LONDON: The Halal Meals Pageant returned to the British capital this yr for its sixth version, with 25 cuisines on supply at over 150 stalls.
At the very least 18,000 folks attended the two-day occasion, which came about on September 24-25 at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium.
The size and scope of the pageant means London is now dwelling to one of many largest gatherings of halal-specific meals on this planet, in keeping with organisers.
Algebra Festivals director Kevin Jackson launched the pageant along with his accomplice Waleed Jahangia seven years in the past.
“We created an occasion that places meals on the middle of the neighborhood. There isn’t any higher technique to share tradition than by means of meals,” he mentioned.
After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have invested closely in infrastructure, turning the pageant into an expertise that goes past meals.
The occasion included a VIP lounge, purchasing cubicles, reside leisure, kitchen theater, picnic space, youngsters’s play space, mechanical bull and enjoyable competitions.
One of many highlights was a reside demonstration by NHS physician and former ‘MasterChef’ winner Dr Saliha Mahmood Ahmed.
Utilizing bread dough to show girls how you can self-examine for early indicators of breast most cancers, Ahmed aimed to beat the cultural taboos that contribute to the low stage of consciousness within the UK’s Muslim neighborhood.
The brand new additions replicate the rising view that halal is extra than simply meals, it is also a life-style.
Jackson recalled that when he and Jahangia launched the pageant, most Muslim occasions in London have been held in neighborhood facilities or faculty halls.
However the London Stadium occasion reveals that the Muslim neighborhood now has entry to among the capital’s most well-known venues.
The pageant has additionally advanced right into a cultural medley, with each its delicacies and meals hailing from across the globe.
“We now have folks from Manchester, Birmingham, individuals who got here on a day journey from Paris yesterday. We now have folks from Spain. We now have folks from Scotland. That is such a giant occasion for the Muslim neighborhood that they journey miles to get to it,” Jackson mentioned.
Chef Fatima El-Rify of Mama Hayam reported optimistic suggestions from guests who tasted her Egyptian delicacies.
“They did not fairly know what it was. They knew little about kosher, however now they’ve a really sturdy concept. They arrive again for extra. They create their buddies. They actually love kosher and mahshi, in order that’s actually good.”
She added: “I do not assume there’s anyplace else in London the place you may strive all these totally different cuisines and have the comfort of all the pieces being halal.”
The pageant additionally showcases the timeless and the modern, from conventional Anabtawi sweets from Jordan to Lola’s Cupcakes from London.
Aside from offering companies for Muslim guests, it goals to offer a world platform for the halal economic system whereas serving to to develop halal small and medium enterprises.
“We construct enterprise relationships. All merchants commerce with one another. The suppliers, our companions right here, Tariq Halal, present merchandise for our exhibitors,” mentioned Jackson.
Mocktail founder Shahin Bharwani, who sells mushy drinks, mentioned he was fortunate to have the ability to exhibit on the 2016 Halal Meals Pageant inside months of launching his enterprise.
“It was sensible by way of being a startup to get the model publicity wanted at this sort of occasion.”
Pageant distributors mirrored on the expansion of the halal trade over the previous decade.
Bharwani mentioned, “There are such a lot of enterprise choices right here, particularly in meals. Years in the past you would by no means think about halal hell tacos or connoisseur burgers, so to have such halal choices now could be wonderful.”
Co-partner Abid Haider of Correct Burgers mentioned the occasion “simply retains getting larger and larger”.
With the trade now price billions, the London pageant is a part of a rising motion to place halal on the excessive avenue.