Particular to this year, we have received multiple requests from various stall owners requesting for us to visit the biggest Ramadan Bazaar in Singapore (a.k.a. Paya Lebar / Geylang Bazaar) to feature their stalls and provide shout-out posts to our beloved followers. Usually, we are psyched out about the coolest new finds at the Ramadan Bazaar. However what was becoming increasingly apparent this year was that there has been an increase in the number of stalls, of which my sixth sense kind of suspects has a dubious halal status. Wait a minute. Before you come at me with pitch forks and exclaim, “Why are you making such a big fuss?? It’s just ____!!!” – insert whatever food you’d like in the blank,I’ve heard it all: Ice cream, Sotong, Waffles, Churros, etcetera, etcetera… – let me just share with you what previous experience working with the MUIS Halal-Certification processing team (a.k.a. Warees Halal) for about one and a half years has taught me.
Understand why some ingredients need to be Halal Certified before you call us the haram police.
I can write a long extensive article, but for this time around, I’ll just share with you short bite-sized information to shed some light. Hopefully, it will not shock you too much. At the end of the article, I will be concluding it with a list of bazaar stalls which we have personally gone down to verify as “Muslim-owned” or “Halal-certified”. A quick special thanks goes to my team and Adam from The Halal Food Blog, for developing this list together with us.
Before I begin, I’m going to state the basics; everything with pork or pork-derivatives are non-halal. Non-halal beverages include drinks that intoxicate and have a possibility of making you lose your sense of mental awareness.
With that in mind, let’s discuss four things that are commonly found in the Ramadan Bazaar this year.
What’s not halal about Waffles, Churros, Cakes and the likes?
Waffles, churros, cakes and the likes of it are made using two major ingredients: butter and flour. Non-halal butter may contain porcine (pork) derivatives or processed using pig parts; or more commonly, pig intestines may be used during the filtration process because of their fine pores.
Also, flavourings that are used can also contain alcohol. I’ve previously discussed what’s not halal about butter extensively, so I’ll link it at the bottom of this article for those who would like to know more.
Going back to the following items, all of the above are made using flour. Flour. Must. Be. Halal. Certified. Refer to next question for further elaboration.
What’s not halal about Fried Sotong, Prawn, Crab and other seafood?
All of these fried items are naturally prepared using a batter mix, the staple ingredient of which is flour. Flour has been reported to contain L-Cysteine which helps to bleach the flour and improve its baking functionality. It is an enzyme derived from animals’ (including pigs) hair or insect’s hair or even human hair. Feeling a little nauseous? It’s ok, it took the team some time to take in this bit of information too. References for this is at the bottom of this article.
Moving on, there are stalls in the bazaar that will tell you upfront that they don’t have the Halal Certificate, but mention that they have a halal certificate for the meat, and the cheese. To that, the question then is: What about the flour used? And then, what about the oil?
What’s not halal about Ice Cream & Gelato?
Ice cream is just ice cream, right? No. It’s not. Ice cream is made using… Cream. Wow, surprised? Haha. The tastiest of ice cream will be the creamiest ice cream you can find. They have a thick and creamy consistency. Why? Because of gelatin.
What’s not halal about Cheese?
To make cheese, you need to use an enzyme called Rennet. Rennet has to be extracted from the stomach of a baby cow. If the baby cow was slaughtered in a non-halal way, then the enzyme not halal. If the enzyme used is not halal, your cheese is not halal.
Then, why do we endorse Muslim-Owned Stalls?
Dosa, siapa tanggung? (Who is responsible for the sin?)
Who is responsible for the food that is served? Halal means permissible. Haram means not permissible. Both have been explained and determined in the Qur’an (the word of God) and it is the responsibility of everyone who identifies themselves as a Muslim. In Islam, we are to care for and protect each other, as per the hadith below.
