A blog about food in Thailand
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Muslim hospitality

Posted date:  March 26, 2009
7 Comments


 Making a communal meal for merit, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

While scooting around Ko Yao Noi I came across the scene above, a local woman stirring a vast wok of fragrant curry. I stopped and asked what was going on and she explained that she doing the Muslim equivalent of making merit by sacrificing an animal (in this case a buffalo) and sharing the meat with friends and family:

Making a communal meal for merit, Ko Yao Noi, Thailand

The woman went on to explain that because I wasn’t a Muslim, I couldn’t eat any of the food — not even one bite — as doing so would render the merit invalid. She was very clear about this, and repeated it several times, not to be exclusive, I suspected, but rather because she felt guilty that she couldn’t offer any to me. Ko Yao Noi is a predominately Muslim island, and like other Muslim places I’ve been (Pakistan, Bangladesh and other places in southern Thailand), the hospitality and generosity run thick. I found the residents of Ko Yao Noi in particular to be the friendliest people I’ve met anywhere in Thailand. I ran into characters ranging from a man who uses monkeys to gather coconuts:

Local who uses monkeys to gather coconuts, Ko Yao Noi

to a group of Muslim missionaries:

Muslim missionaries, Ko Yao Noi

and everybody was genuinely friendly, generous and kind. These experiences, not to mention some pretty interesting food, have given me a strong desire to visit more Muslim lands. Later this year I’ll have some free time and a lot of frequent flier miles, and at the moment am considering Syria or Yemen (although food-wise, Lebanon and Turkey look pretty interesting). Any Muslim world hands with any suggestions?


7 Comments for Muslim hospitality


I know many experienced Muslim world travelers and Syrians get, hands-down, the most votes for friendliest.

I encourage you to write about this subject if you have the inclination, Austin. I’ve never heard much about religious minorities in Thailand. If you hadn’t said that was curry in the huge pot, I would have taken it for haleem.

well im from turkey, and yeah turkeys food culture is rich and also if you like history it is perfect country for you- istanbul and then i would reccomend you eastern part of turkey especially southeast of turkey – mardin and urfa- .
but i heard also good stories about syria and ,
you didnt mention but i could reccomend you iran too. i didnt see tthere but heard very nice stories and dont let news scare your eyes because u may get surprised ;)
at least ,iran, is in my future trip list :)
any question , u r wellcome ;)

[...]   While scooting around Ko Yao Noi I came across the scene above, a local woman stirring a vast wok of fragrant curry. I stopped and asked what was going on and she explained that she doing the Muslim equivalent of making merit by sacrificing an animal (in this case a buffalo) and sharing the meat with friends and … Read the whole story on Austin Bush Photography [...]

Lovely blog!

Honestly I’ve been to Turkey and Yemen and used to live in Lebanon. It all depends on what you’re looking for. I personally like Lebanon but wouldn’t advise it for a short tip, you really need to feel Lebanon to appreciate it.

Turkey would be your best bet, it’s the safest and much closer to home. You really don’t have a culture shock when you land in Turkey and you feel at home pretty much instantly. The food is great and you have an amazing variety. Now I’m not an expert but from what I can gather they’ve got an incredibly different set of cuisines according to the countries regions. I personally loved the Aegean mezes and the Black Sea cuisine which apparently is not so popular among tourists but should be!

But I found Turkey much less exotic than what I was waiting for, I don’t know how to explain it but it seemed too Western. For a much more different and exotic adventure I definitely recommend Yemen.

Lebanon hands down. It is the “foodie capital” of the the ME. Outrageously good. And people are awesome and its fun!

Hi Austin,

I’m a moslem from Jakarta , Indonesia. This Sacrification of Goats and Cattle is called Idul Adha that observed annualy to commemoreate Prophet Ibrahim that sacrifice his own son Prophet Ismael as instructed by Allah.

This instruction is a test for Prophet Ibrahim, he eventually pas the test and Allah ask him to stop Ismael that are waiting to be slaughtered and change it with Goat.

An adult muslim head of family must sacrifice at least one goat annualy, the meat will distribute to moslem dhuafas (low income, homeless etc). The family will get one part of the meat to be cooked at home.

In Indonesia we usually cook the. goat or cattle in Gulai style, Robust Curry with turmeric, coconut milk and array of spices and herbs.

Its true that as non moslem you couldn’t get the first ration that supposed to be distribute to dhuafas (the poor), but for the food cooked at home, we could share it with anybody regardless the religion.

27 of November is Idul Adha for this year, you are very much welcome at my house to savour Gule Kambing (Goat Curry) and Satay Kambing.

Cheers
Arie Parikesit



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