Old Town White Coffee: Halal or not?

Before I went to eat at the Old Town White Coffee restaurant, I had some reservations whether they serve halal food or not. Nevertheless I go to eat there anyway after seeing many Muslims eating there as well. After that though I started to doubt the halalness of this place. First of all, they don't have any halal certificate displayed at their premise. Just by employing Muslim workers doesn't make the food halal. In this modern world today, some so-called Muslims doesn't really give a hoot whether they work at a halal restaurant or not. As long as they get paid by the end of the month then it's alright.

So I did a little bit googling on the net and come across several disturbing revelations about Old Town White Coffee. At the Jakim Halal website (now handled by Halal Industry Development Corp), it is stated that this restaurant is not a holder of Jakim's or any other state's religious body halal certificate. They did hold a halal certificate for several of their coffee products though but none for the rest of the food served at their restaurant. Then I found this interesting blog entry which all but confirms my doubt about Old Town White Coffee. This blog post basically tells about the author's wife who confronted the Old Town staff who admitted that their food is not halal.

From then on we stopped going to Old Town White Coffee or any other restaurant which don't have some sort of halal certificate posted at their premise. Consuming non-halal food is no trivial matter for Muslims. I have nothing against Old Town or other local franchises but they do have a social responsibility to inform their Muslim patron that their food is not certified halal. And just being pork free doesn't necessarily mean it's halal. If KFC, McDonald's and Pizza Hut can take the trouble to get their franchises certified, I don't see why Old Town and other similar businesses can't. If they're serious about the local food business that is and if they like to see Muslim customer continue patronizing their outlets.


Oldtown White Coffee outlets is certified halal by the Islamic Food Research Centre Asia (IFRCA). Checkout my latest post on this topic here or head on straight to the IFRCA website here.


  1. if i were you - with such doubt, i wont even think about it.

  2. they're not in the business to serve the majority of minority purchasing power anyway.. so why bother

  3. its entirely the fault of Muslim customers, NOT the owner or management of the restaurant. Obviously the owner s are not Muslim, and they just want to make profit.

  4. abg,

    everything sold by a non-muslim must be viewed in such suspicious mindset? kalau gitu, you don't have to live anywhere outside malaysia. Pak arabs, iranians, iraqis, palestinians and most muslims i have met don't even have such prejudice mindset.


  5. The main reason actually why a lot of restaurants don't have or get the Halal certification is because it is expensive (or it used to be, at least) or just so darned complicated.

    For example, I know that Coffee Bean for a while didn't have a Halal cert was because the milk they used was imported from Australia and they had trouble trying to get that particular ingredient certified as Halal. They would have had to independently pay for the lab analysis for that product. One rogue ingredient and the whole place obviously can't be certified.

    I think you will also find that a lot of hawker stalls don't really have the official Halal certification - for example, practically all the stalls you see at a pasar Ramadhan will actually _not_ be officially certified Halal. The situation is the same for goods sold at a wet market (Was it grown using pig excrement? Was it transported in the same van used to carry pork products? These matter to some). However, public trust obviously overlooks this shortcoming.

    Ironically, Middle Eastern countries seem to practically ignore Halal as a brand as long as the food comes from that region. They do seem to value it when imported from overseas, though.

    Do check out who exactly the certification body is that awarded the Halal cert. It is very possible for one body in somewhere like Australia would classify something one way when JAKIM may go the other way.

    Reasons for this difference come from the nitty gritty: for example, if the cow was stunned before it was slaughtered; if certain growth hormones were used; if the colouring is something like Cochineal,etc. Different councils disagree about them.

    Lastly, there has been an attempt to market halal goods to non-muslims from the food safety aspect. Obviously the religious connotations would not matter as much, and there may be a loosening of interpretations in order to become more competitive.

    As a result, it must be recognised that Halal is as much a business brand, more than just merely an aid to muslims.

  6. Nice comments, Dzof.

    But I do think if one is already "was-was" about the halal-ness of the food, it's already practically haram already, is it not? *shrug*

  7. WY Kam and Dzof, if you do not understand Islam please do not write and condemn. Halal is a very important aspect and factor for ALL Muslims since consuming Non Halal food affects their whole life chain.

