Night Market Toronto kicks off its Halal market in Mississauga.

May 17, 2023 | Life

Night Market Toronto kicked off its second annual Halal-only market tour this past weekend in Mississauga.

The 3-day festival featured, held in the parking lots at Square One, featured a lineup of halal vendors from various global cuisines, including Venezuelan, Middle Eastern, Indian, and even Canadian dishes.

Dessert food trucks also served up treats like funnel cakes and cheesecake on a stick.

Uniting all the vendors was the fact that all the food was Halal.

“Although many restaurants serve halal food, there is still a huge gap between what Muslims can and cannot have,” organizer Amanee Nassereddine said. “Night Market Toronto’s Halal Tour intends to bridge the gap by providing the Muslim communities in the various locations of the annual halal food tour with peace of mind when it comes to eating at their events.”

Market attendees waiting in line at the cheesecake on a stick food truck at the Night Market Toronto festival.

Cheesecake on a stick food truck at the Night Market Toronto festival. Photo credit: Jeanine Tajeddine

The festival also hosted a carnival booth, where attendees played to win prizes.

Carnival booth where attendees can pop balloons to win prizes.

Carnival booth where attendees can play to win prizes. Photo credit: Jeanine Tajeddine

For the kids, the market also had a mini train where children and their parents rode around the festival.

Night Market Toronto's colourful train ride for kids and their parents.

NMTO's train ride for kids and their parents. Photo credit: Jeanine Tajeddine

Mississauga residents, both Muslim and non-Muslim attended.

“I’ve heard some ignorant people avoid halal food as if it’s like this crazy out-of-the-ordinary thing. In reality, it’s just normal things that we eat every day,” attendee Gina Smayra said. “I think festivals like these will show non-Muslims that it’s just like any other food, and to stop being afraid, especially when the tour gets to cities that aren’t that Muslim populated like Mississauga.”

To Muslim attendee Sahar Kaoukdji, this event was a big deal.

“I like being acknowledged as a Muslim, and having an entire festival where nothing is off limits is so nice. No alcohol, no pork, and all the meat halal,” Kaoukdji said. “Being in Canada sometimes you feel ignored as a Muslim, especially when it comes to Eid, so this is so great.”

Night Market Toronto intends to include Muslims during Toronto’s summer festival season.

“It is NMTO’s mission to cultivate an inclusive community filled with colour and flavour. We’ve learnt that if we stick to our vision and mission, we can accomplish anything,” said Zaina Moussa, one of the founders of Night Market Toronto.

The next stop for Night Market Toronto’s 6-city tour is Milton, followed by London.