Many Malaysians are avid fans of K-Dramas, and it's no surprise to see your favourite Oppas enjoying BBQ with a side of soju in those dramas. For those who might not know, soju is a Korean-distilled alcoholic beverage, strictly for non-Muslim consumption. However, a particular food reviewer is gaining notoriety for promoting an eatery that supposedly serves "Halal Soju" (which doesn't exist). In reality, this so-called "Halal Soju" is nothing more than fruit-flavoured water with zero alcohol content, cleverly presented in a similar green bottle with matching labels.
Wagyu & Soju Halal Harga Rahmah Di Bangi!— Jomkita (@Jomkitamy) October 5, 2023
Ada banyak pilihan daging yang korang boleh custom cara makan nak makan dengan nasi, salad, burger semua boleh dan jangan risau Soyu tuh air buah tau takde alcohol owner kedai ni orang melayu islam jangan risau ianya HALAL pic.twitter.com/dkGAVtwMNr
What raised eyebrows even further was not only the food reviewer's claim of "Halal Soju" but also their imitation of the way Koreans drink alcohol. This left many Muslim netizens feeling a mix of frustration and cringe.
The brand being introduced by the food reviewer is called Soyou, touted as the first non-alcoholic Soyou in Malaysia. It offers a variety of flavours akin to the alcoholic version, but it's essential to clarify that SoYou is entirely alcohol-free.
Regarding Halal certification, according to their website, Soyou is currently in the process of obtaining it. While they aren't Halal certified yet, they are committed to adhering to Halal policies and are actively working to prepare their products for certification. This leaves us questioning whether, without a Halal certificate, it's suitable for our Muslim friends to consume.
The food review video has faced substantial backlash from netizens who are concerned about the reviewer's understanding of religious sensitivities. It's clear that when one imitates a non-Halal action while claiming it to be Halal, it remains non-Halal.
Here's what some of the netizens had to say:
"I don't understand why some of our people are so obsessed with trying to make the forbidden permissible. Soju is just soju, no need to label it as 'halal soju.' Some might get confused and think that soju is actually halal or misinterpret that there is halal soju. It's really annoying."
"Even if it's true that the soju is halal, imitating the practices of another community is still considered Haram."
"Isn't it Haram to equate something halal with something Haram? Or did my religious teacher teach me wrong because I once felt dizzy during Islamic studies in third grade when I drank iced tea before she pinched my arm?"
"I genuinely don't understand this. I understand that no one is a perfect Muslim, but the principle of alcohol prohibition (according to Malaysian interpretation) encompasses the immorality of consuming alcohol, no matter how little. So why are you trying to mimic this 'immoral' act?"
Some also wondered why must they call it Halal Soju when in fact it's just a sparkling fruit beverage.