    I think for Muslims, if one is suspicious of the status of food whether its halal or not, Islam tells you to avoid it. Eat only what you are sure its halal.

  8. Not a surprise considering this is coming from the owner of a restaurant who refuse to open up the franchise to Bumi.

  9. Dear all,

    Like Zaharibb said, Halal food is a very important aspect for all Muslims. Islam dictates that their followers only eat food prepared with a certain strict guidelines. The animal we consume must be slaughtered the Islamic way and every ingredient used must be free from substance that are haram in Islam even if it's just one tiny bean. Yes it may be expensive, complicated and troublesome for some but it's the LAW (for Muslims) and there's no compromise for that. If one Muslim was to pick a fruit from a tree by the roadside, that fruit is considered haram too because we don't know who owns that fruit tree and we have to ask the permission from the owner first. I've never been to the middle east so I don't know whether it's true that they regard this halal thing lightly.

    I have no prejudice or problem consuming food sold by non-muslim owners just as long as they are truly halal. And one way to confirm that is to get a halal certification. Old Town White Coffee and similar business can choose to ignore this little issue but at the expense of losing potential Muslim customers in the future OR they can take the effort to make their restaurant certified halal, get the approval from fussy Muslim customers like me, rake millions in profit and everybody's happy. The choice is in their hands (and ours).

    Then again, there's always other places to eat out there. And btw I always buy my vegies from Muslim traders first whenever possible. :)

  10. I agree, if you have doubts, then it's best that you just avoid it.

    Actually, I am muslim, but yes - I was trying to point out that whether something is halal or not can be a subjective thing. I almost want to say it's 'personal', but I know that phrase will definitely be controversial.

    Obviously the people who frequent Old Town White Coffee are fine with it. It may be because they don't know that it doesn't have official halal certification - or it may be that it's not as important to them that it does.

    Similarly, people who only want the halal cert so that they can gain access to a wider market don't really care so much if it's really halal, as long as they have an official seal that says it is.

    As for the Middle Eastern attitude, here's a story that might summarise it: I once was in a meeting when a high-ranking delegate from the Middle East was confused when we talked about halal beef. "Halal? Isn't all beef halal?", he asked.

  11. whoaa...

    hi fifi..whoever said nobody visits your blog anymore?

  12. Please consider to investigate about the noodles they used for the Nissin Noodles menu. I found that the nissin noodles is NOT HALAL. So, maybe we can make a conclusion that the food there is not halal...

  13. No prejudice for the non-muslim food makers out there but until we see a JAKIM or similar body certification plastered at the wall of their outlets, better stay away from there. It's not like we don't have any other choice.

    I'm sure Old Town White Coffee or anybody else for that matter can get their halal status accredited if they want to, but they don't (or never bothered).

    Such a pity, their food actually tasted good, but well.. I value the sanctity of what I eat first.

  14. Thanks Afif, and the rest for being sensitive over the 'halal cert issues'. I had never tried foods there.. but somehow I've tried their instant 3+1 oldtown white coffe sold in sachets.. of coz after confirming that it is stamped with 'jakim halal logo'. however.. when only 4/5 sachets left.. i noticed that it contains E471 and E472e, which maybe halal or haram depending on it sources... feeling not sure.. i stop drinking it. but it does not make me feels 'clean'..:(

    WY Kam, thanks for your nice comment. but MUSLIM MUST be selective of their food, to ensure our life chain, as well as our generation's blood and cells formations. do you know that we cant 1)use utensils that had once used for pork/dog? 2)eat unslughtered animal/ sloughtered by non-muslim 3) meats/fish that is not cleaned according to islam's guidelines? i dont want to write in details here but we have reasons why we have to be selective. it does not mean that we suspect anything fishy.. its just that, 'if they're not muslim, they do not know our concerns'. that is all.well, even some muslim are not aware of these guidelines...

    one more info.. I went to even makkah and medina before. if you wonder inside theier shopping complexes, majority of the canned food are from USA. no halal sign etc. I am puzzled, but trying to console myself by assuming that whatever have cross saudi's border have been thoroughly checked and we should not doubt on that. again, it was and still MY ASSUMPTIONS. arabs, who came here think of the same way with me. I have talked to many of them. they said ' well, malaysia is a muslim country, so every food in muslim country is halal. they thought our goverment have ensured that:( that is why they love coming here. Malaysia truly asia.. visit malaysia means visit indonesia, china and india (3 in 1).. see all 3 races, all 3 kind of food, all 3 culture etc2.

