‘Chinese’ and ‘Chinese Muslim Food’ in America

This post is not about Islam in China per se but I thought I should share it with everyone since its the end of the year. One interesting thing about Chinese Food in other countries is that one can come across ‘Chinese Food’ but it does not taste like ‘Chinese Food.’ Chinese Food in America many times is a watered down version of Chinese Food and does not capture the richness and diversity of the real Chinese food. However in some place like South Asia you will come across really interesting species of Chinese food also known as Desi Chinese, Pakistani Chinese, Indian Chinese or Bengali Chinese. I had the interesting experience of having Indian Chinese yesterday in NYC, Queens to be exact, and it was unlikely anything that I had before. Speaking of Chinese food, there is also something called the Chinese Muslim food. Especially in large cities like Beijing one of the most popular “fast foods” is called Muslim noodles. Neither I or anyone that I know has not come across Chinese Muslim Cuisine outside of the mainland or Malaysia. Now back to NYC, there was a lecture on Islam in China by James Frankel at the China Institute a little over a week ago. I wasn’t in NYC back then but I heard that it was good.

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27 responses to “‘Chinese’ and ‘Chinese Muslim Food’ in America

  1. BismillahirRahmanirRahim
    Salamu’alaykum,

    I have enjoyed Indian/Chinese food very much in Queens as well as in New Jersey.

    If you are in the NYC area maybe we can get together sometime inshaAllah. I meet in NYC for zikr every Friday at 7:30 on 353 W 39th St. rm 304

    -Yursil

  2. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah,

    Welcome to the blog brother Yursil. The place where I went was somewhere on Queens Boulevard. I am in DC now and no longer in NYC but if I am there again then I may stop by insha’Allah.

  3. As-salaamu’alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu

    Jazak’Allah for sharing! :D All very interesting.

    In Canada you have a mixture of Chinese restaurants too, I don’t know how ‘authentic’ they are. I have tried Indian-Chinese as well, which I enjoyed.

    Wa’alaykum as-salaam
    Farhana

  4. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah’wa’barakatahu, I have never been to Canada but I have heard that America and Canada are quite similar. My guess would be that the “Chinese” food would be quite similar in these two countries. The same applies for Indian-Chinese I presume.

  5. As-salaamu’alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu Wang Daiyu,

    Yes..the two are similar (in most ways).. although I’m biased and will tell you Canada is much better!..hehe,

    The actual Chinese population in my area is pretty high :) , hence me wondering if any of the food is authentic.

    Jazak’Allah.

    Wa’alaykum as-salaam
    Farhana

  6. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah’wa’barakatahu, haha, There are a lot of Chinese people in the US and Canada but one seldom sees a Chinese Muslim. One of the reasons is that there is next to zero dawah towards the Chinese and the ones who are doing dawah are stuck in the 18th century and know nothing about the Chinese culture. One more reason for educated and culturally sensitive Muslims to learn Chinese. :)

    -W.D

  7. As-salaamu’alaykum

    I stumbled upon your blog and have been reading in wonder. I obviously knew that there are chinese muslims but its quite another thing to read about the experiences of one.

    I have a chinese friend in Shanghai who keeps on asking me to come visit. The thing that puts me off is the thought of non-halal chinese food (I havent told him this). Do you know of any muslim districts in Shanghai?

    Jazakallah khair

    Naveed

    • There aren’t any “Muslim districts” in most eastern Chinese cities (like Shanghai), but all cities have a lot of restaurants run by Chinese muslims, most of whom are from Xinjiang and Gansu (NW China). The restaurants labeled “清真” are halal. There are probably thousands in Shanghai – in addition to restaurants run by people from Turkey or the middle east.

  8. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah’wa’barakatahu, Yes indeed, there are a lot of Chinese Muslims in China and a few in other countries as well.

    I am not familiar with a whole Muslim district in Shanghai, never been there, but there are a lot of Muslims in Shanghai so you should have no problem in finding halal food or a masjod.

  9. Assalamu alaikum

    I know exactly what you mean! The quality of real Chinese food is undersold with American Chinese restaurants – and even worse with Chinese fast food! When I visited Sum Jun China there was a Muslim owned block (A Masjid, hotel, stores and restaurant). I had the pleasure of eating good Chinese food – fresh, authentic, and halal! Other than that the fish, seafood, vegetarian dumplings, noodles, etc everywhere else I visited in China was the best.

    In my opinion the next best place after China and Hong Kong is Chinatown, NYC. Dim Sum! However, I wouldnt suggest ordering anything if you are not familar with the dishes and how they are prepared though.

