Here in HalalTrip we love learning about how Muslims practice their religious obligations and traditions all around the world. It’s especially heartwarming to hear tales of Muslims practicing their faith in non-Muslim majority countries in their own special ways.
We interviewed three of our Muslim friends living in Hong Kong – Yusuf, Rabia and Kiran – about their experiences observing the holy month of Ramadan, as well as preparing for Eid ‘Ul Fitr 2021 in Hong Kong.
To get more information regarding Ramadan 2021, you can also visit our page dedicated to everything about Ramadan!
Yusuf - Student, The University of Hong Kong
Rabia - Student, City University of Hong Kong
Kiran - Student, The University of Hong Kong
Responses have been adapted from video for clarity.
I actually look forward to Ramadan every year because I get 4-5 extra hours of free time to study and do my university work as I usually don’t sleep before Sahur.
Adjusting to my Ramadan schedule is admittedly rather difficult, as we have to wake up early each morning for Sahur at between 4.30 and 4.50 AM. It can be quite tiring as you tend to lack energy throughout the day from not consuming meals while the sun is up.
My strategy for Sahur is to try to eat various kinds of food that makes me fuller so I’ll have energy to last the day. During this month, we usually place a greater focus on prayers, ibadah and self-reflection. But I do take this as a time to learn to be grateful for the things I have as well as to re-energise spiritually by doing things like reading the quran.
“I think that is another defining factor (of Eid), the food.”
My Eid celebrations are usually pretty small-scale. Largely family based. The night before, we put henna on our hair and wash it off the next day. We also cook up special dishes we usually make back in India for Eid. Good food and good company is what makes my Eid.
Eid in Hong Kong, for my family, usually starts with prayers. The men will go to the mosque while my mother, sister and I will perform Eid prayers at home. After that, we usually share a family meal – usually a dessert / something sweet! I also look forward to wearing new clothes, and spending time with my loved ones. We usually celebrate by having a family outing, a picnic with friends, or sometimes even a barbecue.
On the morning of Eid, my family usually prepares sweet dishes before performing the Eid prayer. Then, after breakfast, we dress up in elegant clothes and get together with family to go out for a family outing.
For me and my family, Eid is a time for charity as well, and for giving a helping hand to the poor.
Though day of Eid is not always a holiday in HK, we always have great motivation to get through the day as we look forward to going home to a big feast!
This Eid, may we remember to make prayers for those who might be having a tougher time during this pandemic.
As Hong Kong hasn’t had a lockdown, and COVID-19 restrictions have been minimal, I feel like this is a good time to be gathering as many resources as we can, and donating as much as we can for the greater good.
I’ll definitely still be celebrating with family and having fun, all while maintaining social distancing with friends of course!
“We have learnt to connect in other safer ways and still be able to celebrate with friends and relatives virtually.”
This year Eid will be more meaningful to me – I feel grateful that my family is still safe and well despite the pandemic. Thankfully, we can still go out and celebrate with family in Hong Kong as there are less COVID-19 restrictions too.
And although we all might not have as many gatherings as what we’re used to, we have learnt to connect in other safer ways (like via Zoom!)
“I do look forward to Eid every year since I was a kid because it’s such a beautiful festival!”
We get to wear beautiful clothes and spend time with our families. We also receive something similar to Lai See (red packets in Hong Kong), where we receive money gifts from our parents and elders.
“The message that I will give to other Muslims out there would be to share the Eid love with friends, family and neighbours.”
For me, Eid represents self-assurance, especially during the pandemic. After a month of fasting, on top of my exam season and the pandemic, Eid reminds me to celebrate my wins, reminding me that I can definitely handle pressure, and that I trust myself to do so.
Bombay Dreams. Image Credit: Dining Concepts on Facebook
It's always a challenge to find a Halal restaurant but my favourites are definitely Bismillah in Chung Kung (Tsim Sha Tsui) for it's super cheesy and meaty pizza with olives, bell peppers, tikka, onions etc.
I also recommend Omni Palace because it has the best Xinjiang/Sichuanese spiced chicken wings which are a bit pricey ($30 for 3) but it's worth trying at least once because the flavours are mouth-watering!
I agree with Yusuf, it is definitely a challenge to find halal eateries in Hong Kong but there are still some options available. I usually go to Halal Indian restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui and Central like Spice, Bombay Dreams etc. for meals with my friends or family.
But if I am craving non-Indian/ Pakistani cuisine then I go to Lebanese, Turkish or Persian restaurants; my favourite ones are Shahrazad and LOVEAT. And if I go out with my local friends who prefer Chinese cuisine then we usually go to Islam Food or Ma’s restaurant as they serve Halal Chinese food.
Image Credit: Hong Kong Disneyland
Definitely go to the typical tourist locations first like the Big Buddha, Disneyland, Man Mo temple etc.
But if you have the luxury of time, try to localize yourself by visiting the Cheung Chau fishing villages, hiking up to Mount Johnston, Kam Tin mural village as well as the Hindu temple at Burma lines to learn more about the contributions of the South Asian community to Hong Kong in the past.
Hong Kong is a wonderful place and there are definitely a lot of places to explore. Depending on one’s preference, there are a lot of countryside parks, hiking trails and beaches especially in Sai Kung area that are perfect for nature lovers like me.
I would also recommend visiting outlying islands to enjoy breathtaking views. But as HK is known as a city of skyscrapers, the city side definitely has its own glamour and there are a lot of historical buildings from colonial era and magnificent places like rooftop restaurants, Sky100, Victoria Harbour, Nan Lian Garden and so on that are all worth visiting.
Want to #discoverhongkong? Click here to find out more about all the Muslim-friendly attractions and Halal restaurants in Hong Kong!
Thank you to Yusuf, Rabia and Kiran for sharing your Hong Kong Eid experiences. Eid Mubarak everyone!