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Spain's Jamón Iberico Gets a Halal Makeover

It's made from lamb and beef.


This is what happens when one creative Muslim man hams it up: Faysal Mrad Dali, a Tunisian immigrant, has created the world's first halal jamón ibérico according to NPR. Observant Muslims typically do not eat pork products for religious reasons. This makes it tough for those who live in Spain, where the most popular cured meat — jamón — is a "key part of Spanish life."

Dali's "ham" is actually made from lamb, and sometimes beef. The animals are slaughtered "in accordance with Muslim traditions" and then the meat is cured in the same manor as pork jamón, for a minimum of six months. To flavor the meat, he uses local spices like thyme, paprika, and oregano.

Dali's lamb ham apparently looks and tastes "just like pork." While that was the goal, it has caused problems for some Muslims. Many face a "psychological barrier" when it comes to eating anything that even remotely looks like pork. To help combat this, Dali has a large halal certified sticker from the European Islamic Halal Certification on the packaging.

Restaurants from around the country and Europe are already purchasing the halal ham and Dali says that he will open a retail outlet in Belgium in early 2015.

Halal tourism is a market that is rapidly expanding and Spain is hoping to cash in. Over the recent years the country has already seen an 85-percent increase in tourists from Saudi Arabia. This has inspired many companies to create halal-friendly versions of their products. Not only can you find halal ham, but you can also find other unexpected items like halal champagne.

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