For muslim traveling to Korea and Japan, finding affordable halal food is always an issue, especially for those who can’t speak in both language like me. Due to the limited numbers of halal restaurant available, locating one during your sightseeing can be troublesome. During my trips to Korea and Japan, I noticed that most of halal restaurant not located within sightseeing area, for example at Nara and Shiga in Japan, there’s no halal restaurant at these area. If you can find one, those halal restaurant won’t be cheap and most of it quite expensive compared to non-halal food. Therefore, planning a low-budget trip for a muslim like me can be quite tough. For example, one meal of rice at an indian- muslim restaurant in Itaewon, Seoul can cost us 15, 000krw @ rm45, lunch box in Nami Island, Seoul can cost us 10, 000krw @ rm30, rice cake meal in Arashiyama, Kyoto can cost us 1, 000yen @ rm40… Food alone will cost you a bomb.. !!!..
However, it still possible for us to keep our budget low during our trip to these 2 country. I’ve manage to keep my budget low during my 8days trip to Kansai region for only RM2,600per pax all-in, 8days trip to Seoul-Jeju-Yeosu for only RM2,600 per pax all-inn… Not bad right… The most important things is to have proper planning. How do I manage to keep my budget low in this two country??
1. Stay at Guesthouse with common kitchen /hotel room with kitchenette. Location nearby convenience store and subway station
There is a lot of guesthouse in korea and japan. Most of them will have common kitchen that we can use to cook our own meal. Some of them even provide free bread and jam, eggs and drinks. However, don’t use their plates and other utensil. You can easily buy a cheap kitchen utensil from the nearby convenience store. Guesthouse that I can recommend
- Namsan Guesthouse at Namsan, Seoul have lots of muslim traveler from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and even Filipina stay there. They have size-able common kitchen and provide free bread, spread and drinks. Location 5mins walk from Myeongdong Station and 3 convenience store adjacent to the guesthouse
- Sinchon Guesthouse in Ehwa University area also have very nice common kitchen. They also provide free bread, eggs and drinks. Location 10mins walk from Ehwa Womans University Station and in the middle of Ehwa University shopping street
- Jeju Hiking Inn in Jeju Island have sizeable common kitchen.
- Chisun Inn Umeda in Osaka have kitchenette in the room, was highly recommended due to the location just above the subway station and their rate are quite cheap.
- Citadines Karasuma Gojo in Kyoto have kitchenette in the room, highly recommended due to the location just above the subway station and their rate are quite cheap.
2. Express Rice at the convenience store
Do you know that express rice were sold widely in 24hours convenience store in Korea and Japan. You can just heated this rice in the microwave for few minutes and nyumm… ready to eat. The price about rm4 per pack.. It will save you a lot on budgeting on your food.
3. Research for halal food at sightseeing area. Eat once a day at restaurant.
As I mentioned earlier, halal food in Korea and Japan is more expensive compared to the common food there. You need to know where you can find halal food so that you can plan your itinerary properly. Some of the place that I notice:
- Turkish Kebab in Hongik University area in Seoul – location easy to find at the hongik university food street
- Lunch box at Cafe Jingga in Nami Island – reasonable price lunch box.
- Jeju Island – Only 1 halal indian restaurant at Jeju City. Price very expensive. Better cook your own meal
- Yeosu – No muslim restaurant
- Indian Muslim restaurant in Itaewon – very expensive
- Nara, Japan – No muslim restaurant
- Sakamoto city – No muslim restaurant
4. Eat heavy breakfast before went for sightseeing. Always have packed sandwich and snacks in the bag
Finding halal restaurant during your sightseeing can be quite difficult. They might not be located within your sightseeing area, or maybe located in an alleys that difficult to find. I’ve difficulties finding a muslim restaurant in Osaka although I’ve got the map location of the shop due to the language barrier. Heavy breakfast and snacks can help you to avoid starving if you unable to find a muslim restaurant.