Muslims feel ‘safe’ cooking, eating halal ramen in Kyoto

KYOTO: A ramen noodle restaurant that has opened here allows Muslims to cook their own meals using halal ingredients with the help of staff members.

Ramen Factory in Higashiyama Ward is run by Japan Food Entertainment Inc. based in Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward, operator of the popular ramen restaurant Menbaka Ichidai in the city.

Halal foods are considered permissible under traditional Islamic law, which forbids pork and alcohol.

Instead of using roasted pork, a standard ramen topping, the Muslim customer-chef can use chicken instead.
Alcohol-free soy sauce is used for flavor. The soup broth contains salt, wheat, rice and miso produced from boiled and fermented soybeans.

“It’s very stressful for Muslims traveling in Japan to worry about whether food at eateries contains ingredients that we are not allowed to eat,” said Sinaga Ganda, 21, an Indonesian employee at Ramen Factory.

With Japanese “tenugui” hand towels wrapped around their heads, an Indonesian family cooked their own ramen at Ramen Factory.

“I am so happy to cook and eat halal ramen in Japan, where it originated from,” said Rahma Yulianti, 37, who was visiting Kyoto for sightseeing. “Even in Indonesia, we can rarely find halal noodle restaurants. I feel so safe eating noodles at a ramen restaurant that uses only halal ingredients.”

Ramen Factory, which also features a prayer room, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Its days of operation are irregular.
A general course starts from 3,500 yen ($31). (The Asahi Shimbun)