I first came across Ridhuan's Muslim Delights in a video a colleague sent, and the first thing that caught my eye was halal… zichar?
For those who aren't familiar with the term, zichar is a type of Chinese cuisine that involves a lot of woks, large fires, and quite a few pork dishes.
Commonly found zichar dish would be hor fun, sweet and sour pork, fried rice, and so on.
A second interesting point about this stall is that the owner, Muhammad Ridhuan Kho, was actually born Alex Kho Kiat Eng.
Ridhuan's Muslim Delights is in its essence, a story of love.
A love for a Muslim lady and a love for food.
Ridhuan's Muslim delights
A stall in an industrial canteen in Tuas, you'd expect many of Ridhuan's customers to be people working in the area, which is true.
But this industrial canteen stall also sees many Singaporeans journeying to the West just to support the stall owner, Ridhuan, and all because of one viral Facebook post.
The store is halal-certified, but serves up many Chinese dishes that have been re-invented to suit Muslims.
And according to The Halal Eater, at $4 to $4.50 each, the food is well worth the money (and the wait).
Converting to Islam
Sarawak-born, Ridhuan was working in Singapore as a Chinese food cook when he met his wife at a Muslim coffee shop in Tampines.
"We met in 2010, I converted in 2012, and we got married in 2014," he tells me.
As expected of many interracial relationships, their marital union did not come smoothly, and in order to continue the relationship, Alex Kho made the decision to become Muhammad Ridhuan Kho.
Ridhuan also gave up working as a Chinese food cook but when his first child came, the couple met with financial difficulties - a plight that forced Ridhuan back into a Chinese kitchen where he toiled 16 hours each day.
It was "not that difficult" to resume cooking Chinese food, Ridhuan says. "I just needed to change some ingredients to be halal."
He eventually managed to find a store in Tuas that was halal-certified, but there Ridhuan soon found that the owner "had no respect for other religions".
"He broke the law of running a halal kitchen and I did not want to be his accomplice. That's why I quit the job and opened my own stall."
A changed life
It was after Ridhuan found a friend in a grocery supplier - Melvin - that the idea for his own stall took root.
Believing in Ridhuan's culinary skills, Melvin invested $6,000 to help the cook open his own stall at Benoi Road.
Today, Ridhuan's Muslim Delights is just 4 months old, and Ridhuan has already managed to pay back the $6,000 in whole.
All the recipes he now serves were invented by him, with the Butter Cream Chicken Rice and Salted Egg Chicken Rice being the best-sellers.
A cook's delight
The original viral Facebook post was "unexpected", Ridhuan says, and he received many customers for it.
"It was tiring at first, but now I am enjoying it as I get to meet a lot of people. I'm really thankful for those who come down to support me even although they do not know me. And to Melvin, I'm also very thankful for him supporting me all this time."
"I'm much happier now that I get to share good food with people, regardless of race."
Ridhuan's Muslim Delights might be a little out of the way, but considering the long queues and many thumbs ups Ridhuan gets, it might be worth the journey to the West.
Ridhuan's Muslim Delights
- 25 Benoi Road Singapore 629914
- Mon-Fri: 10:30am - 06:30pm (closed 1-2pm for Friday prayers)
- Saturday: 09:30am to 02:00pm