Melbourne, Australia is well known among world travellers, and this really is no surprise. The city carries with it a certain charm, offering a packed agenda of food and beverage, sports, arts and culture. It is no wonder then that many globetrotters regard Melbourne as the gourmet and cultural capital of the world – and that’s quite a statement to make.
However, there’s another facet to this alluring city that not many people realise. While being a gourmet paradise, Melbourne is also fast becoming an international halal food hub, thanks to a steadily growing Muslim population. In fact, a fifth of Australia’s Muslim population reside in Melbourne, drawing heritage from more than 60 countries.
This has brought about with it a plethora of world-class halal offerings. Just to name a few:
Rumi offers a menu based on traditional dining experiences in Lebanon where small to medium sized dishes are shared amongst the table. The food is authentic but done with a refined approach and a deft interpretation of a classic cuisine. The plate size encourages sharing in the traditional dining style of Lebanon.
One of Australia’s fastest growing burger franchises, Burger Edge provides 100% Halal menu, which uses premium, grass fed Australian beef, offering you a variety of lightly seasoned and flamed-grilled burgers in addition to fresh salads to complement the flavours of the burgers. On top of that, any burger can be modified to your liking!
If you want to see where some of the city’s produce come from, head to Victoria’s lush Yarra Valley, just over an hour’s drive north-east Melbourne. Pick fresh stonefruit at Rayner’s Orchards, catch your own lunch at Buxton Trout Farm or indulge in sweet treats at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Whatever you decide, you're in for a cracking good time.
There is so much more to Melbourne, though, than just its cuisine. It is truly a city to be discovered with a hive of bustling, creative laneways, covert boutiques and hole-in-the-wall cafes and an ever-changing street art scene. Don’t forget to check out murals, paste ups and stencils in the laneways off Flinders lane between Russel Street and Swanston Street.
For a wilderness experience, take a comfortable two-hour drive from Melbourne to Philip Island to discover the beautiful beaches, bushland parks and an abundance of wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, seals and penguins. Do not miss the nightly parade when the resident Little Penguins return from a days’ fishing.
For something completely different, go skiing in the Australian Alps. Australia may be better known as a sunburnt country but June marks the start of the country’s ski season. Located a few hours’ drive from Melbourne, Victoria’s ski fields and resort towns include Mt Buller, Hotham and Falls Creek. They offer slopes to satisfy all skill levels, professional tuition for beginners, as well as toboggan rides.
With so much to see and do in Melbourne, whether its enjoying world-class cuisine, discovering the city’s sights and charms, shopping or an adventurous escapade, Muslims can also rest assured that fulfilling their religious obligations, with a large number of mosques listed under the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV). The ICV lists dozens of mosques on its website. The Melbourne West Mosque is associated with the ICV and holds prayers in English and Arabic. The largest mosque in Melbourne is Broadmeadows Mosque in the city’s northeast which provides in Turkish.