Last weekend saw the kick-off of the major annual Ramadan bazaars across the country – and the biggest, most (over) excited is of course none other than the 2017 Geylang Serai Bazaar.
In the mad rush to put together its biggest iteration to date (with around 1,000 stalls), the mess has seen people start to wonder if quality control could be a little lax. In particular, the quality control of the halal authenticity of each F&B supplier – after all, it is a bazaar intended for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Alas, things are not what they appear to be. Two halal food blogs took it upon themselves to peruse Geylang Serai’s entire bazaar over the weekend, and they discovered that almost half of the stalls weren’t certified or verified as halal – and neither did they belong more to Muslims – that is, allowed for Muslims. They even compiled a list of certified halal vendors and, surprise, surprise, most Instagram-worthy food stalls weren’t on the list.
The list was sparked by an investigation by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) into a viral social media post that suspected an allegedly non-halal sale. deng deng (jerkies of halal jerky) was trying to pass himself off as halal. Perhaps to prove how vital blogging discoveries were, their sites crashed due to increased traffic after the list was published.
While it’s important to note that what is halal and haram varies among Muslims – some may be stricter or more picky about the finer details of the ingredients than others – which is what everyone is fond of. Okay right now is the irony of seeing questionable halal status in a bazaar that is historically for and by a Muslim population, in a historically Malaysian-Muslim neighborhood of Singapore.
Editor’s Note: The story has been edited to reflect the fact that blogs found that almost half of the stalls were not halal certified Where belonging to Muslims.