Being Muslim in Korea can be hard sometimes. Especially about the food. It’s difficult to find halal food. It’s not about not eating pork or drinking alcohol. I make this post because Inha University Summer School will start soon. The new regular semester also will start at the end of next month. So, I hope this post will help new muslim students. 😉
Summer school students will live in the dormitory. As i know, breakfast & dinner are provided by the dorm. And here the problem begins. LOL. I lived at the dormitory on my first semester. At that time, the breakfast & lunch were included in dormitory fee, so I felt like it’s a waste of money if I don’t eat at the dorm. The rule was changed the next semester, the meal fee is not included but student can buy meal coupon from CU near the lobby. The coupon was only for lunch when I stayed there.
Most of the time, food at the dorm will contain pork, meat, or chicken. Well, some people still eat meat as long as it’s not pork. But, i choose not to eat them if it’s not mentioned as halal. So, if you’re like me, it’ll be kinda difficult. The menu will be posted outside the dorm cafetaria (english version available). You can check it beforehand and only take the food that you can eat. Mostly the vegetable, kimchi, fish, and other seafood like squid or shrimp. If you aren’t sure, ask the staff. Tell them that you don’t eat meat (고기 안먹어요 – gogi an-meogoyo) or i don’t eat pork (돼지 고기 안먹어요 – dwaeji gogi an-meogoyo). Most of them will understand and will tell you which one you can’t eat. Sometimes, when they have fried rice, they put spam or bacon inside. You can ask the staff to give you the white rice only (흰쌀 – hin-ssal). Sometimes the staff is kind enough to give me more seaweed (gim) when there isn’t much that I can eat there. Haha.
There’s a small kitchen at each floor of the dorm. There’s stove and microwave available. There’s fridge too. You can cook simple meal there.
For lunch, I guess you’ll eat around university area. There are some cafetarias in campus. For example, in Biryong Plaza (the building where Hana Bank located, across the pond) and Seohogwan (near the baseball field). They usually have more choices and the price is not expensive. I usually eat there for less than 3000 KRW. To eat at the cafetaria, take the tray, choose your food, and pay them at the cashier.
Another popular place is at the back gate area (humun). There are a lot of restaurants there. There are 2 self-proclaimed halal restaurant in this area. The first one is Mughal Mahal Restaurant, an Indian restaurant. To go to this place, from the street next to CU on back gate area just go straight to Rainbow PC Bang direction. It’s around 20m before the PC Bang, on the 2nd floor. It sells Mutton Biryani (10000 KRW), Chicken Biryani (8000 KRW), Chicken Tikka, and other Indian foods. The second one is Kebab Jib (케밥 집 – literally Kebab House). To go to this place, from CU walk in the right side and turn right on the first small street there. It’s before Caffe Benne. And then just go straight for around 100m(?). The restaurant is on the right side. The main menu is of course, Kebab. I forgot the exact price, but I think it’s around 5000 KRW.
Other than these halal restaurants, I usually go to 24 hour kimbab house, kim-ssi som-ssi kimbab, or some 4000 KRW restaurants like Yawoori. I usually eat bibimbab, chamchi (tuna) kimbab (ask them to remove the spam/ham – 햄 빼주세요 haem ppaejuseyo), shrimp fried rice, ojingeo deopbab, or fish (saengseon gui). Or alchon, the food is similar to bibimbab but with fish roe. Tell them to remove the meat too (고기 빼주세요 – gogi ppaejuseyo). If you’re using hijab, usually the staff will ask if you want the meat to be removed.
Sometimes I also eat sundubu jjigae at Kingkong Sundubu Jjigae. They have big squid (tong ojingeo) or clam option.
For fancier meal, I usually go to Pastario or Han’s Deli for their seafood pasta. For fastfood, I usually buy Shrimp Burger or Squid (Ojingeo) Burger in Lotteria. Ojingeo is better than the shrimp one! It’s cheaper too, only 2000 KRW. McD also have shrimp burger. I never tried it though. Nearest Lotteria is in Homeplus foodcourt.
Street food. There’s a lot of street food near the back gate area. My favorite is 1000 KRW waffle & juice, ddeokbokki, odeng, heotteok.
You’re only allowed to cook simple meal in dormitory kitchen. But if you want to buy some groceries like egg, cereal, soybean oil, etc you can go to Homeplus, Lotte 999, or Hameoni Mart. For you who live at Dorm 1, Homeplus is the closest one. Indonesian’s favorite Indomie and Bamboe instant fried rice seasoning is available on imported foods section for 500 KRW (yeaaa, three times more expensive than in Indonesia, with less msg too).
If you’re regular student and don’t live at the dorm, maybe you want to cook halal chicken/meat. You can buy it in Itaewon area. There are Foreign Food Mart, National Food Mart, or some other shops near the Mosque. There are a lot halal restaurants too. Mostly sell foreign food such as Indian, Turkish, Pakistan, etc. There’s Indonesian restaurant called Siti Sarah. Or you can buy online from gmarket. Just search “halal” on the search box. Or if you want some indonesian products, you can buy in Ansan. There are a lot Indonesian restaurants there. Or buy online in Indorasa. Summer school student may not need it though, the program is only 3 weeks. I bet you bring enough food from home. 😉 And to buy online you will need korean bank account, so it will be a little difficult. (You can ask your buddy’s help if you want to buy it).
There’s a super small mosque near the university called Ashrafia Mosque. My friend usually goes to this mosque for Jumat prayer. My friend told me that we can order halal meat from the imam masjid. But I never did it.
I put the map to make it easier.
Well, one thing that should be noted, almost all of the restaurant use the same cooking utensils for all the food. So, it may be contaminated with non-halal food. Cooking by yourself is still the safest option.
I’m not in Korea during summer break. But you can ask me anytime if you have question. ^^
[update] Mughal Mahal restaurant is closed now. There’s new (non-halal) restaurant in its building when I went back to Korea. T.T