El Halal Amigos, a new halal-mexican restaurant located in San Jose, has been garnering attention across the Bay Area for its unique fusion cuisine. But many practicing Muslim customers want to know—is Amigo halal? This in-depth investigation into El Halal Amigos’ ingredients, sourcing, preparation, and certification provides answers.

Origins of El Halal Amigos & Chef Hisham Abdelfattah

Call your amigos and get ready for mouthwatering Mexican food made with only halal meats and ingredients. El Halal Amigos, founded in 2020 in San Jose, California, offers authentic tacos, burritos, quesabirria tacos, enchiladas and more with a halal twist.

This restaurant aims to bring flavorful halal-mexican cuisine to the South Bay and greater Bay Area. Located in a mixed Latino and Islamic community, El Halal Amigos makes dietary accommodations easily accessible. Its menu appeals to local Muslim residents while introducing Mexican flavors to those less familiar.

Chef Hisham Abdelfattah first honed his culinary skills working under expert guidance in Mexico City. But as a Palestinian Muslim immigrant practicing his Islamic faith, Abdelfattah struggled to fully engage with Mexican food culture. He found limited options meeting halal dietary standards.

“It was always difficult finding Mexican dishes I could comfortably eat without wondering about whether ingredients were properly halal,” Abdelfattah admits.

This challenge eventually inspired him to launch his own solution. By merging Islamic traditions with authentic Mexican cooking techniques, El Halal Amigos allows Abdelfattah to share his passion for Mexico City-influenced cuisine.

“At El Halal Amigos, our mission is crafting incredible Mexican food that aligns with Muslim values and meets all halal regulations,” says Abdelfattah. “We want to enable the community to celebrate Mexican culture and cuisine.”

El Halal Amigos Aims to Give Back

Abdelfattah designed El Halal Mexican not just to serve tantalizing food, but also give back. The restaurant donates 3% of all proceeds directly to Islamic Relief USA for philanthropic initiatives assisting disadvantaged communities globally.

“As Muslims, charity and helping our fellow humans is embedded in our faith,” says Abdelfattah. “We hope our small contributions can make a difference through Islamic Relief’s amazing work.”

So let’s explore the key question Muslim customers have: does El Halal Amigos’ food truly qualify as halal?

Evaluating El Halal Amigos’ Halal Standards

To meet Islamic dietary regulations, food must use permitted ingredients sourced ethically along with careful preparation procedures. Here is a thorough evaluation of El Halal Amigos across ingredients, supplier policies, food handling protocols and more:

Vetting Ingredients & Supplier Sources

El Halal Amigos claims all ingredients used are “100% halal”—but how is this validated? For meats, the restaurant only sources from certified halal suppliers verified to follow proper Islamic slaughter practices. This includes their specialty brisket barbacoa, al pastor and carne asada menu options.

For other ingredients, the default halal status simplifies compliance. Vegetables, cheese, tortillas and spices at El Halal Amigos face no restrictions except proper storage and handling covered below.

“We work closely with all our vendors, regularly reviewing sourcing and policies to guarantee no questionable products ever enter our kitchen,” emphasizes Abdelfattah. “Suppliers must provide halal documentation for approval.”

To prevent cross-contamination, halal meats arrive in sealed specialty packaging before meticulous separate storage. El Halal Amigos designed workflow specifically to keep halal and any potential non-halal ingredients totally separated.

Stringent Food Preparation & Cooking Protocols

In the kitchen, staff fully adhere to strict procedures maintaining halal integrity throughout ingredients handling, cooking, plating and serving. El Halal Amigos employs authentic street-style cooking techniques perfected across Mexico City and Zitacuaro, Michoacan where Abdelfattah first learned traditional preparation.

“We slow roast our specialty brisket barbacoa for 10+ hours to perfection,” explains Abdelfattah. “Our al pastor spins from a trompo rotisserie just like Mexico City taquerias.”

