Thailand’s Culinary Journey: Embracing Halal  Cuisine to Welcome Muslim Tourists

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Thailand’s Culinary Journey: Embracing Halal Cuisine to Welcome Muslim Tourists

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BANGKOK: Thailand has long been renowned for its aromatic and spicy cuisine, drawing in visitors from around the globe. Now, the country is making strides to cater to Muslim tourists by offering halal versions of its popular dishes.

Since re-establishing diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia in 2022, Thailand has placed a greater emphasis on attracting visitors from Muslim-majority countries. A recent government initiative aims to position Thailand as the “halal kitchen of the world” and Southeast Asia’s “halal hub” through a 2024-2028 tourism promotion plan.

The Halal Science Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok plays a crucial role in ensuring adherence to halal food regulations. Their Halal Assurance, Liability-Quality System (HAL-Q) standardization system is utilized by numerous food factories and restaurants across the country, enabling them to market their products as halal.

Dr. Winai Dahlan, the center’s founding director, emphasizes the importance of introducing halal Thai cuisine as a form of soft power for Thailand. With over 900 halal restaurants in Bangkok alone, Dahlan believes the country is well-equipped to welcome Muslim tourists.

One such venue is Sook Siam at ICONSIAM Mall, where the Kan Tang stand serves halal versions of iconic Thai dishes like tom yum soup and pad thai. While some halal food markets may be lesser-known among Muslim travelers, locations like Jodd Fairs Night Market and Pratunam Market offer a variety of halal options, albeit requiring some exploration to find.

For Muslim visitors like Nani Rohayu from neighboring Malaysia, navigating Bangkok’s culinary scene is made easier with the help of social media recommendations. Rohayu finds joy in discovering new halal eateries throughout the city, showcasing the wealth of options available to Muslim travelers.

As Thailand continues to promote itself as a halal-friendly destination, initiatives like these highlight the country’s commitment to catering to the diverse needs of its visitors, fostering inclusivity and culinary exploration for all.