SINGAPORE - The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan starts today and families and friends keen to break fast at restaurants can now do so over a wider variety of cuisines.
Eateries offering traditional Malay and nasi padang-style offerings will continue to be perennial favourites, but there are now cafes offering everything from open-faced roast beef sandwiches to Vietnamese pho.
In the last year, there have been a handful of Muslim-owned and halal-certified restaurants that have set up shop.
These include Muslim-owned eateries such as Bluespoon in Joo Chiat Road; Rouse, a casual bistro in Dunlop Street; and I Am Cafe in North Bridge Road, which is inspired by the streets of Amsterdam; as well as cake shops operated by Muslim bakers offering cakes made from scratch.
Newly certified restaurants include 21 On Rajah at Days Hotel at Zhongshan Park and Katong Kitchen at Village Hotel Katong in Marine Parade.
They add to the growing number of halal-certified, and Muslim-owned and Muslim-run food and beverage businesses in Singapore.
During Ramadan, the day usually begins with a pre-dawn meal, or sahur, at about 5am and ends with a meal at dusk, or iftar.
The end of Ramadan is marked by celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid ul-Fitri, which falls on July 28 this year.
At popular places such as Carousel at Royal Plaza On Scotts, Straits Kitchen at Grand Hyatt Singapore, Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant at Furama Riverfront hotel and AquaMarine at Marina Mandarin Singapore, buffets are already between 50 and 90 per cent full, with some already fully booked on weekends.
For instance, Marina Mandarin's 220-seat halal international restaurant, AquaMarine, is already about 70 per cent full on most days, with Friday and Saturday being more popular and likely to be fully booked.
Popular 450-seat buffet restaurant 1-Market at Plaza Singapura is about 80 per cent full during the Ramadan month.
Food and beverage operators say bookings started streaming in as early as April this year, and recommend reservations if they have not already been made.
Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan
This article was first published on June 29, 2014.
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Muslim-owned and run
What: The restaurant will be serving harira, a traditional Moroccan soup of tomatoes, chickpeas and lentils usually enjoyed during the month of Ramadan. It will be offering break fast or iftar set menus that will include a choice of starter and main course, and a dessert. Main courses here include chicken and prune tajine, as well as lamb tajine.
Where: 334 Changi Road, tel: 6440-0849
Open: 5 to 10.30pm (Tuesday to Friday), 5 to 11.30pm (weekends), closed on Monday. The break fast set will be available only until about 9pm, after which the a la carte menu will be available.
Price: An iftar set is priced at $28++ a person.
What: Chef-owner Amri Abdul Azim, 38, is offering wagyu beef rendang served with yellow rice ($35) for the month of Ramadan. For an additional $15, those who order a main course will also be served artisan bread, soup and dessert of the day, and tea or coffee. The restaurant also offers various types, cuts and grades of steak.
Where: 248 Jalan Kayu, tel: 6556-3588
Open: During Ramadan, the restaurant will be open from 5 to 11pm (weekdays) and 4 to 10pm (weekends). The Ramadan special ends on July 25 and the restaurant will be closed thereafter for four days. Bookings are advisable for meals between 6.30 and 8pm.
Price: Steaks range in price from $15 to $49. The Ramadan special with wagyu rendang is priced at $35.
Info: Go to lesteak.com.sg