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Halal Food, Hilal Town Featuring Muslim Thai Culture in the South


The Phuket Provincial Organization and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are joining hands in organizing a food festival, to be called Halal Food, Hilal Town. (Hilal refers to the crescent moon, the symbol of the Muslim religion). The event will take place at Kamala Beach, Kathu District, on the southern island of Phuket from 28 July to 1 August 2005.

 

     

The five-day event aims to provide an opportunity for tourists from all over the world to experience delicious halal food and appreciate folk culture, in an atmosphere of harmonious co-existence between Buddhist and Muslim Thais.

Kamala beach is one of the areas in Phuket affected by the December 26 tsunami. The beach has been restored to its original beauty, and it is ready to host more visitors. Since a great number of people living at Kamala Beach are Muslim Thais, the Phuket Provincial Organization and the TAT have come up with activities featuring local culture to help promote tourism in the area.

Apart from a food bazaar, Halal Food, Hilal Town features a light and sound presentation on the story of Princess Mahsuri, a semi-legendary Muslim princess from Kamala. It also includes a Holy Quran reading competition, a bulbul bird contest, a halal food contest, an exhibition of sustainable tourism, and sales of products from the 14 southern provinces.

Members of the diplomatic corps and media from Muslim countries have been invited to attend the Hilal Food, Hilal Town event. Phuket Province hopes that the event will help open up new markets, not only for Thailands tourism but also for its halal food industry. The Phuket Provincial Organization has arranged training for restaurant operators in the province on food preparation in accordance with the halal certification system, which will help them and to get the halal logo.

Thailand has great potential for halal food production and exports. Halal food consists of products passing through clean production process in conformity with Islamic dietary principles. Consumers of halal food are not confined only to Muslims. A large number of health-conscious consumers are interested in this kind of food as well, because its production process focuses on hygienic standards.

Muslims comprise Thailands largest religious minority. They live throughout the Kingdom, with more than half concentrated in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla, and Satun. The Thai government has a policy to develop the southern region as the countrys halal food production and export area. In 2003, the Government granted a fund for the establishment of the Central Laboratory and Scientific Information Center for Halal Food Development at the Faculty of Allied Health Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

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