With niche halal restaurants everywhere, you hardly hear anyone wishing there were a halal version of anything anymore. But having many options can be too much of a good thing sometimes, especially during Ramadan when life can get a little hectic. For your convenience, here are the best halal restaurants in Singapore for group iftar sorted by cuisine. Selamat berbuka puasa!
1. AMERICAN FAST FOOD: FATPAPAS
Hold up. Did we just suggest something other than A&W for halal American fast food? Yes, we did because the last we checked, there were still hour-long queues for Coney Dogs and Root Beer Floats at their Jewel Changi Airport restaurant. And that was at 1am on a weekday night. So, let’s move on.
Fatpapas doesn’t have hot dogs but this combo really hits the spot: Bleu Peppercorn Burger and a strawberry milkshake. If you’re adamant about having an ice-cream float, it has a Fanta Float this Ramadan for S$6++. Fatpapas has four outlets islandwide, so you don't have to travel far for your burger fix.
2. BRITISH PUB FOOD: THE MAD SAILORS
Halal fish-and-chip options are aplenty island-wide, but most are located at food courts and don't take reservations, which is not convenient for Ramadan gatherings. The Mad Sailors cafe does.
Started by The Black Hole Group, the folks behind pioneer "hipster" cafe Working Title, The Mad Sailors dishes out delicious British comfort food. This year, diners have three set options ranging from S$31.90 to S$39.90, which let you pick from three mains – fish and chips, pasta, and bangers and mash. Set C also includes a snack: Marmite wings, truffle chips or battered mushrooms.
3. CAJUN SEAFOOD IN A BUCKET: CAJUN ON WHEELS
If a mountain of seafood gets you excited, round up six to eight like-minded friends and family for Cajun on Wheels’ Mega Volcano Seafood Bucket (S$299). Inside, you’ll find a Boston lobster, clams, crab, crawfish, mussels and prawns accompanied by their seven sauces: Cajun cheese, herb and butter, salted egg yolk, sambal chilli egg, Singapore chilli crab, spicy cheesy soil and Thai red curry. There’s also baby potato, chicken spam, chicken wings, pilaf rice and sweet corn to fill you up.
4. CHINESE HOTPOT: JIN SHANG YI PIN BUFFET HOTPOT
Hotpot restaurants are good, casual fun and so great for family and other group gatherings during Ramadan. Started by the same people behind Yi Zun Beef Noodle, the all-you-can-eat Chinese hotpot buffet (S$35++ for adults; S$22++ for children) restaurant at Eastpoint mall is as authentic as it gets.
There are five soup bases – spicy mala, herbal chicken, mushroom, pickled vegetables and tomato – so we suggest that you each get your own pot of soup and have four people share a grill pan. Meat, seafood, vegetables, kueh and ice cream are all free-flow.
5. CHINESE BEEF LA MIAN: NUODLE
There are many halal Chinese noodle restaurants but we’re putting Nuodle on this list for its unfussy menu of three Lanzhou-style la mian options: Beef, seafood and cool (S$8.65 to S$11.95) for which you can customise your noodle and spice level.
Their 50-seater flagship restaurant is also conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from the Geylang Ramadan bazaar, so you can go shopping for Hari Raya after breaking your fast.
6. ITALIAN HANDMADE PASTA: TIPO PASTA
If you’re picky, you might want to make a reservation at Tipo Pasta, a halal pasta bar by The Black Hole Group that lets you build your own pasta dish by choosing a size, one of six sauces (including beef ragu, pomodoro and roasted red pepper) and toppings ranging from the basic shaved parmesan to vinegared mussels. Tipo also uses natural ingredients like beetroot, dill, lemon, paprika and saffron to colour and flavour their pastas.
A regular-sized plate will set you back S$9.90 and a grande one S$12.90, not including add-ons. For Ramadan, Tipo is offering sets at S$25 each, which includes three pieces of bruschetta, a regular pasta with three toppings, a drink and dessert.
7. JAPANESE RAMEN AND SUSHI: ISURAMUYA
Ever wished you could have a go at Sushi Tei’s wide-ranging menu? Try Isuramuya. It’s a bit of a trek for those who don’t live in the west but the menu has every Japanese dish you’ve probably ever wanted to try, including chirashi, curry, ramen, soba, sushi, takoyaki and udon.
While you’re there, stock up on halal-certified curry, ramen, udon and sauces at its in-house shop, so you can cook up a Japanese meal for iftar at home. Prices range from S$2.50 for an appetiser to S$20 for a chirashi don.
8. KOREAN BARBECUE: HANSSIK KOREAN BBQ BUFFET
The hallyu wave is well and alive in Singapore, which explains the spate of Korean restaurants that have been certified halal here in the past year. One of them is Hanssik at Clementi Mall, formerly Ssiksin, where you can barbecue beef bulgogi, marinated chicken and spicy octopus on a built-in grilling pit with the ubiquitous suction hood hanging over it.
In true Korean dining style, there’s also free flow banchan (side dishes), including pickled radish, enoki mushroom, and of course, kimchi. Children pay S$15.90++, while adults are charged S$24.90++ to S$25.90++ for dinner.
9. MALAY NASI PADANG: HJH MAIMUNAH
We can’t recommend Hjh Maimunah enough for its massive offering of classic nasi padang dishes, which include lemak siput sedut (or snails in spicy coconut curry; don’t knock it, it’s delicious), sambal goreng and ikan bakar.
If you want to makan berdamai (eat in harmony) off the same plate, pre-order the bakar platter with lemak siput sedut (S$55), which is good for four people. Note that only their Joo Chiat outlet will be open for dining in; the one at Jalan Pisang is only offering takeaways for the fasting month.
10. SPANISH TAPAS: THE GREAT MISCHIEF
The fifth installation by The Black Hole Group, The Great Mischief is a charming space occupying the lobby of The Great Madras hotel in Little India.
Favourites from the Catalan-inspired menu include the gambas al ajillo (pan-fried prawns in homemade garlic sauce; S$12), and setas con crema trufada (S$9), which is mushrooms cooked in garlic and truffle cream. The cafe also does four mains, including estofat de vedella (S$20) – a slow-cooked tri-tip beef stew with carrot, onion and zucchini – and of course, the fideua de marisc (S$22), a squid ink paella pasta.
The Great Mischief's offering four sets for iftar this year. Sets A and B (S$88 to S$98) are good for two, and include three to five tapas, a main, mocktails and desserts. Sets C and D are for three people, and include the same items.