One Tunisian immigrant in Spain has just changed the eating game for Muslims across the world...
If you're a Muslim that travels abroad, you have probably at some point in your life accidentally (“accidentally”) tried pork and consequently been astounded at how damn tasty it is but also felt too guilt-ridden by religion to eat it again (naturally, this is debatable). Also, side note, raise your hand if you’ve ever been in the situation of no, no, I’m Muslim, I don’t eat pork – yes, pour me another beer please. Whatever, we are not here to judge your hypocrisy, simply to let you know, that Spain’s famous jamón (aka ham, just ham, for all you non-Spanish people out there; you don’t have to bother with the weird lisp-y pronunciation), now comes in a halal version.
In a Spanish town called Cumbres Mayores in the mountains of Andalusia – a town famous for producing the country’s signature ham – Tunisian immigrant Faysal Mrad Dali has created the country’s first halal jamón. He moved there three years ago and his company now creates jamón that mimics the exact taste of ham, except it’s entirely halal. It’s made from lamb, and occasionally beef, instead of pork, but the meat is cured in the same traditional Spanish way that jamón is, for a minimum of six months, and uses the same fresh local spices. It looks and tastes exactly like regular ham, but it’s been certified by Islamic authorities.
This small town actually has a very long history of ham-curing, going back to the 17th century, and Dali is so far the only Muslim in his village doing what he’s doing, but he’s meeting a demand in the Spanish market. Spain has experienced a big growth in Muslim tourists over the past few years and a large part of where they’ll spend their money is food. The government doesn’t track tourists by religion obviously, but by looking at nationality, they get an idea of the change in Muslims tourists. For instance, last year, Spain saw an 85% increase in Saudi Arabian tourists compared to the previous year, a 30% increase in Algerians, and a 57% increase in Turks. Halal products like the ham that Dali’s making, cater to this influx perfectly. Also, if it tastes as good as the real thing, we’re guessing it’s awesome and comes with the added benefit of being guilt-free eating for Muslims. Now bring us some sangria to have with our halal ham. JK.