Abu Ad-Darda reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever defends the honor of his brother, then Allah will protect his face from the Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.” Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1931
And so, if someone says “I am a muslim and I am selling XYZ”, it is reasonable for the buyer to expect the seller to ensure the halal status of the food that he or she is selling. Based on the above, I will trust him or her and consume the food that he or she sells. If the food that he sells has somehow included non-halal ingredients (purposefully or otherwise), then I leave the judgement to Allah to hold him or her responsible and accountable for it in the afterlife. Everyone is held accountable for the sins that they commit and the good things that they do in this life.Why am I mentioning this? Because, that’s what being a Muslim is all about; we all want to score “points”, minimise our sins and collect rewards in this life as a testament for us on the day of judgement, isn’t it? However, this belief is not a mandate for non-Muslims. Since they do not hold the same beliefs or worldview, therefore we do not endorse any stall or eatery that is not owned by a Muslim. If the stall is not owned by a Muslim, halalfoodhunt.com (and The Halal Food Blog) as responsible publications talking about halal food, would then require them to be halal-certified before we endorse the stall or the said brand as halal.If you’re confused, we DO NOT certify for halal. Who gives halal certification? Majlis Ugama Islam Singapure (MUIS), or the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. They are legally the sole custodian of Halal Certifications in Singapore. That said, halalfoodhunt.com then accepts and endorses Muslim-owned stalls only if the boss is Muslim. Muslim staff alone is not enough to account for halal because a Muslim staff is not responsible for the purchasing decisions of the ingredients sold in the stall. Therefore, we only hold the owner accountable for the halal status of their own stalls.
How do we verify?
Halalfoodhunt.com is first and foremost an online halal verification platform for Halal-Certified and Muslim-Owned businesses. We do this every day. We ensure that the restaurants that we publicise, share and write about are verified by us.
For MUIS Halal-Certified:
Verification is done by asking them to provide their Halal-Certificates as issued by MUIS, and we keep a soft copy of it in our records. We also routinely update our FRIENDS – the people who subscribe to our FRIENDS discount card that allows them to get discounts at more than 100 halal food places (link down below).
For Muslim-Owned Businesses:
Muslim-Owned businesses are verified by asking them to submit their company details and particulars (including NRIC) to us. The owner then has to sign a document to state that he or she will be responsible for the halal status of his or her food establishment, before we begin any marketing effort and sharing about their eatery on our social media platforms.
What we found at Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar
For the purposes of this bazaar, we have either met the owner and asked them to sign off on his or her stall to verify that he or she is responsible for the halal status of his eatery. In other cases where the owner is unavailable, we have talked to the staff present to ask if the stall is Muslim-owned. If it is, the staff can sign off on our list as a proxy to indicate that the stall is Muslim-Owned.
Here’s what we did today before Iftar. In light of the many people who wrote in to us about the dubiousness of this year’s Ramadhan Bazaar, our team turun padang with @thehalalfoodblog to check out and ask the tough questions to every single stall at the bazaar so that you don’t have to. That’s right guys, we’ve got the list! Who is halal certified, who is muslim-owned, who sells halal and who is pretending to be. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 Leave a comment if you want the list, We’ll send it to you! May everyone be protected! Choose wisely when u buy your food. UPDATE 27 May 8PM:- Ok wow so many people want the list. Please give me a moment to fix my kaki that hampir patah because we walked the entire bazaar in 3 hrs. After terawih, we’ll clean up the list and pass it to you, k! If you haven’t already followed us on IG & FB @halalfoodhunt please do! Oh and do support us by getting a FRIENDS Card for yourself @friendswithhalalfoodhunt! You stand a chance to win an iftar meal daily! Check #friendsiftartogether ❤ UPDATE 28 May 7AM: List is being vetted right now UPDATE 28 May 2PM: The list is out but our server crashed because of the surge in website visitors. We will update once our site is back up! – #halalsg #sghalal #halalfoodhunt #halalfood #halalfoodsg #sgfood #ramadhanbazaar
I was honestly pretty shocked that all the stalls did not have their National Environment Agency (NEA) certificates on display on Saturday (as they were currently in processing) for me to double confirm that the owner of the stall is Muslim. So you guys, when the NEA certificates are released, our tip is to CHECK THE NEA CERTIFICATE! – NEA certificates contain the name of the owner of the stall, so looking out for the “binte” or “bin” that signals a Muslim name is one way to do a quick verification (Let’s also acknowledge that not all Muslims are Malay and have the “binte” or “bin” in their names. If that is the case, we would probe further.)
