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Living: Food

Jews and Muslims may only eat certain foods. Pork is forbidden to both. For Jews, food must be kosher ('allowed' in Hebrew); for Muslims it must be halal ('allowed' in Arabic). The rules determining kosher and halal foods are very similar. (There are a very few differences: camel meat may be eaten by Muslims but not Jews, for instance.)

In the Muslim world, halal refers to anything permitted by Islam: not only food but also dress, behaviour and so on. The usage of the word kosher in the Jewish world is similar.

The opposite of halal is haram, 'forbidden'. For Jews it is trafe (non-kosher).

To be kosher, animals must have cloven hooves and chew their cud. Beef and lamb is permitted therefore but not pork. Kosher birds include domestic fowl such as chickens, but not birds of prey. Kosher fish must have fins and scales. Shellfish and crabs are therefore forbidden. There are rules for the slaughter of animals to ensure that all the blood drains out. Meat and dairy products must not be mixed. They cannot be stored together, put in the same dish, or prepared with the same utensils. Some more observant Jews might have additional requirements for kosher food, for example only drinking kosher wine.

The rules of slaughter for halal food are similar to those for kosher food. The Qur'an rules out animals that have died in other ways, and expressly forbids pork. All fish (with scales and fins), fruits and vegetables are halal, but not anything which may contain pork products (biscuits may contain fat derived from pigs, for example). The Qur'an forbids intoxicants, including all drugs and alcohol (except for clear medical reasons). Smoking tobacco is generally considered permissible.

For Christians there are no dietary restrictions. However, in the Christian world, fish is often the standard meal on Fridays. Some believe that eating meat on a Friday is forbidden, this being the day Jesus was crucified.

Alcohol is not forbidden to Jews or Christians, and is consumed ritually in small quantities as part of many services.

London market

Kosher wine

Middle Eastern sweets

London fish shop