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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

North America’s first-ever halal Ribfest makes a cease in Ottawa

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It’s an excellent weekend for Ottawa’s barbecue fans, as town’s — and North America’s — first Halal Ribfest is on the town.

Situated at Lansdowne Park, the competition opened its doorways Friday afternoon and is scheduled to be open on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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In contrast to different occasions of its variety, the competition solely serves Halal meat, avoiding merchandise that comprise pork and alcohol.

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“It’s actually thrilling,” stated Reema Siddiqi, a member of the competition’s organizing committee, the Eventzilla Group. “I believe everybody can relate that it doesn’t really feel good to be invited to a celebration however not be capable of partake in all the pieces.”

Siddiqi stated the occasion was began with the purpose of making an inclusive ribfest expertise for all shoppers, together with Muslims.

“We’re big-time foodies and we used to go to ribfests on a regular basis, however weren’t in a position to benefit from the full expertise, clearly no ribs, no meat,” Siddiqi stated. “There weren’t any halal choices at many mainstream Canadian festivals in order that’s type of the place it began from.”

The barbecue occasion is predicted to succeed in 20 cities throughout North America, following two launch occasions in Toronto and Mississauga final summer season. Since June, the competition has been touring round Canada, making its approach from Vancouver to Montreal.

Zohra Deshmukh
Zohra Deshmukh was having fun with her tasty lunch of saucy goodness on the Halal Ribfest. Picture by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Later this summer season and fall, the Halal Ribfest plans to tour Ontario earlier than heading down south, travelling from Michigan to Florida to California. Siddiqi stated the competition is prone to tour once more subsequent yr to hit much more cities.

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“Each metropolis has its personal character, however the one factor that’s actually uniting all the pieces is many individuals round North America are attempting ribs for the primary time,” Siddiqi stated. “We’re actually realizing that it’s a necessity and we’re hoping different festivals comply with swimsuit and attempt to supply halal choices as properly.”

Siddiqi stated the Halal Ribfest group works with non-Muslim distributors, offering them with a listing of hand-slaughtered halal accepted suppliers, checking what elements are used and guiding distributors on correct cleansing processes.

“We really invite native distributors, whether or not or not they promote halal meat exterior of our competition,” Siddiqi stated. “Residents of Ottawa may discover distributors right here as we speak that aren’t recurrently halal they usually wouldn’t be capable of eat there, like a meals truck or an area restaurant, however right here they’re on the occasion they usually really get to strive it guilt-free.”

Jorge Gonzalez, a vendor on the Halal Ribfest in Ottawa and founding father of Go Gonzalez BBQ, has been travelling round Canada “ribbing” for seven years. Having moved to Canada from Venezuela 33 years in the past, Gonzalez stated his menu is impressed by his house nation and options carne asada.

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Since collaborating in his first Ribfest in St. Thomas, a metropolis in southwestern Ontario, in 2017, the Go Gonzalez BBQ has taken half in festivals throughout the area — together with in Sarnia, Leamington, Brossard and Toronto — raking in awards for its pulled pork, ribs and sauces.

Jorge Gonzalez
The Halal Ribfest came about at Lansdowne Park Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023. Jorge Gonzalez took half within the occasion, cooking up his tasty ribs and hen. Gonzalez confirmed off his Ribber for Life tattoo. Picture by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

Gonzalez stated the group has travelled to a number of cities with the Halal Ribfest, even successful the “finest ribs” award on the competition’s inaugural occasion in Toronto final yr. He stated his group hopes to proceed travelling with the competition.

“Hopefully, subsequent week, we’ll be in Ajax and I do imagine that if I’m ok, I can in all probability decide up two extra trophies on the best way,” Gonzalez stated.

On prime of that includes a slew of barbecue choices, the competition affords carnival video games, dwell performances, rib-eating and cotton candy-eating competitions, a pop-up market and a prayer tent.

Over the weekend, Siddiqi stated awards which might be up for grabs embody finest sauce, finest ribs and folks’s alternative. She stated there could also be an extra finest hen award added.

Entertainers who’ve taken half within the barbecue tour have included MC Boona Mohammed, Safa Adams, Siedd, Essam and the Jannah Household. These performing in Ottawa over the weekend are Ilyas Mao, Subhan and Ali Soulful.

“The performers are one other approach of together with the Muslim neighborhood,” Siddiqi stated, noting that musical devices aren’t permissible within the faith. “Our performers really create all of their music utilizing vocals solely. I assume you possibly can say it’s a halal live performance, it’s halal leisure.”

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