Thursday, 8 April 2010


“We are all dietetic sinners; only a small percent of what we eat nourishes us; the balance goes to waste and loss of energy.” - William Osler

I had a very busy day today, spent with some fellow academics who were visiting our College from Malaysia. The meeting was very successful and we ended up signing a memorandum of understanding that will allow our two organisations to co-operate in our educational goals. I took them out to lunch, mindful of their religious dietary restrictions as they were Muslim. We have a plethora of restaurants very close to our College in the City and these can cater to a wide variety of tastes and dietary demands: Australian, Asian, European, American, African cuisines are all well represented in their endless varieties, but also there are vegan, vegetarian, classic, new, experimental cuisines, etc.

We ended up going to Chillipadi, a contemporary Asian restaurant which has the added benefit of being 100% certified Halal. This means that Moslem people can eat freely as the meal is prepared according to the religious restrictions placed on diet by Islam. “Halal” in Arabic means “lawful” or “legal” and as it applies to food, it means that certain foods or components of food are forbidden, while what is allowed has to be prepared in prescribed ways. “Halal” is the opposite of “Haraam” meaning “Harmful” and hence forbidden.

The Quran specifies the forbidden (Haraam) substances and foods as:
•    Pork (flesh of pig, swine)
•    Blood
•    Animals slaughtered in the name of any other god except Allah.
•    All that has been dedicated or offered to an idolatrous altar, or saint or divine being
•    Carrion
•    An animal strangled, beaten to death, killed by a fall, savaged by a beast of prey (except that which has been slaughtered subsequently, while still being alive)
•    Food over which Allah’s name is not pronounced
•    Alcohol and other intoxicating substances.

Any allowed meat which is to be consumed has to be killed by ritual slaughter called “Dhabiha”. This consists of a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries on both sides of the neck, but leaving the spinal cord intact. This method is believed by Muslims to kill instantly and painlessly, thus humanely, for the animal. Fish and most sea-life are excluded from the Dhabiha rule.

For lunch at Chillipadi we ordered several plates which had placed in the centre of the table and we then shared around. We had tea and iced water to drink. We ate the following:
•    Laksa noodles with seafood
•    Penang prawn noodles
•    Curry chicken rice
•    Thai beef salad
•    Vegetarian Mee Goreng with eggs
•    Vegetarian Nasi Goreng with eggs

The food was quite nice and my Malaysian guests were very complimentary and enjoyed it very much.

In the afternoon I had a three hour meeting, which left me quite exhausted. Just as well the weekend is looming ahead, I’m looking forward to the break!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a very nice meal, Nic. Thanks for the explanation of hilal. I had often heard the term and didn't know exactly what it meant.
    I have a Jewish friend and what you describe sounds a lot like kosher.