A Muslim-owned izakaya decked out in Japanese paraphernalia, and a hidden garden oasis serving ginger-infused dishes are just some of the Halal dining gems you’ll uncover in the heart of Singapore. With a dizzying array of Halal options, you’ll never have to eat at the same place twice.
Discover more about Bugis’ colourful past as you stroll down streets that tell stories of its rich heritage. You’ll find plenty of Halal food options here but visit these gems for a mix of old and new.
Majestic portraits of sultans embellish the walls of Islamic Restaurant, evidence of the numerous royalties and dignitaries that have patronised the establishment since it opened 95 years ago. The restaurant is not only popular with nobility—it’s also common to see multi-generational families flocking to the restaurant for a taste of its nasi briyani (Indian spiced rice dish with meat or vegetables). This carb-heavy dish is not for those on a diet—it comes ladled with a curry of your choice: chicken, mutton, fish, vegetable or prawn, and is crowned with a crispy papadum (fried Indian cracker).
If you’re hankering for something sweet to break the heaviness of the briyani, head to Kumoya for Halal-certified desserts. The Japanese-French café serves beautifully plated parfaits and petite eclairs, among other sugary treats.
Islamic Restaurant. 745 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198713. +65 6298 7563.
Mon-Thu, Sat & Sun 10am-10pm; Fri 10am-1pm, 2-10pm.
You won’t mind getting your fingers dirty at Afterwit, an off-kilter Mexican taqueria that imparts local flair to its dishes. Think beef dendeng (Indonesian thinly sliced dried meat) tacos dripping with guacamole, accompanied by pico de gallo and purple cabbage slaw. Another standout is the restaurant’s nasi lemak (fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, accompanied with an array of side dishes like omelette, fried fish and anchovies) burritos stuffed with chicken and sambal (spicy chilli paste). For dessert, don’t miss its oven-baked churros (S$12/S$14) that are rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with your choice of Milo, salted caramel or Thai milk tea sauce.
Work off those calories by exploring the storied neighbourhood of Kampong Glam. You’ll be drawn to the towering golden domes of Sultan Mosque—one of the oldest mosques in Singapore with a history dating back to 1824. Go ahead and join in worship once the sonorous call to prayer plays.
Afterwit. 778 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198746. +65 6299 3508.
With artistic impressions of Tokyo’s back alleys decorating the walls and traditional tatami mats on the floors, Harāru Izakaya recreates an authentic Japanese experience. This Muslim-owned Japanese gastropub focuses on meat dishes, like its popular wagyu beef with garlic sauce grilled over a charcoal fire. Lunch offerings are limited to four types of rice bowls—beef, unagi, salmon and chicken—so come during their dinner service to experience a whole gamut of delicious offerings.
As night time approaches, Haji Lane takes on a different persona. Buskers line the street, strumming acoustic pop tunes on guitars and serenading the crowd with smooth vocals. Pull up a chair or sit on a step by the side of the road. It’s time to get lost in the music.
Harāru Izakaya. 16 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199437.
Mon-Thu & Sun noon-11am; Fri & Sat noon-midnight.
With Fort Canning Park and Istana Park within walking distance from Dhoby Ghaut Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, you’ll want to fuel up at these spots before taking in the sights and sounds of nature around you.
Cajun on Wheels
Tighten that plastic bib, because things are about to get messy at Cajun on Wheels. This Halal restaurant located in Plaza Singapore serves Louisiana-style seafood that arrives at your table in a bucket. Pour out its contents and feast on crabs, prawns, mussels and more, drenched in a sauce of your choice—we recommend the chilli egg sauce that is also used for Singapore’s famous chilli crab.
Afterward, sneak a peek at Singapore’s version of The White House. Meaning “palace” in Malay, the Istana is the official place of residence of the President of Singapore and was first erected in 1867. The grounds are only open to the public on Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, Labour Day and National Day, so plan your trip around those dates if you’d like a closer look.
Plaza Singapura. 68 Orchard Rd #03-92, Singapore 238839. +65 6341 9665.
Shop to your heart’s content at Orchard Road, which is lined with luxury malls and quirky boutiques. Here, you can do everything from tailoring suits to picking up some last-minute souvenirs.
With an array of must-try local dishes, StraitsKitchen lets you tick all the boxes with its buffet spread. The Halal-certified restaurant has five live kitchens that fire up dishes like satay (grilled skewered meat), laksa (spicy coconut milk-based noodle soup) and roti prata (South Indian flatbread), that will keep you coming back for more. We recommend wearing loose fitting clothes—you’re guaranteed to leave feeling stuffed to the brim.
After your meal, stroll down Orchard Road, Singapore’s glamorous shopping belt that’s chock-a-block with both luxury labels and affordable finds. Pick up unique local mementoes at TANGS, where you’ll find a selection of independent local brands.
Grand Hyatt Singapore. 10 Scotts Road Lobby Level, Singapore 228211. +65 6732 1234.
Mon-Fri 6.30-10.30am, noon-2.30pm, 6.30-10.30pm; Sat & Sun 6.30-11am, 12.30-3pm, 6.30-10.30pm.
Situated away from the bustle of Orchard Road, Tanglin is a quieter spot where you can unwind at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Lush greenery shields this quaint restaurant from the main road, making for a private dining experience hidden from prying eyes. The Halia is nestled in the middle of the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ Ginger Garden, home to over 250 varieties of ginger among other plants and flowers. The spicy root is interpreted in a variety of ways in the Halia’s many dishes, from the lemongrass and ginger prawn salad with ginger flower dressing, to its Ginger Garden dessert.
Explore the rest of the garden after your meal. You can follow one of the online trail guides or join a volunteer-guided tour that takes place every Saturday (except for the 5th Saturday of the month) to discover the abundance of flora species native to this region.
Singapore Botanic Gardens. 1 Cluny Road (Ginger Garden), Singapore 259569. +65 8444 1148.
Mon-Thu 9am-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am-9.30pm.