For the past three years, thousands have gathered at the Islamic Center of Orange County mosque in Garden Grove in the name of good eats. The annual OC Halal Food Festival, which happens TOMORROW, attracts big crowds with delectable foods from the Muslim world and beyond. For those not in the know, "halal" simply means "permissible" in Arabic and refers to meat prepared in accordance to the guidelines of Islamic faith. It also translates into the universal gastric language of YUM!
The OC Halal Food Festival is open to everyone who'll come and enjoy a bite to eat. "The purpose is to unite people of different cultures and faiths with the love of food," says Silgai Mohmand, an Islamic Society of Orange County committee member and food festival organizer. "It shows that we have a diverse community but at the same time we come together for this great event."
The roll call of cuisines is as diverse as it is delicious. Festival goers can expect to find vendors specializing in Arabic and Afghan food, but also Mexican, Indian, Pakistan, Asian and African dishes! There's even hamburgers and barbecue—all halal, of course. Where else in Southern California can family and friends decide on trying Lebanese shawarma, carne asada tacos and Vietnamese pho all in one place?
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Word is getting out more and more about the event, too. Last year, the OC Halal Food Festival drew 10,000 people throughout the day. With more vendors signing up and an immediate buzz on social media about the event, organizers are expecting even bigger crowds of hungry masses, insha'allah!
Beyond the food trucks and vendors, there's also carnival for children and a bazaar for shoppers. All make for a great day. "There's lines and lines for food and people enjoy themselves," Mohmand says. "It's all about food and all about fun."
I'll help myself to seconds of all of the above!
The 2016 OC Halal Food Festival happens TOMORROW at the Islamic Society of Orange County, 1 Al-Rahman Plaza, Garden Grove, isocmasjid.org, 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. Free. All ages.