When you are what you eat, making sure that you consume what's good for you does take a little consideration. For Muslim diners, things get a little more complicated as every aspect of the culinary experience needs to be Halal (meaning permissable).
However, with the growing awareness of Halal concepts here, it is clear that increasingly Muslim diners are looking beyond the common 'no pork, no lard' option, and instead considering how an F&B establishment is with its accreditation before dining there.
"In Singapore, there's no doubt that most consumers know what Halal-certified means, especially Muslim communities. Unfortunately, among non-Muslims, some still question what it really means. It is our duty to educate and create awareness of the reasons for being Halal-certified," says Jamuri, co-founder of local F&B group that runs I am... and & why... cafes.
Picking up on this, more restaurants and food outlets here are joining the Halal bandwagon, making sure to follow Halal certification criterias in order to share their cuisines with more discerning diners.
One such establishment is Japanese cuisine advocate, The Ramen Stall.
"Due to the ingredients used, most of the Japanese restaurants in Singapore are not Halal-certified, thus making it difficult for the Muslim community to be exposed to such cuisine. Not forgetting the increasing number of tourists from our neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. For these reasons, we decided to remodeled The Ramen House (Non-Halal) and offer a Halal alternative of our Japanese food," says Bryan Guan, head of Marketing Communications at The Ramen Stall.
In addition to reaching more diners both local and overseas, studies have also shown that upon Halal certification, sales figures increased by 20-30%, according to Muhd Kamal, manager, Special Projects, at KitchenSq, a premier Halal-focused F&B lifestyle hub and President of Singapore Halal Culinary Federation.
"Restaurants also benefit from the community friendliness of their offerings, as they are able to welcome and serve diners from all walks of life and faith due to Halal food-friendliness. Muslim consumers are also known to be adventurous when comes to dine out. They love to gather over a celebratory feast and are more affluent," he adds.
Aside from adhering to religious requirements set up by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), establishments are also ensuring the highest level of food safety, being benchmarked against international standards such as the ISO and HACCP.
Expectedly, such changes are not without its challenges. Bryan shares that one challenge the company faced was in replacing the non-Halal ingredients that was used in a traditional Japanese restaurant, particularly for the Ramen broth. "We had to remove all the non-Halal ingredients and find replacement for it, yet achieving the standard of quality food. Lots of R&D needed to be done, in order for us to bring about traditional Japanese cuisine with a local twist," Bryan states.
Kamal also points out that new menus and promotions for diners could take some time, as companies are required to submit them separately. "For any new or promotional menu offerings interest, the entity have to submit and apply separately to MUIS before they launch it as these new offerings may require new ingredients et al," Kamal explains.
Still Kamal is confident that there's room for growth in the Halal industry, encouraging aspiring F&B companies to do the legwork in order to ensure sustainable success.
He concludes, "Study the Halal market dynamics well not only locally, but also regionally and internationally especially with their type of menu offerings, consumers’ demographics, unique selling point and also within their business planning for future expansion. Many Halal local brands have successfully ventured internationally and have benefited from their great research and global Halal market understanding."
For different cuisine that are deliciously Halal-certified, look no further than these outlets.
Set in a rustic ambience that exudes old New York Deli charm, & why... (by the good folks behind I am...) offers a great grills, refreshing mocktails and an all-day brunch that features popular favourites like The Cast Iron: a platter of eggs, beef chorizo, beans, roasted mushrooms and beef bacon served with toast.
The Cast Iron
Other quick favourites include the Salted Egg Calamari, Oriental Crabmeat Pasta and a luscious Dulce French Toast that's toped with berries, pistachio crumbs, coconut shavings and candied pecans.
Salted Egg Calamari
But pace yourself, as desserts promise to be a delicious treat with dishes like the Lavender Panna Cotta and the Chocolate Delice.
30/31 Bali Lane
The Ramen Stall
Made with no added artificial flavouring, MSG, salt and sugar, The Ramen Stall's soup base is boiled for up to 30 hours before being served. Offering over 100 dishes that with signatures that range from Teppanyaki Beef and Sashimi, to Prawn with Roe & Mayonnaise and Grilled Edamame, there's definitely something for every craving at The Ramen Stall. If that weren't enough, look out for two new sushi additions come April.
Prawn with Roe & Mayonnaise
787 North Bridge Road
Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro
Fika Spring Chicken
Bringing diners here a taste of traditional Swedish cuisine is Fika, which has become renowned for its traditional Swedish meatballs, Herbed Crusted Salmon and Pytti Panna, a Swedish hash of cubed steak, potato and onions, just to name a few. One must-try for first-timers is the restaurant's "smörgasbord", which features tasting portion items from the menu that serves up to 2-3 persons. Newly launched is its Spring menu, inspired by the arrival of "Swedish spring", which takes lighter note with clean flavours, fresh herbs and vegetables, and tender meats, to present dishes like the classic Swedish Gubbröra, Spring Salad with Almond Coated Chicken Bites and Lamb Cutlets, among others.
257 Beach Road
OneKM, 11 Tanjong Katong Road