China is a wide and vast country, with many different cultures blended together. That's what makes China China! As a Muslim, China wasn't a country that I thought would be accessible for me to eat like I always do - like a glutton. Not only did I eat my body weight in glorious Halal food, the heat of China kept me drinking all things fruity.

Sadia Mir

I visited Guangzhou, the capital of China's third biggest province Guangdong. The first thing I noticed, on my way to my hotel, was a small cafe with a big green sign plastered over it. As a Muslim, that big green sign became my best friend. It is exactly the same Halal sign as that in the UK, which put my heart at ease. Whilst I cannot go as far to say that there was halal food everywhere I travelled, you are sure to find a restaurant close to you if you leave yourself enough time to search the area. Explore and eat well.

The Cuisine

Lamb, mutton and beef are the most common meats found in Halal Chinese cuisine. Most of the dishes are soup or broth based, spiced with turmeric, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.

Sadia Mir

One of the most well known Halal dishes is the Lamian Beef Noodle Soup (picture above). This is a must eat - not only is the food delicious, you get to see the art of hand pulled 'Lamian' noodles (La, meaning pull or stretch, and Mian meaning noodles). It was done effortlessly and tasted just as magical. The flavours, again, are those that aren't uncommon to the UK Muslim palate, with handfuls of coriander and onions flavouring the light, brothy dish. If there's only one thing you decide to eat in China, it has to be this classic. 

#SpoonTip: The clearer the broth, the better the quality of your dish overall.

Sharing Is Caring

Here in the UK, we're not much for sharing dishes with others. When we go out, we all sit together and eat our own dishes, occasionally letting someone have a taste. In China, lunch is dominated by a lovely tradition called 'Dim Sum'. You select several different dishes, all served in small plates or steam baskets. These portion sizes are perfect for sharing, so everyone can taste a little bit of everything. Dim Sum restaurants feature a special table that allows the dishes to be rotated on a glass dish that spans over the table, allowing each person to serve themselves. In England, it is better known as a 'Lazy Susan' and is not very common.

Sadia Mir

There is no such thing as no double dipping - you just have to make sure you don't eat from the sharing bowl. Everyone is provided with an eating bowl and you use your chopsticks (or forks if you ask your servers very politely for one!) to take as much or as little of each dish as you desire. Be your own chef for the day and create your own mini meals full of different flavours in your little bowl.

The highlight of my Dim Sum adventures was the 'Fried Mantou' or, as my Chinese friends helpfully described, Chinese 'Doughnuts'. These delicious fried buns were accompanied with a sweetened condensed milk dip. Had it not be Dim Sum, I would have eaten them all be myself.

Snacks, Glorious Snacks

Anytime I go away, I have to come back with atleast half my suitcase filled with snacks. Now, you're not going to find everything marked clearly as halal if you go into any general convenience store but do not fear. Products imported from Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan that are Halal will usually have the Halal symbol on the packet. So helpful

Sadia Mir

Whilst my wonderfully understanding Chinese friends would check the packets for me, don't be afraid to ask the store owner about the ingredients. Common phrases will help you to get your point across so that the store owner wont sell you something you shouldn't be eating. Learn the phrases here.

C-Pop, K-Pop and Anime

Guys, you knew this was coming. If you're in the Guangdong area, and these are your interests, you've hit a gold mine. Not only is there advertising of idols and characters on drinks and icecream, there are many hotspots for buying merchandise. Try out Comic City or OneLink International Plaza. Both of these places are reasonably priced (and much cheaper than buying in the UK) and have more than enough stock for you to make a full day trip out of shopping.

Sadia Mir

You Can Eat Halal in China

So, whether you considered China before or not, you can now be safe in the knowledge that a Muslim can visit China and eat well. It is always best to brush up on food phrases before you leave and to have the address of known halal restaurants near your hotel in both English and Chinese. There are also many 'Halal China' tours popping up at the moment due to the increased involvement of the Chinese-Pakistani trade movement. Whatever you chose to do, be sure not to cross China off your list the next time you're thinking of going on a culinary adventure

Sadia Mir

#SpoonTip: If you visit China, it is advised not to drink the tap water. Bottled water is especially cheap in China and is your recommend source of hydration.