Eats - Pakistani, Northern Indian, Halaal
215 S. Ellsworth Ave. San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone: 650-558-9735 | Website
Specializes in regional vegetarian and Halaal (allowed by Muslim teachings) meat cuisines from northern Indian and Pakistan according to their collateral. I went here with a coworker for lunch. They have a lunch buffet, which looked fine, but we decided to order from the menu. We had lamb samosas to start, which were lightly spiced and very nice. For entrees we had chicken makhani (butter chicken) which was so-so, two vegetables (chana masala and aloo matter) which were fantastic, and the standout dish of tandooric catfish marinated in yogurt with ginger, garlic, and spices then flash cooked in the tandoori. Tandoori fish, when done right, is second only to Chinese steaming when it comes to my favorite ways to prepare fish. The flesh was succulent, just cooked, and utterly delicious. Service is quite good and very friendly. Lunch came to about $35 I think. 08/03
Update 09/24/03: Returned when my friend took me out for my belated birthday dinner. We ordered a variety of vegetable dishes, veggie samosa, and the tandoori fish, which I love. One of the owners said that Pakistani food isn't greatly different from Indian food, although the meats obviously have to be halaal (their meats come from Stockton).
A Bit About Halaal (Muslim dietary restrictions)
Because of the purity requirements of these foods, they tend to be a) fresher, and b) more healthy.
According to what I could find on the web, the laws come from the Holy Koran, the Hadith, and the teachings of Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki and Hanbali. If you eat any (and they really mean any) Haraam foods, it affects the acceptance of worship. In a nutshell, the forbidden foods are as follows (source: www.jamiat.org.za):
- Pork and pork products are totally forbidden.
- Dairy products like cheese and margarine made from plant, microbes, synthetic rennet are okay
- The utensils should be separate for Muslims and non-Muslims
- Any item marked or stamped with any form of Halaal certification must be verified by Appointed the Muslim theologians well versed in Islamic requirements regarding Halaal
- All carnivorous animals and birds, e.g. lions, tigers, vultures, eagles, etc.
- Any Halaal animal that has died due to natural causes, killed by another animal, by a fall, or slaughtered by a non-Muslim
- Flesh that has been sacrificed for some god or goddess
- All forms of najasat (impurities)
Animals that aren't traditionally used for food, donkeys, monkeys, elephants, etc.
- Food containing Haraam items to be avoided at all times e.g. fish prepared with wine, cakes and ice-cream containing liquor
- Contamination of a Halaal item with non-Halaal will render it non-Halaal/Haraam and unacceptable.
Foods that are allowed
as long as it has been slaughtered by a Muslim according to Islamic laws:
- Fish that has been caught, i.e., not one that died a natural death
- All types of poultry, partridges, pigeons, etc.
- Goats, sheep, cattle, camel and all types of buck, buffalo.
The interesting thing is that as new foods are developed, the laws evolve, e.g., the rules about vanillin, a relatively modern synthetic.