To accommodate the increasing number of Muslim tourists, as well as looking to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan is becoming more conscious of halal. 60 percent of Malaysia’s population is Muslim, so of course most products at supermarkets are halal, with only a small non-halal section with pork hidden in a corner. But, since Japanese cuisine uses a lot of alcohol and pork, nearly all Japanese restaurants in Johor Bahru are non-halal. There are plenty of Japanophiles in JB, but Muslims simply can’t eat the food at these restaurants.
I really want more Malaysian people to know the delicious flavors of Japanese cuisine. Every day I help with marketing to try to develop Japanese food products even Muslims could enjoy.
One day I discovered instant ramen made by Nisshin Foods that had the halal seal at My Outlets Global Halal Hub! Made by Nisshin at a factory in Singapore, this ramen had attained halal certification.
Shoyu and miso ramen are halal of course, and by replacing pork extract with chicken extract, you can imagine how the flavor wouldn’t change very much. But I wasn’t expecting to see “Kyushu ramen.” When you think of Kyushu ramen you immediately think of pork bones, so how can you make Kyushu ramen without pork?
I immediately bought some so I could see for myself. Looking at the ingredients label, it seems they use milk powder to make a cloudy broth, and they also use special oil for aroma. I prepared some and gave it a try. The pork-bone flavor was weak, but it was very good. This will do!
Some days later I had 20 Muslim Malaysians try it out. The youngest was a 10-year-old boy and the oldest was an 84-year-old woman. Even though Japanese food is famous worldwide, I was surprised to find that only one of these 20 people had ever eaten ramen before. Many Muslims want to try Japanese ramen but can’t. If there was more Halal ramen, more people around the world could enjoy Japanese food.
I made Halal Chicken chashu with an ajitama egg, green onions, and fried onions as toppings. I also replaced the mirin alcohol used in “kaeshi” sauce with apple juice. I wondered, will they like it?…
In the end, everyone loved it!
In Malaysia they don’t eat raw egg, so the soft-boiled tasted egg was a first for them, but thankfully they liked it. Many Malaysians like spicy foods, so most of them thought it would be better with more spice. If we added some extra spices, Japanese ramen could really catch on!
Now, why don’t we open up a Halal ramen shop?