Halal or not? Doubts raised over some food stalls at Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar

Halal or not? Foods stalls at Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar raise doubts over halal-status (Photo: Makansutra)
Halal or not? Foods stalls at Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar raise doubts over halal-status (Photo: Makansutra)

Soon after photos and videos of the new foods to eat at this year’s much anticipated Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar conquered social media feeds on Friday (26 May), many in the Muslim community raised questions over whether such foods were Muslim-owned or Halal-certified.

While many food stalls at the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar may be similar to those you see at regular heartland pasar malams, there remains an expectation within the Muslim community for foods at the Ramadan bazaar to be Muslim-owned or Halal-certified because of the time period.

The Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar takes place from 25 May to 24 June, and overlaps with the holy Islamic month of Ramadan.

Located along the stretch of roads between Paya Lebar MRT station and the Geylang Serai Wet Market, this year’s bazaar also see new food stalls offering an array of hip and trendy dishes, desserts and snacks, such as the Rainbow Ice-cream Planet Bun and Candy Floss Burrito.

However, it is not clear if all of these foods are Halal, which is the Arabic word for “lawful or allowable”. The emphasis on being Muslim-owned is mainly because it is easier for many to trust a Muslim owner to ensure that the foods they are selling are Halal.

[ARTICLE: 9 foods debuting at the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar this year]

Not all foods at the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar are Halal-certified

Over the weekend, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) – as well as local Halal food sites Halal Food Blog and, an online food directory focusing on verified halal food businesses – seemed to have been bombarded by queries over the Halal statuses of some stalls at this year’s Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar.

MUIS is the assigned government body that oversees the Halal certifications of food and beverage businesses in Singapore.

Queries to MUIS put the spotlight on a particular food stall located along Onan Road that sells barbecued meat, better known as “dendeng”.

While the logo used by the stall had implied that the supplies had come from DDHS Food Manufacture, which according to MUIS’ twitter account @halalSG, is Halal-certified, it was unclear if that was actually the case.

Doubts arose after an eyewitness account stated that the stall owner had evaded his question when asked about the type of meat being sold.

On its MUIS’ Twitter account (@halalSG), the council said, “Fact #1, DDHS, the factory, is Halal-certified.

“Fact #2: We are unable to confirm the source of dendeng at bazaar stalls, which may or may not get their supplies from DDHS,” they said in a second tweet on Saturday (27 May).

The Halal status of a stall involves various factors, which include its supplier’s source and food preparation methods.

MUIS also advised consumers to look out for Halal certificates displayed by stalls if they are unsure. However, not all food stalls had displayed their Halal certificates when Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore went to the bazaar on Friday (26 May).

While obtaining the Halal certificate is not compulsory in Singapore, MUIS said that Muslim owners have a “religious obligation to ensure that the food they serve is Halal compliant”.

With that said, MUIS is currently investigating the Halal status of the dendeng stall in question.

List of Muslim-owned and Halal-certified stalls at the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar

However, doubts over the Halal statuses of food stalls at the bazaar did not end there as others shared accounts of stalls appearing Muslim-friendly when they are owned by a non-Muslim and do not have Halal certification.

To assure patrons going to the bazaar, the teams behind the two local Halal food sites went down to individual stalls to find out whether they are Halal-certified or Muslim-owned, complete with detailed background explanations to their findings.

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 proxy to indicate that the stall is Muslim-owned,” said Halal Food Hunt in a post published on their content site SIFTED.

Titled “The Ultimate List of What’s Halal at Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar… And Why You Should Even Care”, the post was written by a Jumaiyah Mahathir, who said that she has had one and a half years of experience working with the MUIS Halal-Certification process team.

Here is part of their list as of Sunday (29 May), 2:04am. The full list is available on Sifted by The Halal Food Hunt or The Halal Food Blog.

Joo Chiat / Onan Road Area

The botak BBQ and grill kebabs (Stall 12 Muslim-owned)
Kebab Souq (Muslim-owned)
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)

Engku Aman (Haig Road)

Kathira Shiok (Muslim-owned)
Apam Balik Power (Muslim-owned)
Meat my meat (Stall 51 Muslim-owned)
Poffertjes by Cake Love (Muslim-owned)
Coco2go by yangoriginal (The Famous Melaka) (Stall 53 Muslim-owned)
Pisangkeju putupiring (Stall 54 Muslim-owned)
Aledya Slushies (Stall 55 Muslim-owned)
Tasconis (Muslim-owned)
BOOM Briyani (Stall 59 Muslim-owned)
Broti (Stall 38 Muslim-owned)
Zapalang (Stall 51 Muslim-owned)
Word (Stall 8 Muslim-owned)
Ice Burns (Stall 13 Muslim-owned)
Potion Labz (Stall 51 Muslim-owned)
Roti Boyan by Mas Creation (Stall 38 Muslim-owned)
Lamb and Cucur Station (Stall 62 Muslim-owned)
On-stick Grills scallops Yakitori (Muslim-owned)
Briyani Point (Muslim-owned)
Togok by ZB (Stall 64 Muslim-owned)
Terang Bulan Murtabak Manistee Gorpis (Muslim-owned)
Pisang Melokek Adam Road (Stall 66 Muslim-owned)
Koh Nangkam (Stall 109 Muslim-owned)
Ramly and Goreng. Goreng (Muslim-owned)
Kaw Kaw (Stall 90 Muslim-owned and sourced from their own Halal-certified shop)
Istanbul Express (Muslim-owned)
El T Ra flying noodles (Stall 43 Muslim-owned)
Dendeng duo (Muslim-owned)
Shelburnz (Stall 13 Muslim-owned)
Mr kebab (Muslim-owned)
Yummers Colossal Churros (Stall 20 Muslim-owned)
OL Blend (Muslim-owned)
Over the Rainbow SG (Stall 61 Muslim-owned)
Mr Vadai (Stall 42 Muslim-owned)
Smoolot by NOE pengat Sticky Rice dessert (Muslim-owned)

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