Halal in Vietnam
In the last couple years, there has been an increase of halal restaurants in Saigon based on Indian and Malaysian cuisines. Many are located in District 1 but there are small good Halal restaurants in the Phu Nhuan District. My goal is to visit each of the halal restaurants and blog about them.
Warning on impersonating Muslims at fake halal restaurants
Several restaurants are forcing their Vietnamese staff to impersonate as Muslims including making girls cover their heads. I confronted one restaurant already in District 5 about this, two restaurants in District 1 are doing this now. If you enter a restaurant and see most of the female staff covering their heads, they are NOT Muslims. The same for guys claiming to be Muslims. This is a problem through 2020 unfortunately.
In comparison, most of the restaurants run by Cham Muslims in Vietnam DO NOT cover their heads.
Warning on Halal Certificates
In Vietnam, the halal certificate and halal logo can be bought for 18 million VND ($750 USD). Many halal certified food items in Vietnam have not been tested for their halal-ness. If the halal label is on any Vietnamese food item, assume it is not halal. Instead, look for the Made in Malaysia halal certificates on food items to be safe. Some restaurants within the mosques/masjids will serve Vietnam food items, i.e. hot sauce, that say halal but are not.
Many restaurants in HCMC alone will have a halal certificate AND a Muslim chef but unless listed below, the restaurant cannot be confirmed as halal. Sadly, even with halal certification, many restaurants claiming they are halal serve alcohol. This is a big problem the halal industry in Vietnam. It was rumored that you could find halal certified pork in Vietnam at one time.
Some Muslims also visit non-halal restaurants in both HCMC and My Tho claiming they are halal. Those restaurants are NOT halal unless they have been mentioned on this site (meaning several Muslims confirmed they were halal).
Rule of thumb 1: “Just because you see Muslims eating in a restaurant does not mean it is halal…”
Rule of thumb 2: “If you see a halal logo on the restaurant signage, it is most likely not halal.”
Rule of thumb 3: “Restaurant owners and managers will always say they are halal when they are not.”
Rule of thumb 4: “Because you see a Malaysian traveler in a restaurant does not mean the establishment is halal.”
Vietnamese Tour Agencies
Be forewarned, there are NO halal tours in Vietnam as of 2020. The last one shutdown back in 2018. Vietnamese tour agencies will take Muslims to restaurants that state they are a halal. Unless they are on the list below, use extreme caution. Halal is just another means to make money here. Tour Guides will say anything to earn a commission so again, be aware of this. Several tour agency owners will say they are a Muslim “convert” even though they are not a Muslim. Just be forewarned.
Below is a short list of tour agencies claiming to offer “halal” tours that you should be warned about:
- MuslimTravelVietnam.com – This so-called “Muslim” tour operator copied my content, including photos, from both my websites focusing on halal food and then accused me of slander. You are just Mu$lims to them.
- Vietnam Tour Co., Ltd – The owners of the above website.
- HalalFoodinVietnam.com (Hanoi) – owner identifies himself as a Muslim convert. He copied portions of my halal website and refused to remove it even though he admitted it was my content. There is only one confirmed halal restaurant in Hanoi at a hotel, most Muslims in Hanoi butcher their own halal meat so it is impossible, and not legal, for restaurants to have halal meat in Hanoi.
- Hi-Class Travels (same owner as above)
- Any Vietnamese-owned travel agency offering halal tours – many of these companies negotiate with restaurants to replace halal meats with non-halal meat so they can earn higher revenue. This is a common practice in Vietnam.
Below is a short list of safe halal restaurants in Saigon. I confirmed with several other local Muslims on whether the restaurants below are halal or not. We kept the list small making easier for Muslims to choose the restaurant.
Hanafi Muslims: All of the halal restaurants below serve crab, prawns and seafood.
Halal Food in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
The following restaurants can be confirmed halal, they all get their halal meat from the Amine Halal Meat Supplier (District 7), Hanafi Halal Meat Supplier (Phu Nhuan District) or from Haji Chay Mohamad from the District 8 masjid.
None of the restaurants below serves alcohol.
Note: A large number of restaurants on Nguyen An Ninh street state they are halal, unfortunately many or not. You are safe just visiting Basiron or Salima. The Daun is nearby, probably the most popular halal restaurant in the city.
- Basiron – District 1 (near Ben Thanh Market on Nguyen An Ninh street) – Offers great halal pho. Their restaurant has become more and more popular with Malaysian tourists.
- Halal@Saigon – 31 Dong Du, District 1 – well-known halal restaurant wholly-owned and run by Muslims. A great restaurant to visit for travelers and locals alike. Ask the managers for their recommendations if you are new to Halal@Saigon. If you are looking for budget prices, give them a call or email before visiting Vietnam.
- Halal Kitchen – 96B Nam Khia Khoi Nghia, District 1 (located next to several Muslim shops) – This restaurant’s chef is well known among the local Muslim community. He has worked in many of the halal restaurants in the city.
- Pho Muslim – District 1 (Behind the Nancy Mosque) – Another favorite for local and visiting Muslims a like. In the mornings you can have halal pho, in the evenings halal bun bo hue. The small restaurant is in an alleyway in the Muslim part of District 1. Prices are very affordable for budget travelers.
- Salima – 22 Nguyen An Nninh, (1st floor inside An Tam Hotel) , District 1 – Family run business aiming to provide the halal restaurant experience in Saigon.
- The Daun – 305 Ly Tu Trong, District 1 – Great halal restaurant managed by a Singaporean Muslim. One of the most realiable halal restaurants in Saigon.
- Quan An 64 – 641 Nguyen Trai, District 5 (At the Cholon Mosque) – another halal favorite offering Vietnamese and Malaysian food. I love the curry rice dishes there.
- Kedai Makanan Halal Idriss – 12N Nguyen Thi Tan, P.3, District 8 – serves halal Vietnamese and Cham cuisine in more of a Vietnamese restaurant environment. Worth the visit if you have the time. Very pleasant family runs this restaurant.
Phu Nhuan District
- Kedai Makan Melayu Champa – 111/33 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan District (after bridge, turn right at market and look for alleyway on left) – A great halal restaurant that serves halal Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisines. A little hard to find but worth it. The Muslim chef caters for many hotels in the city. You will meet many local Cham Muslims in this area.
- Sara Halal Food – 67 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan District – Serves halal Cham cuisine. I used to frequent this restaurant 3-4 times per week when I lived nearby. Come after 5 pm. The owner and cook are Muslims. The chicken fried rice dishes are my favorite dishes there. Very affordable for budget travelers.
- Satayhouse Malaysia – 307/25 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan District – Malaysian owner and cook serving some of the best satay and nasi goreng in the city. One of the most frequented restaurants by local Malays. The chef is well known among the Muslim community. I recommend coming around lunchtime when most of the food is fresh.
Halal Food in Hanoi
I can only confirm two halal restaurants that do not serve alcohol in Hanoi. It is very difficult to get any halal meat in Hanoi despite the prevalence of the usage of halal with restaurants there.
- Melia Hanoi Hotel Restaurant – 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street – This restaurant was confirmed halal by the Turkish muslim community in Hanoi. Prices may be high for those traveling on a budget.
- Nisa Restaurant – No. 32 Hang Tre St., Hoan Kiem District – Owned by a Muslim, Nisa serves halal Malaysian cuisine in Hanoi. This restaurant was confirmed halal by the Muslim owner of Halal@Saigon.