  15. Rationally, HALAL for Muslims is very much similar with Vegetarians who can only consume veggies and not meat....

    If ppl (even of the same race) can respect vegetarians by not offering or serving em' food other than veggies or organics, why can't anybody respect the Muslims for our beliefs and ideology...?

    When mind is corrupted out of visual differences, ppl tend to be selective in perception and judgmental...how sad...

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  17. Islam is very simple, practical and provide clear defined guideline for human being to live in this world.

    Halal is clear and the haram is also clear. Anything between them is called "syubhah"(Suspicious).

    Islam recommends Muslims to prevent from these "syubhah" to safeguard himself from committing actual Haram.

  18. I found out that there are 2 OTWC outlet is shared buy a Malay Muslim. One of it is in Bandar Baru Bangi. The other one is in TTDI if I'm not mistaken.

  19. I'm a muslim but sometimes I felt Halal concept in malaysia merely on surface. We too concern when we see the E471 even there is halal sign there. Halal is more broader then slaughter chicken le, mkn kat pinggan x serve pork etc. Read the holy Quran and there is no on hukum guna pinggan/utensil bekas pork but what has been stress by Allah so much was using orphanage money or anything to do with menaniaya org. I'm not saying its wrong utk really prove that food is halal or not but what I try to say sometimes there are thing we do that is may not halal but we didnt bother to really think of it mcm kita cari halal&haram makanan. As simple in Malaysia, do you think privillege that we have in Malaysia is halal. I'm not sure .. I still thinking of it :(

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  21. halal haram covers most aspects of life as a muslim.

    relationships, source of income, food.
    anon commented that there is no hukum about using pinggan bekas that was also used to store pork, but if im not mistaken, there are rules governing that as well kan,?

    the issue about old town is indeed valid. i remember eating pieces of chicken, and it didnt taste like it was slaughtered properly. it reminded me of the non halal chicken i once bought in tesco uk back during my student years.

    anyhow. the point is. juz becoz we are in malaysia, we cant juz assume that if they dont sell pork, then it can be considered halal.
    and as for that mid eastern dude who thought all beef are halal.thats nothing new. i was once informed by an mid eastern muslim that the food sold in his shop, is all halal. but he serves ham, and after checking, he said, the ham is from pork.

  22. it is best not to make assumptions...call the company to rectify! don't judge or make statements without knowing the facts!

  23. yes i have tried to get a franchise but yes they do not give to bumiputra that made me wonder about their Halal logo,Its from South east asia don't know who issue for them.yes they do take malay wokers but they do not know where the suppliers comes from just taking orders only.So when one is in doubt just dont eat there cos there are many other muslim restaurant that is just as good.

  24. hi..if you already know it is non-hala, you must avoid it!!

  25. yea....this is shockin~ i juz found out about the status of old town cafe~ there're several cafe are non halal...in malaysia such as....newtown kopitiam, white house kopitiam, pak hainan kopitiam, and jom bali kopitiam...in order to protect ur generation.. we hav to tell this to public and still..till now we can see loads of muslims are still eating and go to these cafe~....

  26. drop by to this web...it'll tell u not only oldtown cafe make us suspicious bout the status of food whether its halal or not~..... http://blog. mixterr.com/old-town-white-cofee-anti-islam-tidak-halal/

  27. tq afif...let's fight for ISLAM..Muslims are in danger nowadays..even in what they're eating..it's best that we choose food outlets with Halal cert or otherwise go home and cook on your own..ok!

  28. You guys are very funny bunch. Some Muslim kecoh abt halal non halal food but have no reservation drinking liquor, taking bribes,makan duit anak yatim and the list goes on.Don't you think the sources from this sins is become their flesh n blood too?? BTW, I'm Muslim.Just thougt to ponder before we start screaming for nothing abt halal/non halal food. You want to be good Muslim is not abt the food alone. It cover many aspect.