The idea for GoHalalVietnam! started on a warm Saigon evening when I met one of my Malaysian friends in 2011. She had met me from my Vietnam blog and was asking for advice on being halal in Saigon. I knew there were many more halal restaurants across the city so I decided to create a new website devoted to this endeavor. My friend would even come along with me as I visited some of these restaurants.
In the end I visited over 50 restaurants that claimed to be halal. I also visited a couple halal butchers. In the end only about 10 would really be considered halal. Many of the rest said they were halal but I could not be sure of the source of the meat. The majority served alcohol AND were able to get halal certification of their restaurants.
This was the state of the halal industry in Vietnam in 2011. At that time, you could even find halal-certified pork! Still, I was able to provide a list of restaurants to Muslim tourists. By 2014, there were many more restaurants that painted halal on their signs without proper certification or proof. Then I finally and several of my other Muslim friends finally came to this reality:
The amount of halal restaurants in Saigon and the halal food they provided exceeded the amount of halal meat, domestically or imported, that was available at the time. “Halal” tour agencies will ask halal restaurants to replace the expensive halal meat with cheaper non-halal substitutes.
This resulted GoHalalVietnam!‘s halal list of restaurants becoming smaller and smaller but we kept persisting. Inshallah, we will keep updating our list of restaurants.
2020-2021 Covid-19 Realities
The current Covid-19 devastated the halal restaurant industry in Vietnam. Yet several restaurants survived. Not surprisingly, these were the restaurants that catered to the Muslim community even before the halal restaurant craze started. GoHalalVietnam! plans to continue to support these restaurant and help prepare a new and updated list for future Muslim tourists and Expats planning to visit Vietnam.
Kerim Nur, Founder of GoHalalVietnam!
New Halal Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City
There is larger Muslim Expatriate community in Ho Chi Minh City now. With this new community came new Middle Eastern and Arabic restaurants. Many are butchering their own meat to abide by halal requirements. We will add these restaurants gradually by the summer of 2021. You will be able to see this list at the Halal in Saigon page.