Friday, 31 March 2017

SOUTH KOREA: Nami Island Is A Halal Destination

Nami Island, officially known as the Naminara Republic, is an island that is located 63 kilometers away from Seoul, South Korea.

In 2006, this half-moon shaped island declared its “Cultural Independence” from the Republic of Korea, therefore it has its own diplomatic and cultural policies, including its own national flag, anthem, passport, visa, currency and certificate of citizenship.

The island is also known as the shooting location of very popular Korean drama Winter Sonata.

Last year, the location welcomed 1.3 million foreign tourists from 120 countries. Aside from China, more than half of the visitors came from other regions, such as Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

In light of the rising number of Muslim tourists visiting the island, Nami Island now provides several halal places to ensure they have a more convenient visit.

Asian Family Restaurant Dongmoon became known as one of the places to visit for Muslim travelers after it gained its halal certification in 2014.

The restaurant provides mostly Asian cuisines, which include Indonesian fried rice with egg and shrimp, noodles with black soybean sauce, Mongolian barbecue beef with rice, stir-fried eggplant with eohyang sauce, and other delicious dishes with a starting price of 8,000 South Korean won (US$7).

Other halal culinary destinations that can be visited by Muslim tourists are Swing Café and Book Café. Located near the Bukhan River, the Swing Café offers a comfortable atmosphere and views of the beautiful scenery of the river as it adopts the island’s Song Museum as its theme.

It also frequently hosts performances and exhibitions. Among its recommended menu items is the bread which comes fresh from the oven three times a day.

Meanwhile, Book Café in the Baplex building is a unique place with many books inside. It also offers coffee, sandwiches and various desserts.

Recently Nami Island increased the size of its mushola (prayer room), thus the prayer room is now able to accommodate up to 130 people in its 144-square-meter space.

Equipped with a qibla compass and wudhu (ablution) facilities, the mushola can be found in the central area of the island, on the second floor of the Baplex building.