Stalls that don’t have Halal Certificates but say that all the ingredients used are halal or halal-certified.
Some stalls not owned by Muslims in the bazaar have tried to convince us that the food they sell are halal because they have the Halal Certificates for the ingredients that they use. For this, please refer to the halal risk factors which I’ve discussed earlier. The only way that I can endorse them in good conscience, is if I literally go to their stall, and open every single freezer, unpack all their food ingredients and check for halal. I would also need to see their menu, identify the risks, and ask for all the ingredients that they use. From there, I would need them to produce the Halal Certificates for the ingredients that need Halal Certification for certainty.If you’re wondering, do I have the knowledge and training to do that? Yes, I do. (Thanks to my previous work experience.)Am I going to do that? No, I am not.Why? Simply because it is illegal to do so and only MUIS has the authority to do that.So, am I going to list them as halal? No.So, what do I recommend for these stalls? What these stall owners can do is get the MUIS Halal Certificate for the Short Term Scheme. Details are here.
Don’t know how to apply? Email me at [email protected] and we will advise accordingly.P. S. For now, it’s too late but we can help you for your upcoming bazaars. Do note that all Pasar Malam stalls can also apply for this scheme.
OK. NOW THE LIST
Ok, so now that you know where my team and I are coming from, I can now release the list to you. Please DO NOT screenshot this list and send it to your friends.
SHARE THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE INSTEAD
Reason: We expect stalls to be writing to us to clarify on their halal status, so this list will be updated from time to time. Why are some of the stalls are left out from this list? Mainly because the conversation went like this:-
Me: ABANG, kita nak tulis article untuk tempat halal di sini. Kedai abang halal tak? (We want to write an article about halal places here. Is your stall halal?)
Me: Kedai ni abang punye ke? (Is this your shop?)
Me: Oh tak eh. ok. Boss mana? Orang muslim ke? (Oh, it is not yours. Who’s the boss? Is he muslim?)
Guy: Oh tak. Boss Cina. (Oh. no, my boss is Chinese (non-muslim implied))
Me: Jadi macam mana abang tahu makanan ni halal eh? (So how you know the food you sell is halal?)
Guy: Boss cakap. (My boss said so)
Me: Abang tahu check tak? (Do you know how to check?)
Guy: Tak. (No.)
Me: Ok. So. Abang boleh sign kan cakap kedai ni halal? (Ok, so do you think you can sign on my paper to say that this shop is halal?)
