• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:38am
NewsChina Insider

CUHK agrees to build Muslim canteen in 12 months

'Give us 12 months, we will meet your request,' says CUHK's Vice-Chancellor Joseph Sung

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 July, 2013, 11:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 11:09am

Days after a Muslim student at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) appealed to the university authorities to build a Muslim canteen which offers halal food, CUHK’s Vice-Chancellor Joseph Sung promised to deliver such an eatery to cater to the needs of its  Muslim community.

“Give us 12 months, we will meet your request,” wrote Sung on Facebook on Wednesday, responding to a letter posted by Wang Yunan, a Muslim student from Beijing.

Wang had discussed in his letter the frustrations of living on a campus without a canteen offering halal food - dishes prepared and cooked under Islamic dietary guidelines.

Wang also mentioned the fact that Hong Kong University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong Polytechnic University all have Muslim canteens - or halal food sections. He said this encouraged him to press his alma mater to upgrade its facilities.

Wang was pleasantly surprised when Sung replied to his letter days later, promising to make some changes.

“We need to cautiously consider all factors when making such a decision, including location of the cafe, providers, the kinds of food offered, and the general demand from students,” Sung wrote in an email to Wang. Sung said CUHK will continue seeking the best scheme for the muslim canteen.

“To have a Muslim canteen is not the ultimate purpose of my proposal,” Wang said, “The goal is to have minorities and people from different cultures respected.”

Karen Cheng, a public relations manager at CUHK, said restaurants in the university were run by different providers. She said the university would follow standard tendering procedures when introducing a new service.


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I've never heard of a muslim canteen, even in the West. I don't complain to the uni admin about no chinese food in canteens in North America. kids these days have their priorities messed up.
Thanks Wang for bring this up and proud of CUHK as always.
I graduated from New Asia College CUHK 10 yrs ago and I convert to Islam 4 years ago when I worked in London as an Accountant. Halal food is just one example of providing an environment for cultural exchange and attracting international speakers. In fact there are almost 25% muslim population in the world. One of the reasons Hong Kong is falling behind other Asia cities in some survey I believe is people's lack of worldwide vision. Islamic financing was a hot topic a few years ago but why it did't work in Hong Kong and now it's almost too late and the market share went to Singapore, KL, London even Thailand? We just don't have the infrastructure. The ratio of vegetarian restaurant to pure vegetarian is way higher than halal restaurant to Muslims population. In almost every trade fair in mainland you'll found halal corner. In HSBC London and many big corporations you have halal corner. The world is a global village and university is a good start for mutual respect and understanding.
P.S Muslims also eat kosher food (jewish) and pure vegetarian food. Well, it is hard not to eat meat at all, but you can also recommend the supermarket to stock some meat for cooking in hostel.
See you around if you are going to attend the 10-year Alumni gathering in Aug 13.
I am not a Muslim, but I understand that Muslims have to strictly follow some rules in terms of diet and praying. They cannot eat pork, and the meat they eat have to be prepared in the halal way, according to the religion.
When I visited Singapore, it is not uncommon to find Muslim restaurants. In fact, every university canteen must provide some halal dishes to cater for the needs of Muslim students. So, having Muslim restaurants is not really a big deal.
Muslims are minority in Hong Kong. They faces much more difficulties in their daily lives than normal people. As an international city treasuring diversity and freedom of religion, why shouldn't we try our best to make their lives easier?
As a side note, the Muslim restaurants are not exclusively for Muslims. Normal people like me can feel free to visit them and enjoy halal food.
At last, as a CUHK student, I am really proud to have such an open-minded vice-chancellor.
by the way for more information how to set up halal corner/menu you may contact Islamic Union of Hong Kong or Serving Islam Team (Hong Kong).
I would like to say thanks to Wang and also the administration of CUHK for considering Halal food matter and I also want to describe some details briefly,
Halal food is not related with the taste this is only related with the contents so Halal food can be eaten by all :)
All vegetables and almost all kind of sea food are consider as halal.
As some people are vegetarian so they could also enjoy the vege food but again there must be strict partition between meat and veg cooking place
so from the above points we could say that it is not obligatory that for halal food there must be separate canteen even this could do done in parallel by some partitioning and they should make sure that any prohibited or non-halal food should not be mix with halal food, similarly meat should not be mix with vegetable food.
I hope it would help you to understand more thanks
You just need to have a couple of more stores on the same canteen ground. Why building another canteen just for halal food ? That's segregation and in the long term, down the road, it will only invite conflicts and trouble. The Indians never ask to build a canteen without beef, or the Jews never asked for a different canteen altogether anywhere, or the vegans never ask for a vegetarian canteen, for example. Everyone eat together; respect one another; understand each other.
Unless canteen here really means a stall, then, I take back all my words.
noticed Sung said we'll meet your request, not mentioning "Canteen". "Canteen" is the wording used by SCMP as headline only, and its definitions are yet to be clarified.
The word 'canteen' is probably used loosely here. More likely a section of the existing canteens - as in the case of canteens in Singapore universities. A sensible and welcome move, as it not only provides Muslim students and staff with food they can eat, but others too with an additional choice of cuisine.


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