For this lazy Thursday, am suddenly craving for a tasty serving of shrimp biryani at Ghazal, the best little hole-on-the-wall for Middle Eastern food in my book, even better than Shawarma Center. Don’t expect anything fancy, the resto is an affair of eight or so tables in the busy thoroughfare that is Mabini St. in Manila, a walking distance from the Hyatt Hotel. What you can find here: various kinds of biryani and tikka, kebabs, lassi and other home-cooked specialties that escape me now. In this place, I go to the extremes and slather my hot rice with butter… it’s really good!
Ghazal just happens to be one of a few restaurants in the city serving authentic halal food. There is certainly much demand for places offering halal food… but the question is, where to go?
For purposes of this discussion, halal means food that’s permissible to consume by Muslims and non-pork eating people. They shouldn’t contain pork or pork-related products (such as lard) and must have gone through the proper slaughtering process.
Luckily, I have Facebook friend Fahim to show us. There happens to be a useful guide being distributed to students of Asia’s top management school AIM which should come in handy for expats and Muslim tourists to the country looking for genuine halal food. Here it goes:
Assad’s Café - Pakistani joint serving decent Indian and Pakistani fare. Value for money. Meals cost P400 for two. U.N. Avenue, opposite Unilever, Paco, Manila. Telephone No. 5261349, 5265034
Ghazal - Muslim-owned eatery. 1551 A. Mabini Street, Ermita, Manila
Halal Caterer to Indonesian & Brunei embassies (Gerry) - serves/caters halal meals on daily basis on request; separate cutting boards, knives & utensils for halal meal preparation. Charges Peso 40 delivery charge per dinner, if less than 5 orders. Cebu Financial Services, Rolex Building, Paseo De Roxas (next to AIM)
Hossein’s Persian Kebab - Meals for two cost an average of P1,000. Original branch at 7857 Makati Avenue, Makati (Telephone no. 890-6137) Can also be found in Serendra.