Halal Food, Language Barriers & More: This Is What It's Like Living In South Korea As A Singaporean Muslim Couple


Siti Ayeeshah Zaki •  Dec 21, 2021

Some of us could only dream of living abroad and experiencing the world, but Singaporean Muslim couple Nurulhuda & Fairoz have actually managed to do it! Now residing in Seoul, this lovely couple relates their experience calling a different country home. From settling down to manoeuvring around language barriers, this is what it's like living in Korea as a Singaporean Muslim couple.

Living In Korea As Singaporean Muslims

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram

Currently, the couple, who have adorably dubbed themselves 'Adcruz' on their Instagram, live in Nowon-gu, the Northeastern part of Seoul. However with Fairoz working as an international teacher, this is not the only country they've called home. Wanting to experience different curriculums offered in international schools, the pair are the definition of globetrotters.

Prior to moving to Korea, they've lived in London, Frankfurt and even Marrakech! And although they weren't planning on moving to Seoul after settling down in London for 2 years, an exciting job offer came that was too good to decline.

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram 

Now, the pair live in a Korean flat similar to a Singaporean 3-room HDB together with their cat. Fortunately for them, settling in to Korea wasn't too big of a problem, especially with their experience.

''London, Singapore, and Seoul have quite a lot of similarities. The school made the transition from London to Seoul pretty stress-free though our flight from London via Frankfurt was cancelled due to technical difficulties and our bags were delayed upon our arrival. Except for the hiccup during the transition, we settled in quite fast. Maybe it is also because we're "veterans" at moving across oceans and continents that we didn't find it difficult to adapt.''

Learning The Language

You would think that overcoming the language barrier would be one of the more difficult tasks required to overcome when moving to a new country. However, this does not seem to be the case! The couple has managed to communicate effectively with locals despite not being fluent in Korean. Instead, they rely a lot on Google Translate and Papago, a Korean translating app.

''I have a bit of basic Korean before arriving but Fairoz doesn't. Even then we still rely a lot on Google Translate and Papago. Koreans do have some form of English understanding. They just have difficulty expressing it in words,'' Nurulhuda told us. Who knew!

The Arab Princess

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram 

The couple also tell us that racism does not seem to be a problem. While many tourists who enter Korea worry about the Islamophobia or racism that may exist, the couple have yet to chance upon such unfortunate encounters.

Nurulhuda tells us that while they haven't encountered much racism, there is an ahjumma who sells bibimbap in their neighbourhood that affectionately refers to her as 'Arab Princess' because of her hijab!

Getting Halal Food

As Muslims, getting halal food to eat was definitely something that the couple had to look into. After much research, Adcruz now orders most of their halal meat on Coupang, an online platform. The halal meat comes packed nicely in styrofoam boxes, ready to cook!

At work, they pair have managed to arrange for vegetarian meals to be prepared. And if they're lucky, they get seafood too.

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram

Plus, halal food is available at most of Seoul's tourist locations, so getting halal food in Korea doesn't seem to be much of a problem. And although most of the halal food eateries in Korea are either Indian or Mediterranean, there are a couple of popular Malay and Indonesian cuisine places which they frequent. Variety does not seem to be a problem!

A Korean Hari Raya

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram 

Hari Raya may not be the same in Korea the way it is in Singapore, but the pair have just as much fun!

''We celebrate Hari Raya with our friends here. Usually, it falls on a workday and both of us will apply for leave. For our first year here, we had a potluck open house hosted by one of our Singaporean friends. It was the first time most of us cooked Raya dishes. We also did solat Hari Raya and takbeer together since the masjid wasn't open due to the pandemic.''

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram 

The most recent Hari Raya we also celebrated with friends but at our own place since the number of people allowed at gatherings were limited to four.''

Embracing the cultures of their new home, Adcruz also celebrates Korean festivals like Seollal, the Lunar New Year and Chuseok, the Mid-autumn festival! On the public holidays days, they travel around Seoul or rent a car to explore the outskirts of Seoul.

Being With Family

But after all the excitement of living abroad as expatriates, the couple has not forgotten their family back home.

Credit: @adcruzstory on Instagram 

''We usually keep in contact with family via WhatsApp chats, videos, and skype calls. My family is spread across Singapore, Australia, and Korea, so we're quite used to it. However, (due to the pandemic), this is the first time we're not able to fly back freely whenever we want.''

Living overseas definitely comes with its challenges, but Singaporean Muslims Nurulhuda & Fairoz seem to have settled in quite nicely! And after enjoying all that Korea has to offer, when asked whether they'd ever move back home to Singapore, Nurulhuda told us, ''Definitely, though at this moment we're pretty comfortable with our lives here.''