HalalFest, Inc. in association with ILLUME presents: Halal Fest
America’s Largest Halal Food & Eid Festival aka “Halal Fest” is a collaborative event organized by a group of American Muslims from various different backgrounds and ethnicities who have one thing in common: Their love of great food!
What is “Halal”? You can read below for the full details, but basically, like what “Kosher” food is people of the Jewish Faith, “Halal” Food is for those who follow the Islamic Faith (Muslims). It means the meat has been blessed and is considered pure and lawful for Muslims to consume.
You can read more about Halal Fest and America’s First Halal Restaurant Week in this interview with HalalFest, Inc. Founder, Irfan Rydhan in the San Jose Mercury News!
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Episode Two: In this episode of The Artistic Foodies, Hosts Abbas Mohamed and Irfan Rydhan share their fondest memories of Ramadan growing up. Abbas also shares some of his favorite Ramadan Recipes. The Artistic Foodies is brought to you by HalalFest, Inc. and GAMA (Gathering All Muslim Artists).
Episode One: In this episode of The Artistic Foodies, Hosts Abbas Mohamed and Irfan Rydhan discuss the success of the first-ever Halal Restaurant Week in North America which was held in the SF Bay Area in Dec. 2020. We interviewed Chefs, Restaurant Owners and Foodies who participated. The Artistic Foodies is brought to you by HalalFest, Inc. and GAMA (Gathering All Muslim Artists).
Episode Zero: In this preview episode of The Artistic Foodies, Hosts Abbas Mohamed and Irfan Rydhan introduce themselves as well as their new podcast. They also share some of their favorite Halal Spots in the S.F. Bay Area (Recorded October 2020). The Artistic Foodies is brought to you by HalalFest, Inc. and GAMA (Gathering All Muslim Artists).
Episode 08: In this episode of HalalEats Unplugged, Hosts Nizar Ahmed and Irfan Rydhan interviews Zareen Khan, the Head Chef and Owner of the Popular Bay Area Pakistani Restaurant, Zareen’s. They discuss her journey from Pakistan to the San Francisco Bay Area as well as what sets Zareen’s Restaurant apart from other Indian-Pakistani spots in the Bay Area
Episode 07: In this episode of HalalEats Unplugged, Hosts Nizar Ahmed interviews the Founder and Event Director of Halal Fest, Irfan Rydhan to discuss feedback on the event as well what goes on behind the scenes in the planning of the Annual event in the S.F. Bay Area.
Episode 06: In this episode of HalalEats Unplugged, Hosts Nizar Ahmed and Irfan Rydhan interview Abdul Popal, the franchisee owner of (3) Bay Area locations of BurgerIM to talk about the restaurant business, Halal Food and the BDS controversy surrounding the BurgermIM franchise.
Episode 05: In this episode of HalalEats Unplugged, host Nizar Ahmed and Founder of Halal fest, Irfan Rydhan, along with Chinese American Muslim April King, review a couple of Halal Chinese Spots in the Bay Area. Including Darda Seafood (Milpitas), Li Zhou (Fremont) and Sama Uyghur Cuisine (Union City).
Episode 04: In this episode of HalalEats Unplugged, host Nizar Ahmed and Founder of Halal fest, Irfan Rydhan, interview Ahmad Shah, the Marketing and Sales Director for Sattar Farms, to discuss the Halal Meat Industry and the differences between Hand-Slaughtered Halal and Machine Slaughtered Halal, Organic, Tayyeb, Natural and Halal Meat
Episode 03: In this episode of HalalEats Unplugged, host Nizar Ahmed and Founder of Halal fest, Irfan Rydhan, interview Hip Hop Artist Brother Ali, who is the headline performer for the 6th Annual Halal Food Festival on Sat. June 30th, 2018 in Fremont, CA.
Episode 02: In this Episode of Halal Eats Unplugged, Nizar Ahmed, interviews Dr. Mohamad Rajabally with Rajabally Family Dentistry in Newark, CA about Dental Hygiene during the month of Ramadan, where Muslims fast from dawn to sunset everyday.
Episode 01: Halal Eats Unplugged is a new podcast from the SF Bay Area about Halal Food and Restaurant Reviews. Host Nizar Ahmed and his panelists, Shavana Soraya, Irfan Rydhan and April King discuss some of the most popular Halal Burger Joints in the Bay Area (specifically Falafel Corner, Mirchi Cafe, Wayback Burgers and Main Street Burgers). Music Provided by Dawan Muhammad
A veteran in the Bay Area Halal Food scene. He co-owned and managed Two Halal Restaurants in the East Bay. Besides serving as the CEO and Business Development Director for HalalFest, Inc. he is also a Financial Advisor and Consultant to several Business, Political and Community leaders across California. Ali currently serves on the boards of various non-profits and was previously the interim President of UMA, which is one of the oldest American Muslim Political Action organizations in California.
