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Multicultural Sri Lanka has been ranked as the world’s fourth best non-Islamic destination for Halal-friendly travel. Sri Lanka’s ranking is as per a compilation by Halal website Crescent rating which has listed top 10 destinations among Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) as well as non-OIC states. Bosnia and Herzegovina top the latter category followed by Singapore, South Africa and Sri Lanka. In listing Sri Lanka, the website said Sri Lanka’s large Muslim population means Halal restaurants are aplenty in addition to number of Muslim-owned roadside food outlets. Among OIC countries Malaysia ranked top followed by Egypt and Turkey.
There are plenty of options to find Halal food in Sri Lanka to indulge in for a visitor there. Due to the large and active Muslim community Halal Food in Sri Lanka, is widely available across the island. However only a handful of them have got themselves certified as Halal by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Limited (HAC), which is the main Halal Certifying body in Sri Lanka. Currently the Halal certified outlets are mainly fast food chains. There are also a number restaurants which assure that they serve Halal food, although they have no certification. Most of them are Muslim owned. It is advisable to check with locals before you select such a restaurant to dine. Apart from the fast food chains and the fine-dining restaurants, there a quite a number of roadside food outlets which are Muslim owned and serve "Halal Food". These outlets will generally have a Muslim name and have signage to reflect that. They are not upmarket restaurants, but some of them probably serve some of the best local cuisine in Sri Lanka. Being a majority Buddhist country, there is also a wide selection of vegetarian food outlets all across the island. The locals mainly have rice with vegetable and meat/fish curries. The local food is generally spicy, but some of the restaurants catering to the visitors to Sri Lanka, do serve milder versions of Sri Lankan Cuisine. There are also a variety of snacks known locally as "Short eats". They are generally sold in bakeries or coffee shops. Most of them do not have a Halal certificate. Although most of them do not serve pork based "short eats", it is good to check with local Muslims where to buy Halal ones. They are great snacks to have as starters or with tea or coffee. They also have a range of sweets made from rice flour and coconut milk.
The Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Limited, or HAC, is the only entity certifying and conducting professional and internationally accepted compliance audits for Halal standards in Sri Lanka. A not for profit organization duly incorporated under the Companies’ Act No. 7 of 2007, the HAC was founded by some of Sri Lanka’s leading and respected captains of industry and professionals from diverse areas of specialization with the objective of fulfilling the need to issue certification on and subsequently monitor the compliance of international standards of Halal compliance within the island.
With this Halal certification and compliance auditing service in place, Sri Lankan corporates, especially in the export sector, are poised to enter into and thrive in the global Halal market which is estimated to make up 2 Trillion US dollars representing the purchasing power of close to 2 billion Halal conscious consumers.
Halal standards, while known to be based on certain religious principles, call for the utmost quality, safety and benefit in products for all human beings including consumers of different faiths and cultures.
With the aim of being a professional organization of international repute, the HAC has partnered with the foremost religious scholars in Sri Lanka in order to benefit from their expertise in establishing Halal standards locally and to maintain credibility among Halal conscious consumers both here and abroad.
The HAC has also employed scientific and technical experts and highly skilled professionals in every necessary field of organizational management in order to deliver the highest possible level of quality in service to corporate clients who volunteer to incorporate Halal standards in their manufacturing processes and supply chains.
As such it obviously becomes necessary to charge a reasonable fee for the delivery of the service, revenue of which are all reinvested into the organization with any further excesses provided for selected national causes.
The HAC envisions that this initiative would assist in the post war economic development of the country whilst creating appropriate awareness on the topic of Halal standards and ensuring the fulfilment of a reasonable constitutional right for people from diverse backgrounds to act upon their respective conscience in making important personal decisions.
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