Besides selling food allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines, the 25-year-old Halalco Supermarket in Falls Church, Virginia, offers clothing, jewelry, housewares, personal care products, books on Islam, compact discs and prayer rugs. It even has a restaurant serving tasty lunches and dinners. The store prides itself on using local suppliers.
Most of the store’s customers are first-generation Muslim Americans from the Middle East, South and Central Asia and Africa, said one store manager. They come from surrounding communities in Virginia and from the neighboring state of Maryland. About 20 percent are non-Muslims. Customers like the store’s variety and especially the fresh meat — lamb, goat, beef and chicken. The meat counter is the store’s most popular attraction, the manager said.
In this photo, a butcher stands behind his fresh meat counter at Halalco.
“The meat tastes better than the meat I can buy from a regular [nonhalal] supermarket,” said one customer from Central Asia who has frequented the supermarket for several years.
“I love this place. It's like a halal meat–lovers paradise!” adds online food reviewer Farida B.
Farida B. drives to Halalco from her home in Maryland. “This place is worth the trek. Decent prices, great selection,” she wrote.