Halal cuisine is food that follows the dietary laws of the Muslim religion. The Arabic word halal refers to everything that is allowable according to the laws and customs of Islam. Animals that eat blood or meat are not a part of halal cuisine.
The guidelines of halal have some similarities to the kosher rules of Judiasm. The word kosher is derived from the Hebrew word kashur, which refers to anything that is suitable to consume. Like Jews, Muslims don't eat pork products and just as product packaging may be labeled kosher, others are labeled halal. Yet, not all kosher products are halal. For example, marshmallows containing gelatin, which may be made from the marrow of beef bones, or cookies containing beef fat may be kosher, but not halal.
Muslims following halal cuisine guidelines must only eat animals that were slaughtered with the name of Allah spoken. This is not the case with Jewish kosher meat. Unlike Muslims slaughtering animals for halal cuisine, Jews don't say the name of God when slaughtering animals to meet kosher standards.
The grain-eating animals killed in the name of Allah are known as zabiha animals. Halal cuisine also includes milk, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, grains and fish. Foods and beverages that aren't halal are haram, which means forbidden. Wine and alcohol are haram except in some Turkish versions of halal. When halal foods may be difficult to find, Muslims may carry halal products with them.
There are restaurants worldwide that specialize in halal cuisine. Lebanese, Turkish and Moroccan restaurants usually feature some types of halal dishes. Popular restaurant or homemade halal recipes include fried or marinated chicken and baked or curried fish. Almond coconut cookies are favorite halal sweets.
The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) notes that the Muslim meals offered by many airlines aren't halal cuisine since zabiha animals aren't specifically mentioned in the ingredients list of the meat dishes. IFANCA recommends that Muslim airline travelers should ask for halal meals and make sure the airline officially tracks their requests. According to IFANCA, if airlines receive enough of a demand for halal meals, it may warrant them offering halal cuisine in the future.