Restaurants serving ostrich meat are noting its rising popularity even as a Malaysian lecturer cast doubt whether the meat is Halal.
“Our meat is in fact halal, because we get it from the Brunei Meat
Company in Brunei and it was certified by two religious department
officers,” said Mohd Nova Akbar, Rizqun Coffeehouse chef. The
restaurant has an ongoing promotion for ostrich meat imported from
Saudi Arabia. He said the birds were processed under the strict
supervision of the Brunei Religious Department.
“A lot of people who come in to try the ostrich meat, inquire about
whether it is halal or not, but we tell them that it is because it has
been certified by Brunei,” he said.
Mohd Nova said that on average, depending on the part of the ostrich, a kilo of ostrich meat costs about $17.
In a recent report, Professor Dr Abdul Salam Babji from the
Department of Chemical Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan
Malaysia, said an ostrich is considered a “bird of prey” and that under
the Islamic context, “birds of prey” are not halal.
Bi Yi, assistant supervisor at the Emperor’s Court restaurant, said,
“Before it wasn’t so popular, and then we did not have stock of the
ostrich meat but now that we have stock we are getting a lot of
customers asking us about the ostrich meat.” She added that customers
who like ostrich meat like the taste because it is mostly meat without
Bi Yi said their supply of ostrich meat is halal.
She said even with the pricing, ostrich meat is gaining popularity.
“We charge the ostrich meat to be the same as venison and beef. It is
about $18 for a small portion, $25 for a medium portion and $35 for a
large portion,” she said.
Teo Poi Hoon Foodstall, one of the more popular restaurants serving
ostrich meat, said they buy the meat from a local supplier and the meat
has been certified halal. “We are popular for our ostrich meat dishes …
I think it is popular because of its taste. It is like beef,” said a
restaurant assistant, who wished to remain anonymous. She said their
ostrich meat side dishes are considered more reasonably priced, as a
small dish is about $15. “We also have just ostrich meat and rice for
one person and that will be about $8. For noodles with ostrich meat, it
can go between $6 and $8,” she said.
She added that it is a popular meat in Brunei and that there will be more people who enjoy it.
Rizqun’s Mohd Nova said, “It is a delicacy, a rare type of meat that
is healthy because it’s from a bird but the texture is red like meat.”
He added that the meat will definitely gain more popularity.
The Brunei Times