DAVAO CITY — Restaurateur Wady Vapor is set to open a halal bar which will be the first not just in Mindanao but in the Philippines.
The bar will be located in Wady’s Bistro (formerly the Zabadani restaurant) this month. The halal bar serve halal mocktails which are meant to dissipate the intensity of spices and tone down the strong tastes of the restaurant’s dishes, particularly the biryani, an Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat, fish, or vegetables.
“That’s the main intention of the halal bar, we wanted to tone down the after taste of the biryani and all the spices… the biryani we use 13 spices in it. Meron mga customers na kahit umaga na nalalasahan pa rin nila ’yung spices (there are customers who can taste the spices even the next morning) so we don’t want that — although, it is a compliment… That is why we will be introducing the halal bar,” he said.
Mr. Vapor said the ingredients that they will use in the mocktails are halal certified from Malaysia and Indonesia.
The restaurant will also have a fine dining section, a pizzeria, and an old-school carpeted platform, aside from the halal bar.
Wady’s Bistro will also carry his line of homemade organic and signature perfumes, and dairy products like butter and cheese. His perfumes are made of 100% halal therapeutic grade essential oils which he imports.
“I made and mixed all my perfumes. Nagagamit ko din ang pagiging nosy ko sa restaurant (I got to use my being ‘nosy’ in the restaurant),” he said.
The bistro will also serve as a halal marketplace where all Muslim entrepreneurs are welcome to display their products next to his own products.
He said that with his restaurant and products, he plays a very small part in the government’s campaign promoting halal.
“We merely focus on the food, but when we speak of halal it is a broad term and cuts across food, financing, living, clothing, and lifestyle. Because we cannot finance or open a project from a non-halal source such as gambling or ill-gotten finances, all our finances should be coming from a halal source or earned by blood and sweat,” he said.
The government has long campaigned for the halal sector but it has yet to take off.
Department of Tourism (DoT) Assistant Secretary Eden Josephine David said the everyone cannot strictly follow halal because everything about the process should really be halal, from financing down to the food and services. The DoT is eyeing to pilot Muslim-friendly tourist destinations. She said that there is no standard for halal tourism services as long as all of the halal value chain is in place.
Speaking before businessmen and officials of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCII) last year at the Davao Agri Trade Expo 2017, Senator Cynthia Villar said Mindanao, home to about seven million Muslim Filipinos, can become the halal hub of the country.
Ms. Villar said it is already being actively promoted as the halal production center of the country and gateway to the BIMP-EAGA or the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area.
Halal producers in the Philippines are well-positioned to take advantage of the global halal market said Ms. Villar, who is the chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food. She said the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act will allow the country to take advantage of a $1.6-trillion world market for halal products.
“Halal trade is an industry where the Philippines is relatively new, but poses a huge potential. Developing and promoting the halal industry will significantly help Filipino farmers and food producers. It will also boost local employment opportunities,” she said. — Maya M. Padillo