Halal food stores are increasing in number throughout the United States, but they remain relatively unknown for a majority of Americans. “Halal” is an Arabic word that literally means “permissable,” and is often used with regards to dietary prescriptions in Islamic law. These laws are quite similar to, and often overlap, Jewish kosher laws. However, one need not adhere to any specific creed to enjoy, and benefit from, halal groceries: These stores are treasure troves of unique, affordable, and exotic foodstuffs for any customer.
In Dayton, Ohio, Halal International Grocery has, in recent years, expanded to two locations to serve the community. The stores are locally and family-owned, and are open seven days a week. Walking into Halal International Grocery is quite unlike a trip to the average grocery store. This is not the regular supercenter; in fact, the location on Wayne Avenue is no bigger than about five aisles. However, in halal stores it is about quality, not quantity, and the products available at these stores are rich in flavor and low in price.
Imported cheeses are something of a specialty for Halal International Grocery, both for quality and price, and has even been mentioned in local blogs and articles. Spices are yet another of Halal’s treasures. Towards the back of the store on Wayne is an entire wall dedicated to spices. The variety is more numerous and the prices are much lower than the bottled up spice shakers found in the supercenters.
If customers are feeling particularly adventurous, they can even become masters of South Asian cuisine, without even taking a class. Arguably the most unique products available at Halal’s are the Shan mixes- small boxes containing a blend of ingredients for a number of dishes, including biryani and curry meals. Each box contains enough ingredients to feed a small group and a step-by-step recipe on the box, and is generally less than two dollars!
Halal International Grocery in Dayton, as well as similar stores around the country, is a great marketplace not only for food, but culture as well. The people, store layout, and products all help provide for a fun and enjoyable break from the routine of grocery shopping. Halal stores are perfect places to shop for those who want an international adventure without all the cost or travel.