Japan is a country known for its temples, shrines, and convenience stores? Yes! If you're looking for halal convenience store food in Japan or Muslim-friendly options, you'd be happy to know that Japan's convenience stores are open throughout the day! What's great is that they stock everything from food to medication and even beauty products.
It might not be easy for Muslim travellers to buy products off-the-shelf even from brands such as 7-11 which we may be familiar with at home, as the Japanese production line may have been in facilities unsuitable for Muslim consumers. Thankfully, organizations based in Japan such as Halal Japan and Halal In Japan have done their research and compiled lists of Muslim-friendly products!
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We’ve gathered our top 11 snacks you can easily find in convenience stores throughout the country, so that the next time you’re craving a quick bite on the streets of Tokyo or Osaka, you’ll know just what you can get! P.S. Read to the end to find out what are some of the common ingredients to look out for when you’re purchasing snacks in Japan, and how to avoid consuming uncertain food products.
Disclaimer: Do note that manufacturers may change the ingredients without giving out prior notice. If you’re doubtful about certain ingredients, check with our Facebook community or the Halal Japan facebook page to clarify before purchasing. As none of these products has received Halal certification we recommend that you dine at your own discretion.
1. Halal bento from Royal Deli
Supplied by Royal Group’s Halal Deli and halal-certified by the Japan Islamic Trust, these halal bento sets make the perfect on-the-go meals!
Credit: Food Diversity.today
The bento sets can be found in the frozen section of certain 7-11 stores in Tokyo and you can spot them easily by the clearly marked signboard that says “Halal Bento”. They come in 3 different flavours - Gyudon (beef rice bowl), Butter Chicken Curry and the newly launched flavour, Vegetable Penne (no meat). Check out our article to find out where you can find these halal bentos!
2. Halal cream daifuku
Daifuku is mochi (Japanese rice cake) with a sweet filling and red bean paste. While it might not be easy to find a halal version, this particular item has been halal-certified by the Japan Halal Standard. You can find them in several Rogers Mart outlets and halal restaurants across Japan.
The best part is, there are different flavours to suit your fancy - from green tea to mango, strawberry and cafe au lait. The cream in the daifuku enhances its taste, making it a great snack to have when you're travelling around Japan. Check out our article to find out more about it!
Muslim-friendly options in convenience stores:
3. Yamazaki brand Double Soft bread
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Let’s start with something simple - bread! For those of us who just want something simple to start the day with, a slice of bread is enough to get us ready for the day ahead. However, some companies use animal shortening to make the bread, meaning we have to be careful even when buying something so ordinary. Fortunately, some of the products by Yamazaki brand such as their Double Soft bread are made without animal shortening!
4. Sangaria brand Maroyaka Cafe Latte
What else goes better with a slice of bread in the morning than a cup of coffee? Sangaria’s Maroyaka Cafe Latte doesn’t have any liquor in it, making it perfect for a morning pick-me-up!
5. Meiji brand Bulgaria Yoghurt LB81
Yoghurt is another popular snack, but it can be difficult to find a product that doesn’t use animal gelatin as a stabilizer. Thankfully, Meiji’s delicious Bulgaria Yoghurt LB81 is a product that doesn’t use gelatin! While some of the other flavours in the Bulgaria line use gelatin, this plain-flavoured product does not.
P.S. If you need something sweeter in your yoghurt, you can buy some ready-cut fruits from the convenience store to add a little twist to this snack!
6. Lawson’s brand Jukusei Yaki Taraku Onigiri (Grilled Pollack Roe riceball)
Credit: Halal Japan
Riceballs are the snack you have to get while in Japan. They’re small and portable yet tasty and filling - but the bad news is that many of them use mirin, alcohol spray, or emulsifiers during the production process. There's good news though - Lawson’s grilled pollack roe onigiri is one of the items that doesn’t use any of these!Our writers snacked on onigiri while exploring Tokyo and Hakone - check out their tips for other Muslim travellers who want to do the same!
7. 7-11 brand Vegetable Sticks with Mayonnaise
Credit: Halal Japan
If you suddenly get hungry, why not pop into a 7-11 and grab one of their vegetable sticks with mayonnaise for a boost to get you through the day? These crunchy sticks are satisfying to chew on while you take in the sights of the city.
8. Takeda Seika brand Tamago Boro
Some of you may recognize these small egg biscuits from your own childhood. While tamago boro is technically a snack meant for young kids, there’s something satisfying about these light and fluffy biscuits that melt on your tongue! There are many brands that produce these, but we have only seen that the Takeda Seika and Q.P. (or Kewpie) brands only use vegetable shortening in their products. Though tamago boro is generally a vegetarian-friendly snack, if you run across other brands’ versions make sure to check the ingredients list first just in case!
9. Kobe Bussan brand Kasugai Green Peas
Credit: Halal Japan
If you’re craving something more savoury, why not get a pack of Kasugai Green Peas? This lightly-flavoured snack is convenient to keep in your bag as you continue through the city, and can easily keep your stomach satisfied until your next mealtime.
10. Lawson’s Select brand Chocolate Digestive Biscuit and Chocolate Chip Cookie
Credit: Halal Japan
Lawson’s is one of the biggest convenience store chains in Japan, so we’re super happy that their Select line of biscuits and cookies includes products that don’t contain animal shortening or unsafe ingredients! Both their chocolate digestive and chocolate chip cookie don’t have animal shortening in them, so make sure to stock up so that you can nibble on them throughout your trip.
11. 7-11 brand Waffle Cone Milk Vanilla Ice Cream
Credit: Halal Japan
After a long day, why not pop into 7-11 and enjoy the desserts they have on offer? The milk vanilla flavour may not look like it packs a punch - but it’s actually had good reviews online! Best of all, there’s no liquor or animal-based emulsifiers in it so you can indulge in a sweet treat without having to worry. If these 9 snacks aren’t enough for you, why not check out 12 Muslim-friendly snacks you need to try while in Japan?
Generally speaking, besides looking out for meats such as pork, beef, or chicken, do make sure to double-check if the ingredients list includes animal-based emulsifiers, gelatin, or liquor. Halal in Japan has published a useful list of the Kanji/hiragana/katakana words for haram or doubtful ingredients to look out for which you can refer to during your trip - you can even download it in a PDF form!
Shopping for snacks in Japan definitely isn’t as stressful as it used to be! With a stronger Muslim community presence there as well as more and more Muslims travelling to Japan, we’re thankful to have these resources at hand to help us navigate what we can or cannot buy there. If you have any doubts or questions, you can always consult our Facebook community where seasoned travellers will be more than willing to help you out if they have the information.