Guy: Abang tak boleh subahat dek. Takpe lah. Tak nak sign. (I can’t sign your paper. I don’t want to be complicit to this. Nevermind. Don’t include us in this article) *proceeds to ask the muslim lady next to me if she wants to buy food*
– awkward silence –
Also, not to mention that there are stalls with tudung-clad ladies who were selling food. They didn’t look local, so I talked to them in English, and then switched to Malay, and then switched to Chinese to ask if the food was halal. They understood my question, but then proceeded to look at each other, and eventually decided not to answer me. That and also, some of the stalls were not in operation yet and we couldn’t find the staff to talk to.Disclaimer: We ignored stalls that have a low halal risk, for example, your fresh sugar cane juice or canned beverage stalls.So here goes:
List Updated 31st May 2017 10.59PM
Joo Chiat / Onan Road Area
Matin’s Special Benjo (Stall 7 Muslim Owned)Kathira Shiok by Makan shiok (Muslim Owned)Softnade galaxy milkshake Thai Mango soft (Stall 9 Muslim Owned)Mr Teh Tarik Kathira and Ayam Percik (Source: Their own halal certified shop)Smoke Out @ Dragon Breath SG (Stall 13 Muslim Owned)
Darul Arqam Area
Meat my meat (Stall 63 Muslim Owned)Famous Vadai (Stall 137 Muslim Owned)O Braim (Muslim Owned)Katoshka (Stall 74 Muslim Owned)WORD fast food rainbow bagel (Stall 50 Muslim Owned)Kalye Manila + Kentang Korner (Stall 19 Muslim Owned)UYI (Source: Their own halal certified shop)Istanblue (Stall 38 Muslim Owned)Kambing Golek (Stall 43 Muslim Owned)Apam Balik Power (Muslim Owned)Dendeng duo (Muslim Owned)Turkish Kebab House (Stall 44 Muslim Owned)Carnivori (Stall 40 Muslim Owned)Eats My Life Co. (Stall 40 Muslim Owned)The Saucy BBQ (Stall 58 Muslim Owned)
Haig Road Area
Cafe Patani (Stall 141 Muslim Owned)Da Hai Shan (Muslim Owned)
Tanjong Katong Complex
Tanjong Katong Complex (Facing Tanjong Katong Road)
Engku Aman (nearer Sim’s Drive)
Engku Aman (nearer Haig Road)
Listed below are stalls which are not Muslim-Owned and not Halal-Certified or meet halal risks as described above. I also want to add a note of caution for stalls with no name, as these stalls are often not held accountable for the halal status of the food that they sell. We caution our Muslim brothers and sisters before the purchasing food, as some of these stalls which do not meet our halal classification have been featured in other halal (and travel) publications we know locally.
Update: We have decided to remove the list of stalls which do not meet our halal classification as described in this article as there have been some irresponsible sharing of this information on Whatsapp and Facebook Groups. Our list and our words have been mutilated and spread around. We do not condone irresponsible sharing of information without the accompanying knowledge that enrich the reader. (Yes, I am pissed with you who have spread fitnah and irresponsibly shared the information which we have painstakingly gathered for the muslim community.) Should you find a stall that is not included in the above verified list, it is because they meet halal risks or we are not able to verify them as Halal Certified, or not Muslim-Owned as we have discussed above. So, please verify with the stall yourselves before deciding to purchase from them. Halal is everyone’s personal responsibility.
This list will be updated from time to time.
If you are a stall owner and would like to clarify your halal status with us, or find the above list inaccurate, please email us at [email protected], and we will respond as soon as possible. We will not be replying texts and WhatsApp messages or calls for this matter.
So now you know
So now that you know, you can make your own decisions on whether or not you would like to purchase from any of the stalls in the bazaar. If the stalls don’t meet our halal classification, but you are fine with it, go ahead and purchase with a clear conscience. We understand that halal tolerance varies from one Muslim to another so no one’s judging! Be safe, stay safe, and make wise choices about the food you consume, okay?Selamat berpuasa!PS. halalfoodhunt.com is a local startup run by a local group of Muslims. If you see the need for halal verification services within our community, just like we have done here for the Ramadhan Bazaar, we would like to ask for your help to ensure that we continue to exist. You can support us by purchasing the only discount and rewards card in Singapore which is exclusive for Halal Consumers a.k.a the FRIENDS Card and use it at our many halal food establishments listed with us. You can also support us by asking your local halal food eatery and caterer to list with us on halalfoodhunt.com.
If you want to thank us, share this article and buy the FRIENDS Card. You’ll get up to 20% discounts at over 100 halal places at only $18 per year! Plus between now till 7 June, you stand a chance to win a dining or delivery vouchers daily when you purchase yourself a card!