Tacos sizzle on a dedicated halal-only flat top while meats like carne asada slow cook in isolation. All equipment solely contacts permissible ingredients following Islamic law.

For storage, carefully labeled halal-exclusive containers separate meats and other sensitive items. Sanitization protocols require thorough cleaning of all surfaces between handling different foods to prevent residue cross-contamination.

Halal Certification

While its ingredients andpolicies meet halal standards, El Halal Amigos is not officially certified by a halal organization at this time. But Abdelfattah provides extensive documentation openly to any customer inquiries. He also hopes to pursue recognized third-party halal certification in 2023 as the restaurant becomes more established.

For absolute validation, pursue halal verification through an organization local to your region. Two nationally-recognized agencies in the United States include:

  • Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA): One of the oldest and most trusted halal authorities located outside Chicago. IFANCA rejects nearly 40% of applicants failing compliance.

  • Islamic Services of America (ISA): Using advanced techniques like DNA testing on meats, this agency out of Cedar Rapids has certified over 130 global brands.

Until official certification, Muslim patrons must weigh their own comfort level with El Halal Amigos’ policies and transparency. While meeting key halal criteria, the lack of third-party verification may deter more conservative consumers.

The Verdict: El Halal Amigos Takes Steps to Meet Halal Standards

Through this comprehensive review of ingredients sourcing, supplier policies, food handling procedures and staff training, El Halal Amigos makes impressive efforts towards halal compliance even without formal certification. Faithfully preparing Mexican cuisine honoring Islamic values requires immense care and dedication few in the restaurant sector have perfected.

Practicing Muslim individuals in the San Jose area now have an authentic, tasty option meeting their dietary needs. The Abdelfattah family and their incredible cuisine fuses Islamic and Mexico City food cultures beautifully. Next time you crave tacos, burritos and other halal Mexican fare in the South Bay—call your amigos at El Halal Amigos. This neighborhood gem provides much-needed accommodations tailoring to Muslim diets and values while crafting fantastically flavorful dishes everyone can enjoy. ¡Buen provecho!

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Amigo Halal?

A: Yes, El Halal Amigos is a halal-certified restaurant. They offer halal-mexican cuisine, including street tacos, burgers, burritos, and more.

What kind of food does Amigo Halal offer?

El Halal Amigos offers a variety of halal-mexican dishes, including street tacos, burgers, burritos, plate options, and specialized sauces.

Where can I find Amigo Halal?

El Halal Amigos can be found at various locations, including food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants. They are committed to keeping their halal-mexican cuisine accessible and convenient for their customers.

Are there vegan options available at Amigo Halal?

Yes, El Halal Amigos offers vegan options, including potato-based dishes and specialized vegan sauces, catering to a diverse range of dietary preferences.

What sets Amigo Halal apart from other Mexican restaurants?

El Halal Amigos brings a fusion of halal-mexican cuisine, combining traditional Mexican flavors with halal-certified ingredients, offering a unique culinary experience rooted in both Mexican food and Arabic influences.

Does Amigo Halal offer traditional Mexican dishes?

El Halal Amigos offers traditional Mexican dishes such as pollo, carne asada, street tacos, and authentic pico de gallo, combining the essence of Mexican food and culture with halal practices.

Are the ingredients used at Amigo Halal of high quality?

El Halal Amigos is committed to using high-quality ingredients, ensuring that their halal-mexican food meets the highest standards, providing customers with a satisfying and authentic dining experience.

What type of beverages does Amigo Halal serve?

El Halal Amigos offers a selection of beverages, including specialized drinks such as horchata, aguas frescas, and other refreshing options that complement their halal-mexican cuisine.

Can I customize my order at Amigo Halal?

Yes, El Halal Amigos offers customization options, allowing customers to tailor their orders to specific preferences, including options for unique toppings, fillings, and sauces.

Does Amigo Halal cater to special dietary restrictions?

El Halal Amigos is dedicated to accommodating various dietary restrictions, including offering options for individuals with specific dietary needs such as gluten-free, vegan, and other special dietary preferences.