A friend of mine visited the Philippines and just like any other typical Filipino, I started researching and planning on things to do, places to go to and food to eat when he came here. But unlike the usual tourist friends that I had, this one was Muslim, meaning I was met by the biggest challenge so far (but super fun) in planning a vacation for someone else -– where to eat. Because he can only eat halal food.
Though the Philippines has a large community of Muslims, finding restaurants and food items that are halal is not as accessible or easily available. If he were any other tourist, I’d just ask him if he wanted Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Filipino food and go to a nearby mall or tell him to go have a food trip in Manila. But that’s not possible with halal. Would you believe I spent hours researching and spending time in the grocery store checking products, turning them over and looking for the halal certified logo? More on that later.
For now, to help other Muslim brothers and sisters find a restaurant to eat in, I have listed some restaurants which are halal certified. We were only able to eat at Habib, Martabak and IRRI cafeteria (plus Ahmad Brothers in Baguio) but I included those other restaurants based on research. Of course, this is by no means exhaustive so feel free to add more.
Habib Restaurant, Greenfields – what’s great about this restaurant is that it’s open till 5:30am everyday except Sundays, wherein they are open until midnight. The kebabs are really good (approx. P265). Though on one occassion, when my friend ordered chicken biryani, it was served to him cold.
Another great option is in Greenhills which have a lot of halal restaurants, due to the numerous Muslim vendors.
SM Mall of Asia:
Martabak (Indonesian Cuisine) – the only halal restaurant I could find within SM MOA. But I was surprised that the small restaurant was packed. We ordered satay chicken with roti, which was expensive at about P250 but not bad tasting. Mango shake was also available.
Los Banos, Laguna (inside UPLB):
International Rice Research Institute Cafeteria – To think that there are a lot of international students and even employees in Los Banos, I was disappointed that there were no halal restaurants near UPLB. There was once an Indian restaurant we ate at – Ashok – but when we dropped by, they no longer existed. Good thing IRRI cafeteria offered halal food (where my family and I always go to), though quality of food is not so exceptional.
Based on research, here are some other halal restaurants you could try:
Bonifacio Global City: Halal guys (also available in Megamall), Persia Grill, Beiruti Bite Express
Makati (specifically in Glorietta/ Greenbelt): Kashmir (Rustan’s Supermarket); Gilak by Hossein (2F Greenbelt 3); Pasha (G3); Mediterranean Cafe (G1); New Bombay (food court or Ground Floor))
Since he went to Baguio, I helped him research on halal restaurants and found these three:
Ahmad brothers cafe
Address: Jose Miguel Building 2, #1 Yandoc Street, corner Naguilian Road) located beside justice hall, basement of hotel caterina
Contact #: 0908 740 7284
Ali’s House of Shawarma
Address: 177 Upper Bonifacio st, in front/near SLU Waldo Gate
Rumah Sate Restaurant
Address: Located at Ketchup community
It was quite fun and challenging for me to actually research and find halal restaurants in the Metro. Made me realize how difficult it probably is for our Muslim friends to find good food here. I know there are more hole in the wall halal restaurants in the metro – a thorough search in the internet will show this – so you just need to do your homework beforehand. Up next, I will share some grocery items we bought that are halal certified.