Love a good hotpot, but only know places like BIAP and HDL? Us too, the silky savoury broths, the hearty meats, crisp tofu skin and elaborate noodle performances. That the two have managed to remain as strong contenders long after the hotpot fad has passed, is testament to their quality and customer service. However, alas, these places aren’t exactly Halal-friendly, which brings us to four other places that are actually Halal friendly. Bless these joints too, we think there should surely be more of them around, for Iftar and all year round.
Jin Shang Yi Pin Buffet
Opened and operated by a pair of Chinese Muslim couple from China, this new—opened August last year—family-joint has been quite the success. One reason for that could be attributed to their little individual pots of soup per pax with personal induction cookers. This makes for the best type of steamboat for those who are saliva-conscious, particular, fickle or have dietary limitations (non-spicy; veg-heavy). Expect a buffet-style a la Seoul Garden, everything all laid out, including quail eggs, mutton, with choices of five soup bases including herbal chicken, salted veg, mushroom, tomato and mala (the only spicy option).
Also, Jin Shang Yi Pin has in a way, one-upped Beauty’s lemon sorbet with the complimentary desserts we’ve all come to expect, with small tapioca cakes.
The pull: Individual hotpots, if your friends’ hygiene levels are untested.
Drawback: Personally not a fan of Seoul Garden type buffets with food all laid out in the open
East Point Mall; 3 Simei St. 6, #01-20.
Lukhon Thai, though located incredibly far out in the East, is a real treat. It offers both a la carte (minimum $25 worth) as well as combo sets of ($25) for two and ($40) for four. In all fairness, ($25) worth of a la carte looks like a hefty meal, since garlic chicken is priced at ($2.30) and veg like spinach from ($1.80) to King Oyster Mushroom for ($2). Yet this feels like bistro-level prices for a place based in a hawker centre. You know how you sometimes feel shortchanged when you look at slivers of luscious meats but they come out all straggly and mangled. This is not the case here. Tip: definitely gun for those with their signature black pepper marinade, and request for extra servings of their home made sauces.
The pull: Solid food for solid prices, plummy quality sauces
Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre; 110 Pasir Ris Central, #02-05.
If you’ve made it through the crowd of tourists on your rare time off, congratulations. Be pleasantly surprised that eating here won’t be eating you out of house and home and major points for being Halal-certified. For the ($27) you shell out, at least from Mondays to Thursdays and ($29) from Fridays all through the weekends, expect free flow meats and a delightful spread of fresh seafood like crabs, bamboo clams and scallops. Quality of food has stayed consistent over the years, so definitely round up all your friends during Iftar for a feast because this place will do you a solid.
The pull: Central locale, handicap-friendly, Al fresco views for days
Drawback: Not a fan of open-style self-service buffets
Satay By The Bay; 18 Marina Gardens Dr., #12/13/14.
Turn to The Talking Cow if you want ultimate comfort food without fuss. TTC proffers a ($13.80) set, with a minimum order of two sets. Each set comes with a half-shell scallop, mussel from New Zealand, black pepper beef and tiger prawn among other meats and veg. A carnivorous person? Definitely get the meat platter instead for ($10.80) which also comes with a ramly burger; otherwise, there’s the shell platter ($10.80) and veg platter ($6.80). Free flow soup on the house.
The pull: Unfussy sets with almost everything you could ask for
Drawback: Curt menu
418 Bedok North Ave. 2, #01-55.