  10. Assalamu alaikum

    I know exactly what you mean! The quality of real Chinese food is undersold with American Chinese restaurants – and even worse with Chinese fast food! When I visited Sum Jun China there was a Muslim owned block (A Masjid, hotel, stores and restaurant). I had the pleasure of eating good Chinese food – fresh, authentic, and halal! Other than that the fish, seafood, vegetarian dumplings, noodles, etc everywhere else I visited in China was the best.

    In my opinion the next best place after China and Hong Kong is Chinatown, NYC. Dim Sum! However, I wouldnt suggest ordering anything if you are not familar with the dishes and how they are prepared though.

  11. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah’wa’barakatahu, Ah, China Town NYC, that should have been in my list of places to visit when I was in NYC. insha’Allah next time. There is a masjid in Spanish Harlem where the khutba is given in Spanish. It would be cool if there one in China Town NYC. :)

  12. Assalamoalaykum i would like to ask u if products made from china is halal specially concerning soy sauces, chilli sauces, and flour milled and produce from china
    kind regards
    awaiting ur reply
    Regards and salaam

  13. wa’alaikum’as’salam’wa’rahmatullah’wa’barakatahu Shaffick, The ones that I have come across are halal. I would however recommend that you ask a person who is more knowledgeable on this subject. By that I mean someone who knows more about the particular brands of these items.

    wa salam,
    W.D

  14. Asalaam ualaikum,

    I am so happy to have come across this special blog! I’ve been sifting through the different threads and when I came across this one, I had to leave a comment. My family are owners of a Chinese Halal restuarant in Southern California. If anyone is ever in the LA area and looking for authentic halal Chinese food, the name of the place is Mas’ Chinese Islamic Restaurant.

    Wa salaam

  15. asslam-alaikum
    i am happy to see this kind of blog here , it really do help those who are living in Us as a muslim to find Halal food.

  16. wa’alaikum’as’salam Sakeena, Welcome to the blog. Its great to know that there are Chinese Muslims in the USA who are also noticing this blog. Can you tell us more about you restaurant?

    wa’alaikum’as’salam moosa, Welcome to the blog. I am glad that this blog is helpful to people.

  17. Salam alaikum Bros and Sis!
    I have a question and hope that somebody can help me inshallah.
    Does anyboby know if there is some literature about Chinese Muslims in the USA? (concerning history, culture, way of life etc.)
    I have serached throughout the web but i was not able to find anything useful…

    Waslam alaikum

  18. wa’alikum’as’salam’wa’rahma’tullah’wa’bara’ka’tahu Hamida, That is a good question. I have also been looking for literature related to thus but to no avail.

  19. Assalaamu’alaykum Wang Daiyu,

    I will be headed to HK soon and am wondering about the halal food there? Any idea?

    I’ve come across some lists, but some are in dodgy areas and as I have a young son with me, food needs to be clean etc.. Have read that food is also very expensive! I am so wanting to eat authentic halal dim sum but I don’t suppose that is available in HK as pork seems to be a must in dim sum!

    Being a Chinese Muslim convert – I do miss dim sum! But we do have halal dim sum here in Malaysia, but I wonder how different it is compared to authentic dim sum!

  20. In response to Rayhana;

    Couldn’t find my book on this but you might want to try out these websites ::

    Food Outlets/ Restaurants that obtained the Halal Logo & Halal Restaurant Certificate from Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong :-

    http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/gourmet/dining/gp_dini_ahal.jhtml

    Has reviews [child friendly – which might be useful | fully or partially halal | affordability | delivery availability etc] and info on Halal Restaurants, Markets, Mosques etc. :-

    http://www.zabihah.com/lir.php?id=219

    Hope this helps. :)

  21. Old Mandarin Chinese Islamic Restaurant in San Francisco! It’s in the outer Sunset district, a few blocks from the ocean, on Vicente. It’s a small neighborhood place and the clientèle is almost exclusively Chinese, though you will also usually find a few Muslims of other ethnicities dining there. The food is so delicious ma-sha-Allah, and all halal. Cumin lamb, beef pancake, lamp dumplings, hot pot, mongolian beef, fried tofu, hot pepper chicken… oh I wish I could go back again.

    Just don’t order the lamb’s eggs unless you don’t mind eating lamb testicles, ha ha.

  22. I stumbled on your website accidently. I’m from East Orange, NJ,USA. My town is mostly Black American and we do have a halal chinese muslim restaurant right on main street! Maybe, because we also, have two masjids(sunni) located in town and that helps a lot.

  23. Pingback: ‘Chinese’ and ‘Chinese Muslim Food’ in America (via Islam in China) « In islamic world Blog·

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