Healthy herbs and spices used for cooking Halal dishes from Babu Kwan restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism

Food tourism in the country gets further boost with the launch of Halal Culinary Tourism series, an initiative that showcases the unique culinary finds in Mindanao. 

The video series, launched the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday, can be viewed by the public on the department’s social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The launch coincided with the celebration of Muslim festival Eid’l Adha, an important Muslim Holiday celebrated here in the country. 

With Halal Culinary Tourism series, the DOT aims to promote the culinary heritage of Mindanao and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and consequently its destinations.

“Food is an important part of a tourism experience. It gives us a glimpse of a place’s culture and heritage. Through the development of Halal Culinary Tourism, we are encouraging the discovery and familiarity with the traditions of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Puyat. 

Halal, which means “permissible”, is something that is clean and good for one’s health, explained Puyat. “Halal is not exclusive to Muslims, it is for everybody. This is what we want to introduce through this project,” she added.

The Mindanao Halal Culinary Tourism is a project of the DOT with Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). 

The Sinina Kambing from Hashy’s Cuisine in Cotabato is a Maguindanoan delicacy. It is stewed goat meat cooked using local spices. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism

The project also aims to document culinary practices of the area, create experiences and attractions by local government units (LGUs) and private enterprises for tourists, and promote Halal Tourism industry in the regions of Mindanao through culinary and heritage mapping. 

Halal-certified and Muslim-friendly establishments across Mindanao Regions are featured in the video series. These include the Black Seed Burger in Davao City. The restaurant is famous for its burger with “black seed”, a traditional herb among western Asian culture that is believed to have medicinal values.

A hearty Halal dish is about to be served in Tambilawan Kamayan Restaurant in General Santos City. Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism

Another Halal-certified establishment is the SpiChef in Davao City , which offers the Mango Pineapple hot sauce, an innovation of fresh and natural herbs and spices.

Bay Tal Mal in Zamboanga City offers traditional Moro cuisines like Tiyulah Itum that is usually served during special occasions. Hashy’s Cuisine in Cotabato City in BARMM is one of the pioneering Halal-certified sites in the region. Its culinary highlight is Sinina Kambing, a traditional Maguindanaon dish.

Also featured are: Babu Kwan and Torogan Kape in Cagayan de Oro City, Pater al-Kuwait House of Palapa in Iligan City, Dennis Coffee Garden in Zamboanga City, Mama Ping in Cotabato City, Tambilawan Kamayan Restaurant in General Santos City, and Radin’s Guinamos in Agusan del Sur. 

The Halal food tourism program promises to provide tourists with a unique and flavorful experience.