Image courtesy of Fika / Pytt i Panna ($19.90)
We are spoilt for choice with the numerous halal restaurants in Singapore. But what if you want something that goes beyond the conventional Malay or Western fare? We round up seven halal-certified places that are bucking the trend to serve up dishes of different cuisines.
1. TANG TEA HOUSE
242 Jalan Kayu, tel: 6483-2298
357 Bedok Road, tel: 6445-9100
Open Sun–Thur, 11-12am; Fri, Sat & public holidays, 12pm-2am
A popular supper spot that opens until 4am, Tang Tea House serves cha chaan teng (Hong Kong tea restaurants) fare and zi char dishes. One of the crowd’s favourite is the Golden Sand Bun ($4.80 for 3), a steamed bun filled with a creamy, sweet and savoury salted egg yolk and custard mixture that oozes out on the first bite. Another is Siew Mai ($4.20 for 3), which comes with a generous chicken filling. The Pan Fried Crispy Bee Hoon (from $11) features a crispy top with a springy bee hoon base.
257 Beach Road, tel: 6396-9096
#01-20, Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, tel: 6336-7234
#02-K3, OneKM, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, tel: 6702-2456
Open daily, 11am-10pm
Meat Smorgasbord ($69.90)
Fika is more than just a gentrified version of the IKEA restaurant. It serves up authentic Swedish cuisine, with dishes ranging from the familiar Swedish Meatballs ($19.90) to lesser-known ones like Tunnbrodsrulle ($17.90), Pytt i Panna ($19.90) and Korvstroganoff ($17.50). Tunnbrodsrulle is mashed potatoes and ketchup wrapped in flatbread, Pytt i Panna consists of diced beef and potatoes, topped up with a sunny side up egg and served with salad and red beet, while the Korvstroganoff is a chicken sausage stew. The Swedish Meatballs, served with parsley potatoes, cream sauce, lingonberry jam and a salad, is one of the most popular dishes. The Meat Smorgasbord ($69.90) is great for big groups, and feature cold items like pickled herring and smoked salmon as well as hot items like grilled chicken and black Angus sirloin.
3. THE ORANGE LANTERN
73 Killiney Rd, tel: 6732-8032
#01-98, HarbourFront Centre, 1 Maritime Square, tel: 6274-1968
#02-52, IMM, 2 Jurong East St 21, tel: 6896-2640
#02-19, Alexandra Retail Centre, 460 Alexandra Road, tel: 6276-0367
Open daily, 11am-10pm
If the name of the restaurant conjures up idyllic night scenes of brightly coloured lanterns lining up the streets and riversides of Vietnam, well, that is precisely what the folks at The Orange Lantern want to convey. Customers sit under big and bright orange lanterns that hang from the ceiling in the restaurant, while enjoying a taste of Vietnam. Start your meal with a refreshing mango salad ($8.50) before trying the recommended mains such as the Chilli Beef Noodle Soup ($11.90) and the Mushroom Salad and Vegetarian Fried Spring Rolls with Rice Vermicelli ($11.90).
4. ICEBOX CAFE
#01-02, 89 Rangoon Road, tel: 9155-4720
Open Mon-Fri, 2-11pm; Sat & Sun, 12-11pm
It seems our love affair with Korean bingsus (shaved ice desserts) is not set to go away any time soon, perhaps thanks to the persistently hot weather here. You can find halal-certified ones at Icebox Cafe, which is helmed by husband-and-wife team Nur Hajar and Mustaffe. There are 12 varieties of these thirst quenchers in this homey nook along Rangoon Road. The Avocado Gado Bingsu ($15.90) that comes with homemade avocado paste, double chocolate brownies, coconut flakes and ice cream gula melaka is highly recommended. For something more unusual, go for the Cheesy Mango Bingsu ($15.90) which features fresh mango topped with cheesecake, dried cranberries and coconut ice cream.
5. OLD BIBIK'S PERANAKAN KITCHEN
#01-01, MDIS Building, 190 Changi Rd, tel: 8450-7996
Open daily, 12-1pm
Ayam Buah Keluak ($12)
Many Peranakan dishes have roots in Malay cuisine, but not many Nonya restaurants are halal certified. At Old Bibik’s, authentic Peranakan food is served without pork, lard or alcohol. It is known for its Beef Rendang ($9) and Ayam Buah Keluak ($12), both of which are packed full of flavours and spices. The former is prepared daily and was adopted from a recipe from the owner’s grandmother. The latter, which is typically prepared with pork, is cooked with chicken instead.
6. THE RAMEN STALL
787 North Bridge Road, tel: 6655-0800
Open Mon-Fri, 5pm-6am; Sat, Sun & public holidays, 12pm-6am
Craving for Japanese cuisine in the wee hours of the night? Head to the Ramen Stall, where it stays open until 6am. The ramen is adapted to the local palate, so instead of thick, flavoursome Tonkotsu broths in traditional Japanese versions, they serve most ramen with a lighter chicken broth. But if you prefer it rich and flavourful, there is Beef Ramen ($12.90), which comes with stock that is boiled for an extra four hours with beef shank. If you like things spicy, the Volcano Ramen ($11) is a must-try. The soup is mixed with red chillies and dried Indian chilli padi to create an invigorating dish not for the faint-hearted.
Other must-tries: Dry Ramen ($11)
7. SEDAP THAI
#01-08, Berseh Food Centre, 166 Jalan Besar, telephone number unavailable
Open Tue-Sun, 4.30-10.30pm
This mookata (Thai barbecue and steamboat) stall uses chicken stock soup and chicken oil in place of pork broth and lard in its stock and marinades. For a taste of all the items on its menu, try the Mixed Platter for 2 ($20), which comes with an array of meats, seafood and vegetables. If you’re going for ala carte dishes, must-tries include the garlic chicken ($2) and the fresh beef slices ($2.50).