Ramadan Mubarak! As a Muslim living in America, it is a challenge to dine out. If I am in the mood to eat a certain cuisine, I can not simply go to a restaurant without asking the essential question: Is it Halal? However, the beauty of being a Los Angeles native is that I get to ask that question less often because there is a diverse array of Halal restaurants to choose from right here in LA! So before you leave UCLA, please check out these places for Iftar if you don’t mind commuting with an empty stomach.
Disclaimer: This article may cause hunger
1. Dave’s Hot Chicken ($$)
Courtesy of @daveshotchicken
A Muslim Student Association favorite for its unique flavors of Nashville and for its spectrum of heat levels to choose from, including its spiciest level: the reaper. The fried chicken sandwich is a must have this Ramadan.
2. Lemongrass ($$)
Courtsey of lemongrassthaionline.com
Did you know that the reason why there so many Thai restaurants in America is because the Thai government funds them for diplomatic reasons. In addition, you can never go wrong with Pad thai and Tom yum soup to break your fast for iftar.
3. Al-Noor ($$)
Courtesy of @alnoor.restaurant
With specialty dishes such as chicken tikka masala, it is no wonder that renowned LA times food critic Jonathan Gold wrote a great review about this place. The head chef/owner of the restaurant features his naan recipe on Food Network.
4. World Famous Grill ($$)
Courtesy of worldfamousgrill.com
There are days in my Muslim life where I crave a burger, and this place is built for that mission. In the restaurant, there used to be a wall of photographs that featured all the customers that were successful in completing the “Wall of Fame” challenge of eating a one-pound burger.
5. 786 Degrees ($$)
Courtesy of @786degrees
The name of the restaurant originates from the temperature it takes to make his wood-fire style oven pizzas with flavors such as Chicken Tikka Masala, Shrimp Tuscany and El-Chapo. Also, the Head chef/owner, Ali Haider, competes and wins in pizza competitions.
6. Halal Guys ($)
Courtesy of @thehalalguyssocal
The legendary New York City food cart that started in 1990 to cater to Muslim Cab drivers has expanded to franchises across the world. With menu options such as beef gyro, chicken and falafel, you will always come out of the restaurant as a happy camper.
7. Mutiara Food and Market ($)
Courtesy of mutiara-food-and-market.top-cafes.com
This restaurant specializes in many cuisines: Burmese, Singaporean and Malaysian food, but the owner of the restaurant, Myo Aung, will always personally remember your order. First-timers to the restaurant should know that one must park behind the restaurant, enter a gated door, and walk through a long-skinny hallway with peach colored walls before placing an order at the register.
8. I CanBarbecue ($$)
Courtesy of I Can Barbeque Korean Grill Business owner/Yelp
This is the only Korean Barbeque restaurant in LA that features a separate zabiha halal menu. The location’s commute time from UCLA to Irvine is quite far, so plan ahead.
9. Al-Watan ($$)
Courtesy of alwatanrestaurant.com
This is one of the first halal restaurants that I remember going to in LA and I still go for dishes such as Nihari and seekh kebab. Also, this is the only halal restaurant that I know that is appreciated by a US state government agency.
10. Nomad Asian Bistro ($$)
Courtesy of nomadasianbistro.com
Nomad specializes in Hui cuisine: Chinese Islamic cuisine. However, they serve halal American Chinese food favorites as well such as orange chicken, kung pao chicken, and chow mein.
No matter what type of food you are eating for your next iftar, remember that the purpose of Ramadan is to honor the first revelations of the Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Happy Ramadan!