Halal is an Arabic term meaning "permissible".In the English language, it most frequently refers to food that is permissible according to Islamic law. In the Arabic language, it refers to anything that is permissible under Islam. It is estimated that 70% of Muslims worldwide follow Halal food standards and that the Global Halal Market is currently a USD 580 billion industry.
In Xiamen, there are quite a few restaurants operated by Muslims. All of them are halal, but some may not be as strict, especially the little eating stores that sell noodles, sliced beef and lamb.
Apart from Indian Muslim food which can be found at Indiano John’s Samrat Restaurant and Rus Tikka Restaurant which serve halal Indian cuisine, most of other halal cuisine in Xiamen is from Xinjiang.
Xinjiang cuisine has a Central Asian flavor and many of its dishes use Turkish spices and flavorings. Both the Uyghur and Hui minorities are Muslims, so meat dishes comprise mainly mutton, beef, chicken and occasionally, duck.
Mutton is the highlight of Xinjiang cuisine.
Xinjiang roast mutton is said to be as famous as Beijing’s roast duck and Guangzhou’s crispy suckling pig.
After a coating of whisked egg, chopped ginger, scallions and pepper, the mutton is put into a stove to roast for about an hour until it turns golden brown.
Xinjiang kebabs are a popular snack that can be found in streets and bazaars. Chunks of mutton are strung on a skewer and roasted over charcoal.
Stewed mutton cubes are a dish prepared specially for festivals. These cubes are boiled with onions, pepper, ginger slices, carrots, turnips and tomatoes.
Uyghur Rice or, in Mandarin, zhuafan (which literally means grabbed rice), is rice cooked with fresh mutton, onions, carrots, vegetable oil and melted sheep’s fat.
Raisins and almonds are often added for flavoring. As its name suggests, you eat it with your hands. This dish is a must at festivals and wedding banquets.
Roast dumplings contain a mixture of mutton, beef and sheep’s tail fat with chopped onions, salt and pepper added. It is then wrapped in dough and oven baked for 20 minutes. It is often eaten with nang (crusty pancakes that resemble Indian naan) and Uyghur rice.
Unlike elsewhere in China, Xinjiang’s staple food is noodles, not rice. La mian (which means “pulled noodles” in Mandarin), is served with deep-fried mutton, stir-fried eggs and tomatoes, and stir-fried chillies. Ban mian noodles are served with mutton and a spicy vegetable stew. Both dishes are very popular.