Irfan M. Rydhan
Born and raised in San Jose, CA, Irfan is a well known Halal Foodie with over 1,000 reviews across several online platforms including Yelp, Google and Zabihah. Check out his latest podcast with co-host Abbas Mohamed called The Artistic Foodies (see link on Podcast tab) and follow his reviews and musings about Food, Media, and Architecture @irydhan.
A social entrepreneur, biotech professional, and SERIOUS foodie. He coordinates the entertainment, cooking demos, and eating competitions at Halalfest, so be sure to swing by the stage and say hello! He is also the director of GAMA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting and empowering artists in the Muslim community. You can see a lot of his food adventures documented on our Instagram @halalfest or on his personal IG @babashamss.
A native to the San Francisco Bay Area and has volunteered with many non-profits such as Medina Education Center, Rahima Foundation and the North American Islamic Shelter for the Abused (NISA). In his spare time Nizar hosts the HalalEats Unplugged podcast. From calamari to cocoa Nizar is always up to taste where the next hot spot would be to recommend to all with the affinity for delicious food.
Long time American Muslim Community Activist. He was one of the Past Directors of Bay Area based AMILA.org (American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism), as well as zabihah.com - the World's largest database of Halal Restaurants and Businesses and also The ICCF (Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno). His quest for finding the best gyros has taken him to locales all over the country.
An American-Chinese California native, April lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two sons. She loves all kinds of food, especially French fusion and East Asian cuisines, and has eaten a lot of unique dishes many people haven't even heard of.
“Halal” means “Permissible” in Arabic and refers to the dietary law of Islam, which practicing Muslims follow. Similar to Kosher food for Jews, Halal food avoids anything derived from swine flesh (pork, bacon, lard, gelatin, etc.) as well as alcohol (beer, wine, etc.). Animals which are considered lawful to consume for Muslims include Halal chicken, beef, lamb, goat, turkey, deer, and seafood. In order for the meat to be considered “Halal” the animal must be slaughtered in a specific way and the name of God must be mentioned at the time of slaughtering the animal by a Muslim. Of course there are different interpretations of what is considered Halal and what is not, but the main goal is to keep away from those items which God has instructed us to avoid for better health and a longer life. Usually, but not always, the animals used for Halal meat are fed natural grains, grass or corn and are not injected with any hormones or harmful chemicals.
DISCLAIMER: All food vendors for Suhoor Fest 2021 are Halal and will be serving Halal and Zabihah meat which has been certified as Halal by one or more of the many Islamic organizations and Certifiers in the United States. Some vendors will also be serving non-meat items such as seafood, vegetarian and dessert items. Those food vendors who inform us of which Halal Food Certification organization they are using, will be listed below so people will know in advance. There will be many choices for people to choose from. Please note that the organizers of Halal Fest are not a Halal Certification organization so if you have any specific questions about where a certain food vendor gets their Halal meat from, you should contact them directly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1: What are the date, timings and location for “Suhoor Fest” this year (2021) ?
A1: The last “Suhoor Fest” will be this Friday Night May 7th from 12 midnight to 3 am (Sat Morning). The location is on Smith Street in Union City. The vendors are Falafel Corner, L’Aziz Pizza + Eatery and The Pop-Up Shop (Smash Burgers) which will be located behind Maqbool Clothing in Union City, CA.
Q2: Is “Suhoor Fest” Free to Enter?
A2: Yes, Suhoor Fest is Free to Enter, but we ask everyone to please wear a face-mask and follow all instructions of staff, security and volunteers to make sure everyone has a safe and good experience.
Q3: Will there be any seating available at the Suhoor Fest event?
A3: There will be limited seating available at each particular restaurant’s location (Falafel Corner and L’Aziz Pizza + Eatery in Union City)
Q4: Who are the food vendors at the “Smith Street Suhoor Fest 2021″?
A4: The food vendors are L’Aziz Pizza + Eatery (3834 Smith Street, Union City), Falafel Corner (31080 Union City Blvd. #101, Union City), The Pop Up Shop: Smash Burgers (Located behind Maqbool Clothing located at 3851 Smith Street, Union City)
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