Sunday, December 17, 2017

Buying Pork in Dubai

Consumption of pork is strictly forbidden in Islam, due to passages in the Koran that expressly ban eating the meat or blood of “swine.” This means that pig meat in all its forms is illegal in many Islamic countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia–although you’ll find beef salami, turkey bacon, and chicken sausages.
Nevertheless, a number of supermarkets in Dubai have pork sections. Signposted as being for “Non-Muslims only” — but there are no ID checks or interrogations of the buyers — these are especially common in the parts of town where Western expats are concentrated. One such supermarket is mere minutes from my front door, where a corner of the supermarket sells several kinds of pork products. But in Dubai, the true… um… Mecca of infidel dining is the Waitrose supermarket in the Dubai Mall.
It is one of the ironies of life that, having moved to the Islamic Middle East, I end up consuming more (and better pork) than I ever did in the US or Japan. This Pork Shop is enormous — larger than a Japanese convenience store — and has stunning variety that includes more than 20 types of dried sausages, 12 types of liver pâté, dozens of types of bacon, and countless other types of cuts and chops. Can you imagine a store dedicated to feasting on the flesh of swine in Muslim Arabia?
Dining out is a different story. Pork is harder to find in restaurants than alcohol — while alcohol requires a mere license, pork requires non-Muslim cooks, separate fridges and freezers, and other operational difficulties to serve. Nonetheless, quite a few restaurants, including Kisaku (perhaps the most authentic Japanese restaurant in Dubai) serve pork, and it is not that uncommon to see on the menu in Dubai.

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