The above poster is a real one from a restaurant in Waterloo where I was visiting on the weekend. It's a small take-out/cafe style place, where the menu consisted of burgers, fries, chicken wings, shawarmas and gyros. Plus pop - of course. Given that neither fries nor burgers, as promoted by the poster, is fresh or healthy, it got me thinking.
Toronto and the surrounding areas are one of the most blessed in terms of Halal stores and restaurants in Canada. Yet, the over-riding category of these places seem to fall into one of the following:
- "Arabic" places, serving shawarmas but also fast food like burgers, fries, chicken wings.
- "Desi" places serving butter chicken and assorted South Asian ghee-flavored food cooked in a tub of oil.
- Fast food - 'halal' KFCs, Pizza Pizza, and so on.
- Chinese food (usually Hakka). Some are questionable Halal but that's a topic for another day.
Then of course, there are the 'Fillet-o-Fish' eaters. They go to non-Halal places and order the fish meal. Nothing wrong with that, except that in such restaurants the fish typically has consumed even more oil than a meat dish (for example the BK fish burger has twice as much calories as the Whopper).
If you want to eat grilled chicken, or a good sized steak, there's usually nothing. You want to eat healthy non-veg food, you can't do Halal. And that's the sad truth. In the end, doing what is right for you means skipping a healthy meal.