When I migrated to the US back in the 1990s, there were very few halal restaurants in the state of New Jersey. Oaktree Road in Iselin NJ was the only town or street where there were one or two India-Pakistani restaurants serving Halal food. The quality of food was nothing like immigrants were accustomed to eating back home. There were some fast food Pakistani restaurants in Manhattan on the Lexington street or on in Jackson NY.
Growth in Muslim Immigrant Population
As the immigrant population continued to grow during the first decade of this century, the restaurants selling halal food started to mushroom in densely Muslim populated towns and cities.
Most of the population growth of the Muslims in America during the past 20 years are as a result of migration of high-tech skilled workers on H1-B visa from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other South Asian and middle eastern countries. Many of these skilled workers later got married to spouses from back home and hence resulting in the influx of immigrants on an H4 spouse visa. These workers then further grew their families and also sponsored their parents to the US.
Today states like New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Texas, and California have the most number of Muslim populations and therefore these are also the states that offer the finest of Indian, Pakistani and Mediterranean Halal food restaurants in America.
MegaStores Offering Halal Food
Wal-Mart features halal products at about 400 of its 4,600 stores. They sell Crescent Halal Meat also branded as Organic Meat at its various locations throughout the country. Costco also sells Halal meat products like lamb chops imported from Australia.
Popular Wholesale chain “Restaurant Depot” sells all kinds of Halal meat and frozen items like Chicken wings and nuggets, beef patties and burgers in bulk sizes for Halal food restaurant owners and consumers.
Local Mom & Pop Halal Meat Stores
Then there are local Mom and Pop Zabiha Halal Meat stores in every part of the country with Muslim Population selling Halal Meat. Some of the popular ones in the state of New Jersey are on its famous Oaktree Road in Iselin is the Shalimar Halal Meat, the chain also famous for selling Pakistani Halal cuisine including top quality Bar BQ items like Seekh Kabab, Mediterranean style cooked grilled lamb chops and chicken tikka along with their famous Biryani and Niyari.
The best Niyari is offered by Sabri Nihari Restaurant in Devon, Chicago. If you are visiting Chicago and are a fan of eating Halal Cuisine, then don’t miss on this one. It’s a must visit spot for Pakistani diaspora visiting Chicago.
Travel Industry offering Halal Meat
Disney Cruiseline also offers Halal Food Options for its Muslim travelers. Currently, this is the only cruise line that is offering Halal Food in its menu however as the competition grows, its hoped that the other players like Royal Caribbean International are also expected to start offering Halal Diet options to 3.5 Million Muslim Americans opting for Cruise vacations across America. Many airlines also offer Halal Food options to its American Muslim Travellers for its flight originating or visiting the US from Asia and Europe.
Halal Cuisine in American Colleges
NYU recently announced to serve Halal dining meals at its 3 locations across campus i.e Lipton Hall, Kimmel Market Place and Jasper Kane Cafe with Lipton serving Halal food with the highest level of Halal Certification through Halal Food Standards Alliance of America (HFSAA). There is also a number of private vendors who have been selling the Halal Food to Students for past many years in the popular town of New Brunswick around the Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Growing Trend to Tap the Halal Food Market
Recently, an online store named Chops and Steaks has started offering free delivery of Halal/Organic meat branded as “Real Meat” to US homes for a minimum of $10 delivery order. As the awareness for organic and Halal food products is increasing, new players are getting into the market to tap into this $20 Billion industry in America. For more details on Halal food, please also visit our blog at “Why Halal Meat is better”