Thursday, 7 April 2011

Eating Halal

I am a self-confessed foodie who enjoy cooking, trying new food, shopping in traditional markets, and travelling.  I grew up with a father who encourages me to try every kind of food under the sun as long as it's real.  Real food means we can trace where the ingredients come from, be it animal or plant. Nowadays a lot of food in the market have beautiful colorful looks that can last 1 or 2 years..!! We don't know what's really inside it that can make it so vibrant and long lasting.  To him and me, those food are not real.. as we don't know what chemical, colouring or industrial waste go inside them.


 I was raised as a Chinese Christian who loved my mom's pork knuckle stew, mapo tauhu, snake soup, fried spareribs, and sweet and sour pork. 

When I lived in US, i frequented Tony Roma's for the famous baby back ribs and Denny's for the crispy bacon on breakfast plates.  Living in Indonesia enabled me to enjoy delicious spicy Crabs in Padang Sauce, sample Kelelawar Rica Rica from Menado (bats in spicy sauce) and slurped the sweet taucho-based frog leg soup of Swike Jatiwangi. Spending my college years in California has exposed me to drinking wines and mexican tequilas. I enjoyed the Mexican food tremendously, from the humble tacos to menudos.  I ate everything i wanted to eat, as long as it's not poisonous and my wallet could afford it...

The word halal came only when i had to go dining out with my muslim friends.  I used to be irritated when I had to settle eating in the same restaurant almost everyday in Paris because that is the only halal restaurant my friend could eat.  For a person who wanted to try French food in Paris, Pastas in Italy, Tapas in Spain, and Bratwurst in German, settling for some vegetarian fried rice at a cheap Asian joint in Paris was just madness. But again, my parents taught me to be tolerant and respect other people's religious requirements.

So.... when i converted to Islam 11 years ago, all my friends went, "WHAT????"" Some thought I was out of my mind, some thought I was delusional, some thought I was sick and had cancer, and some even thought that my boyfriend (my husband now) brainwashed me..!! And the first thing that they asked me,"So... if you convert to Islam, will you still eat pork?"  When I answered, "Of course I won't eat pork anymore", then come the second question," Are you sure you choose the right man?" Then they will keep on repeating the same jokes,"Aduuuu...uuh, you are missing the delicious taste of roasted pork for a strange guy from Malaysia."

Well... 11 years passed since the last time I had Smoked Polish Sausages, Bak Kut Teh and Char Siew.  It was not that difficult afterall.. Sure I miss it sometimes, but over the years my tastebuds had grown, my choices of food had refined, my knowledge of ingredients had improved and my lifestyle had changed.  Looking back, I was surprised that my cholesterol level was within normal range.  Now I carefully choose what I eat as the food has to be halal and healthy.  I avoid junk foods and frizzy drinks as well as food with empty calories.  I believe I am eating better food and enjoying healthier lifestyle.

Living here in Malaysia, i find it very convenient to get "pork replacements".  I can find chicken char siew, chikuteh, beef ribs, beef bacon, chicken wantan and smoked chicken sausages.. I can even still go to Tony Roma's for their ribs..!!


 


Until now, some of my friends still asked me," Have you ever regretted your decision to stop eating pork?".  To my friends, I answered ,"If I have to choose between a pig and a nice, kind, trustworthy husband, which one do you think i will choose?"  They just laugh and still think i am crazy....:)

2 comments:

  1. I stopped eating beef for a long long time and never missed it. Except when I am in California where I enjoy In&Out burger!

    Muay

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  2. Hi Muay, such a nice surprise to see you here..;) Thanks for dropping by.. Well, occassionally I do miss some bbq ribs, but when i felt like that, i would just indulge in d substitute, like bbq beef ribs plus melt-in-my-mouth mud cake with ice cream.. After that meal, usually i forget the craving. And yes, I do miss In-n-Out Burger now...:)

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