Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005 and located on Lantau Island. To increase attendance, local management started looking at untapped markets that don’t have major theme parks, and within 4-5 hours of flight time.
Southeast Asia features a sizeable Muslim population located in the southern region of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. With over 242 million recognizing Islam as their religion in the area, and with a growing middle class, this is a perfect market for Hong Kong Disneyland to pursue with some adaptation. Hong Kong Disneyland is the first Disney theme park to offer Halal-compliant meals.
Halal is the dietary code that Muslims are to observe and while not as strict as Kosher dietary law that people of Jewish faith follow, it goes beyond the familiar “cannot serve pork” rule; it requires facilities to follow the rules for preparation, food procurement, and service. In many cases, owners will seek local Islamic councils or Mosques to have their restaurant inspected and receive certification.
For Hong Kong, the Incorporated Trustees of the Islamic Community Fund of Hong Kong is the local organism (http://www.islamictrusthk.org/) that certifies restaurants and kitchens to be Halal. Hong Kong Disneyland sought out their advice and the existing Tahitian Terrace certified in 2012 in advance of the opening of Explorer’s Club.
Explorer’s Club is the beautiful dining hall of Mystic Manor and one of the headquarter for the S.E.A. Disney Parks storyline. China, India, Russia and Egypt/Morocco are the rooms where guests sit down for their meal. Food is served from four different counters and central cashiers collect payment in the central room.
In addition to the Explorer’s Club Restaurant, a prayer room with cleaning facilities for absolution was integrated into the new Mystic Point area that opened in 2013. Mystic Point is the new area that’s also the home of the Mystic Manor dark ride attraction, The Archive Shop and the Garden of Wonders. It is set in a lush jungle hidden away somewhere on the exotic island of New Guinea circa 1908-1909.
Now, we have the certification, what do we serve to our guests? Disney chefs went to work and came up with Halal versions of favorite Japanese and Korean dishes. India has a rich culinary tradition and inspired a third serving counter. Next, Indonesia food goes beyond Nasi Goreng, and everyone loves Chicken Satay. Last, China provided some dishes, and seasonal offerings were added. 2015 with the skull-shaped and colored sticky rice dessert was a great example of seasonal fare.
Examples of actual dishes served in 2015 and 2019 at the restaurant.
Over at Tahitian Terrace, India and Malaysia inspired the dishes served there.
The menu at the Tahitian Terrace in May 2019.
Hong Kong Disneyland provided us with those examples of dishes served at the Tahitian Terrace.