Translated by Lester Somera
Savor The Taste Of Different Cultures At Kobe Halal Food
Written by Osawa Kumi
Kobe, the site of Japan's first Muslim mosque, has plenty of shops that stock certified halal food. Let's look at one in the Kitano area, Kobe Halal Food.
In Kobe, where Japan’s first mosque was built eight decades ago, there are many halal food stores which deal in food items that have been made according to Muslim precepts. This time we’ll introduce you to one of those stores in the Kitano area of Kobe, Kobe Halal Food. The owner, Muhammad Nadeem Khan, who worked in food transport and sales in Kansai, opened Kobe Halal Food 12 years ago.
Related articles: Visit The 80-Year Old Muslim Mosque in Kobe, Japan's First
What is Kobe Halal Food?
If you leave the shopping quarter of Sannomiya and walk up the hill road as you look toward Mt. Rokko, Kobe Halal Food will come into view on your left. The shop’s customers are not limited to people from Kobe - apparently people come from all over Kansai, and approximately 60 percent of the shop’s customers, are Muslims.
About Language Support and the Shop Atmosphere
When we went, it was Friday, and the shop was full of people who had come to shop after saying prayers at the Kobe Muslim Mosque. This group, who came from Kakogawa, a city west of Kobe, said that they buy meat, naan, drinks, chili sauce and other products here almost every week. They gladly agreed to let us take pictures. The man in the black T-shirt is holding beef.
The most popular meat products here are mutton and lamb. Many people buy in bulk, so almost all of the meat is sold in frozen 1kg or 2kg packs.
There are many Pakistani, Arab, and Indonesian customers, and while generally English and Japanese are spoken at the shop, Indonesian and Malay are also understood, depending on the staff at the time. In addition, there is an online retailer, and orders can be delivered from all over Japan. When we visited, the staff were busily running to and fro.
What Does the Store Sell?
Some Muslim tourists have heard about Kobe Halal Food via the Internet, and will occasionally pay the shop a visit. While they do buy instant food, apparently many people are curious about what exactly the shop sells. This Japan-made ramen is certified halal.
You can see the halal certification mark on the upper-right corner of the package. Most of the items sold here have received halal certification, and the ingredients of those which haven’t are carefully inspected by the staff, so the store only handles products that can be trusted.
People who come from abroad also buy sweets and other treats. While they contain a wide range of ingredients, they are carefully checked before being sold, so you can have peace of mind.
For Japanese customers, these spices are quite popular. Coriander, fennel, cloves, cardamom and other rare seasonings are lined up in a small space. They are also reasonably priced, and being able to buy them in small quantities is another plus.
Are There Any Intriguing Rare Items?
The staff kindly recommended some particularly unusual items that are stocked at Kobe Halal Food.
First is this Indonesian instant coffee. The green stick in the middle is durian coffee. If you’ve never had durian before, how about trying out this coffee?
Fufu powder is often purchased by Muslims of African descent. Made of cassava, yam, yaro and other tubers, it is mixed with hot water and kneaded before being eaten.
These are the people we spoke with at Kobe Halal Food during our visit. The man in the center is the owner, Mr. Khan. The staff were all very kind, so you can ask them if you need any help, even in a language other than Japanese or English.
Kobe Halal Food
Address: Kobe, Chuo, Nakayamate-dori 2-17-13, Nishijima Building 1F
Hours: 10:30-20:00 (During Ramadan, open until 21:00)
Closed: No fixed holidays
Other Languages: English
Pamphlets in Other Languages: Yes
Nearest Station: Sannomiya Station (JR, Hankyu, Hanshin, subway lines)
Access: 10 minutes on foot from the Sannomiya Station area on the Yamate side
Website: Kobe Halal Food