Is Ganjang Gejang, The Korean Raw Crab, Halal?

South Korea always shows sensations in the culinary field. Now it is Ganjang Gejang, a type of fermented raw crab product. Is it halal?

Culinary lovers in the country have been busy lately discussing a special dish from South Korea called Ganjang Gejang. This unique food is a dish of fermented raw crabs sprinkled with various spices and sauces.

Ganjang Gejang or gejeot is a South Korean culinary dish in the form of raw crab fermented with soy sauce (Ganjang). As reported by Kompas.com, the popularity of Ganjang Gejang comes from the Honglim Banchan Tavern, a shop serving various fermented seafood in Gwangjang Market, South Korea. This shop appeared in the South Korean episode of Street Food Asia, aired on Netflix in 2019.

Gunsook Jung, the owner of the Honglim Banchan Stall, said the emergence of fermented crab preparations came from the absence of refrigerators at that time, so many foods were only preserved in salt sunk and stored. “Many people like it, so we sell this (jeotgal)”, said the shop owner.

Indonesian culinary lover Irene on the @ireneiscooking page, explained that Ganjang Gejang is indeed eaten raw. The texture of the crab meat is chewy. For people who have never eaten it may sound strange. But after trying, it will be addicted and want to eat again.

Irene reminded me that this food must be consumed raw, so the risks must be considered—for example, allergies. “I’m the type of person who can eat anything without distractions. But if someone feels uncomfortable, they are not allowed to eat. Please don’t force them,” he ordered.

Is Ganjang Gejang Halal?

Considering that Ganjang Gejang is processed from crab and mixed with various spices, many Indonesian consumers, who are predominantly Muslim, question the halalness of this Korean food.

LPPOM MUI Auditor Ratna Mustika explained that to determine whether a food or drink is halal, you must first pay attention to the ingredients used, both the main components and additional elements. So is the cooking process, spices, and other ingredients used.

As is known, Ganjang Gejang is processed fresh raw crab fermented with soy sauce. The spices used include garlic, chili, salt, and lemon, while there is soy sauce and granulated sugar for the sauce.

Ratna explained crab is the main ingredient in Ganjang Gejang has been declared by the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI). The MUI Fatwa on June 15, 2002, confirmed that crab is halal to consume as long as it does not affect a danger to human health. It means it is not mixed with spices or haram additives, then Ganjang Gejang is halal. However, Ratna added that in some cases, in Korea, Ganjang Gejang is usually marinated with the addition of mirin, which removes the fishy smell of fish, shrimp, or crab.

Mirin is a spice for cooking. It is a yellow alcoholic liquid, tastes sweet, and contains as much as 40% -50% sugar and about 14% alcohol. Therefore, since it has an alcohol content of 10 to 14 percent, mirin is classified as khamr. Thus, the status is haram if mirin is mixed as an additional flavoring for Ganjang Gejang. “We have to check before consuming Ganjang Gejang, whether the crab is not mixed with mirin or other haram sauces and spices,” said Ratna Mustika. (RPF)

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