right here in Korea 😊Credit: @zhafazhar on InstagramWe know how important it is for you to try authentic halal local food when you travel and if you’re looking for somewhere new to satisfy your Korean food cravings when in Seoul, Hajj Restaurantin Itaewon would be perfect. Enjoy home-cooked meals like bibimbap, bulgogi, Ginseng chicken soup and more!
P.S. Heading to Seoul and need an affordable place to stay? Here are 12 accommodations in Seoul near halal food!
Besides Seoul, you can also expect more Muslim-friendly options in the up-and-coming city of Busan. The city is known for its fresh seafood and one restaurantthat’s joining Halal Restaurant Week isEobu. Savour oysters, mussels, clams and abalones grilled over charcoal fire or have them in a hotpot. And use coupons to get a discount for your meal! CouponsThe best part is that you can use coupons to get discounts at Muslim-friendly eateries. There are two types of coupons - a 3000KRW coupon and 10000KRW discount coupon which you can use to offset your total bill at any restaurants on their list. The 3000KRW coupon can be used for ala carte items while the 10000KRW can only be used for pre-fixed menus. Click on the individual restaurants on their website to check which coupons are eligible. To get the coupons, all you have to do is to sign up for an account on the Halal Restaurant Week Korea website. You can even use a Facebook or Google account to do so. Once you have an account and are logged in, click on “My Page” > “My Coupons” and you’ll see the two coupons. The best part is that you can do this easily on your mobile phone. How this works is that when you’re at the restaurant, the staff will clickon the specific coupon, enter their code and voila, you have successfully redeemed your discount!Check out the terms and conditions of coupons here. Even if you don’t sign up for an account online, not to worry! You can still get the hard copy of coupons in the Halal Restaurant Week booklet. Pick them up from any KTO branches around the world, including Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Classification of Muslim-friendly restaurantsWhile dining in Korea during Halal Restaurant Week, one tip is to look out for the classification of restaurants set by the Korea Tourism Organization. You’ll be able to spot them by their stickers at the entrance of restaurants. Here are the fourdifferent categories:Halal Certified: Restaurants in this category have been halal-certified by an accredited halal certification body like the Korea Muslim Federation (KMF).Self Certified: All food served in restaurants in this category are halal as confirmed by restaurant owners. Restaurants are certified as halal by restaurant owners themselves. Muslim Friendly: Halal menu is available and some dishes on the menu are halal. No pork is served in the restaurant but alcohol may be served. Pork-Free:Restaurants don’t serve halal menu but don’tserve pork. Alcohol may be served.Disclaimer: Do note that while there is a classification system in place, we advise you to decide which type of restaurant you are comfortable with and dine at your own discretion.
As if discounts on halal food, attractions and shopping aren’t good enough, another thing that’s great about Halal Restaurant Week 2019 is that you can find an updated and comprehensive list of prayer spaces on their website too. Simply head to Travel Tips and click on Mosques and Prayer Rooms for the full list. What’s even better is that you can narrow down your search for prayer spaces according to the different provinces in Korea - from more common areas like Seoul and Busan to Gangwon-do, Daegu, Gwangju and more. You can also get basic information of the prayer spaces like address, opening hours and the prayer facilities that are available. So you’ll know if you need to bring prayer garments or ifthe prayer space has a wudhu facility.Check out the list of prayer spaces here!You’d be pleasantly surprised at the number of prayer spaces you can find in Korea! For example, in Seoul, besides the Seoul Central Mosque in Itaewon, there are prayer spaces in various major hotels like The Westin Chosun or Grand Hilton Seoul. There are also prayer spaces in some attractions, restaurants, universities and even department stores! Similarly, if you’re in other major cities like Busan or Jeju, there are prayer spaces in various attractions, hotels and restaurants too. We’ve rounded up the prayer spaces near popular attractions in Seoul, Jeju and Busan in this list 😉
5. Basic Korean phrases
One thing we love about Halal Restaurant Week is that the restaurants participating in the event are not just in major cities like Seoul, Busan and Jeju but you can find Muslim-friendly eateries in lesser-known regions as well. While most people in the bigger cities can converse in basic English, you might face some difficulty when you go to the outskirts. And that’s when you’ll need a basic knowledge of Korean phrases! Here are some phrases which might be useful to you:Please remove pork, ham and bacon.Dwae-ji go-gi, ham, bacon ppae-go ju-sae-yo
[돼지고기, 햄, 베이컨 빼고 주세요]Pleasedo not include alcohol in the food.Um-si-gae-sul-noh-chi-ma-sae-yo[음식에 술 넣지 마세요]Please remove all meat from the food.Go-gi-ppae-go-ju-sae-yo
[고기 빼고 주세요]Is the meat halal?Halal-go-gi-ae-yo?
[할랄고기에요?]I will use this coupon.Coupon-sa-yong-hal-gae-yo
[쿠폰 사용할게요]Where is the prayer room?Gi-do-sil-oh-di-ae-yo?[기도실 어디에요?]Do you have an English menu?Yong-oh-menu-i-sso-yo?[영어 메뉴 있어요?]#HHWT Tip: You can find these phrases and more on the Halal Restaurant Week 2019 website too! Just head over to Travel Tips and click on Conversation or check out the link here. With discounts for not just Muslim-friendly eateries but also attractions and shopping, the 2019 Halal Restaurant Week Korea should be a good enough reason to convince you to start planning your Korea trip now. If you’re already planning a trip there from 1 September to 31 October, make sure you use the discounts during your vacay and enjoy massive savings. Sounds like it’s time for your most awesome Korea trip yet, so let’s go!P.S. Make sure to collect your Halal Restaurant Week coupon booklet (full of discounts to halal restaurants and popular attractions!) from Korea Plaza in KL! Just approach the friendly counter staff and enquire about the Halal Restaurant Week booklet. (while stocks last)Address:Korea Plaza, GroundFloor, Menara Hap Seng, Jalan PRamlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaOpening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Mon – Fri), 10am-3pm (Sat), closed on SundaysCollection Period: From 5 September onwards (while stocks last)You can also get the booklet at the upcoming KL MATTA Travel Fair (6-8 Sept)!This article is brought to you by Korea Tourism Organisation (Malaysia).