Awafi

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Awafi is the premier restaurant of the Singapore Jewish Community, and provides locals and tourists alike with a high standard of kosher food in the middle of Southeast Asia.  What is very special about Awafi is that it exists to serve its patrons, and is bolstered by the local community, which demands the best quality.  The restaurant is open all week, and serves a diverse menu of items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It also provides full sit-down meals for shabbat in the larger catering hall (a typical shabbat lunch serves about 150 people each week).  Special meals and events are regularly served as well - from its extensive order-in-advance menu of Indian specialties to the international menu created for meals in the sukkah to fancy nights with prix fixe menus (see 'Karoo's Kosher Kitchen' menus below).  Awafi also has a top-notch pastry chef, and has its own catering arm which takes care of private and community events, including the annual Chanukah party. 

The standard menu, which is offered for lunches and dinners is special in that it contains a good variety of cuisines, including Chinese and Singaporean.  You can sample famous Singaporean dishes, such as Mee Goreng and Char Kuay Teow.  They also have burgers and chicken, as well as a good list of appetizers, salads, and deserts.  The prices are very low, especially considering that the kosher meat is particularly hard to obtain in Singapore - all beef and lamb is imported by the community from Australia, and the chicken is schected and soaked and salted by the community.

Weekday breakfast is typically a buffet of hot dishes and salads, and is served right after the daily shacharit minyan.  This meal is typically diary.

On shabbat, meals are special.  Friday night dinner is a buffet, which typically induces local Singaporean dishes and a lot of l'chaims.  The crowd is usually predominantly tourists - as most locals eat this meal at home.  Shabbat lunch is the community highlight, and a lot of locals spend this meal with the community.  The food is served by a wait staff in the large catering hall, and the food is top quality.  The menu differs every week, but generally includes Iraqi specialties such as Hammim with a whole chicken, crispy rice, and hard boiled eggs, or a local dish such as Beef Randang, Butter Chicken, or Fish Curry.  The salads served with the meal are always fresh and delicious, including homemade hummus and the community's famous "chakla bakla" spicy mixture.

In order to take full advantage of the range of tastes that Awafi has to offer, it is smart to speak with the chef in advance and ask to have a special meal arranged with new local flavors.  This will complete your Singapore experience.

While at Awafi, try to take a tour of the Shul (Magain Aboth) and the Jacob Ballas Community Centre, and ask about the community's history, which has helped form the beacon it has become today.

 

Menu (as of June, 2016):

 

   

Restaurant Photos:

 

 

 Food Photos:

Vegetable Spring Rolls:

 

Chicken Sichuan with White Rice:

 

Kuay Teow with Meat:

 

Sizzling Beef:

 

Fried Rice:

 

Chicken Schnitzel with Fries and Coleslaw:

 

Mee Goreng with Meat:

 

Samosas (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Roti Prata (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Butter Chicken (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Beef Randang (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Spinach Curry with Chicken (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Green Chutney (from special Indian/Malay menu):

 

Croutons, Fresh Vegetables, and Edamame Dip (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

French Bean, Hearts of Palm, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Lamb Satay (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Sago Gula Malacca (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Deep Fried Pickles and Olives (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Laksa with Chicken (from Karoo's Kosher Kitchen special menu):

 

Beef Tacos (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Chicken Fajitas (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Corn (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Guacamole, Refried Beans, and Corn Salsa (from special Mexican Sukkot menu):

 

Cholent (prepared in the Awafi kitchen by the community Bochurim for weekly community learning events):

 

Corn Dogs (prepared in the Awafi kitchen by the community Bochurim for weekly community learning events):

 

Battered Chicken Fingers (prepared in the Awafi kitchen by the community Bochurim for weekly community learning events):

 

Schnitzel in a Bun with Fries and Coleslaw (for take away):

 

Chanukah Appetizer Platter (prepared by Awafi catering for Community Chanukah Party):

 

Chanukah Donuts:

 

Chanukah Donuts:

 

Bakery Cookies (prepared by Awafi Pastry Chef):

 

Custom Birthday Cake topped with French Macaroons (prepared by Awafi Pastry Chef):

 

 

Mul Hayam

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Mul Hayam is a major player on the Hong Kong restaurant scene, and is the only kosher restaurant in Kowloon.  It is located right in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, near the Sheraton, Chabad of Kowloon, and the East Tsim Sha Tsui station.  It is in the Wing On Plaza shopping center, and shares a side of an entire floor with the Kehilat Zion / Hechal Ezra Synagogue.  Whether or not you need to be in the area, it is worth a trip to eat at this restaurant.  They are a very upstanding establishment, and recognize what it means to serve a community.  The food and service are of a very high standard and the menu is diverse and attractive.  I once called them to order food to be ready for me one night after a flight into Hong Kong; when my flight was delayed, I didn't get there until an hour after Mul Hayam was supposed to close, and they actually stayed open just so I was able to pick up my dinner because they knew that I had no alternatives for a hot meal.

 From tasty appetizers and soups to the salad bar, main courses, and desserts, the menu is packed with great choices.  Although there is an Israeli tone, the menu has dishes from China, Vietnam, and elsewhere.  As per the typical compliant I have about most restaurants in Asia, they do not serve enough authentic Chinese / Hong Kong style dishes.  Given that the chefs are probably all natives, this is something that could be done very easily.  

The dining room area is classy and elegant, and Mul Hayam is certainly a great location for a nice night out.

 

Menu (as of April, 2016):

 

    

Restaurant Photos:

 

 

 Food Photos:

Spring Rolls:

 

Homemade Kobe (Kibbeh): 

 

Beef Skewers:

French Fries:

Tong Choi Chicken with Fried Rice:

Warm Chocolate Fondant with Ice Cream:

 

The Sabra Restaurant

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The Sabra Restaurant is the premier restaurant in the Hong Kong JCC on Robinson Road.  It is located in the same complex as the Ohel Leah Synagogue and the Robinson Place apartment buildings.  It is one of the top restaurants in all of Asia in terms of dining experience and food.  The JCC is also unique in Asia, and this center is a worthwhile visit in conjunction with a meal for a trip to the kosher supermarket or the synagogue building.

When you arrive, there is a great deal of security.  Be prepared to show passports or Hong Kong ID and to answer questions about why you are there.  Typically, they ask if you know any community members - if you do not, it is fine, but be prepared for this.  Once you pass security, you enter the JCC complex and have to take an elevator to the restaurant.  The entrance to the restaurant is nice, and the space, itself is large, well decorated, and a pleasant place to have a meal.  There are a lot of tables, so there's sufficient room even if it is crowded (which it often is).

The menu is an eclectic mix of Israeli, Continental, and Chinese foods.  All are prepared nicely and certainly exceed the average culinary standard for kosher in Asia.  The Chinese dishes are limited in number and not all that authentic considering you're in Hong Kong - this could be improved to cater more to the kosher diner who is interested in experiencing some local food.

 

Menu (as of April, 2016):

 

   

Restaurant Photos:

 

 Food Photos:

Bread (put on the table for every meal):

 

Cajun Spiced Wings:

Pad Thai: 

 

Sichuan Minced Chicken:

 

Sizzling Fajitas:

New York Chocolate and Nut Brownie:

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