Halal cafe encourages cultural exchange through shared meals

Sophia University launched the Tokyo Halal Deli and Cafe on its campus in September as part of its measures to respond to the diversity of nationalities, cultures and religions of its students and faculty.

The cafe uses only certified halal ingredients that are free of pork, seasonings and other ingredients containing pork extracts or alcohol.

The university began selling halal bento lunches in 2015, and they were becoming so popular that all 150 boxes often sold out. Not only Muslims, but also other students, staff and teachers had been enjoying the bento, which led to the university's decision to open a cafe to offer more varieties of halal food.

The cafe is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, offering a selection of breakfast, small a la carte dishes, deli sets, vegetarian dishes, desserts and drinks, many of which are available for takeout.

Supporting the diet of 50 Muslim students on campus is obviously its main purpose, but as an international university that partners with 307 universities in 61 countries and regions, the cultural exchange, experience and understanding that starts over a meal is also important.

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