Who: Married couple Adam Shah & Maryah (thehalalfoodblog.com). Adam’s younger brother Azlan & wife Yana officially joined the blog later.

Blogging since: 2 June 2012. A: “Online searches for Halal food yielded the same results, same sites. Was that really all?”  That prompted them to post what they ate online as a useful database. “What are we? What are we writing about? We decided on the simplest name, even though it has no wow factor.” 

The love story: They had a mutual friend, but started off ’stalking’ each other on Friendster before being formally introduced. They hit it off (A: “because of my charm” ), and were married on 11/11/11.

Tiny chilli padi: Their 14-month-old little girl, Alyssa, will demand to try adult food from her baby chair, and loves spicy sambal and the tang of citrus.

’Ninja-style’: A: “We go incognito unless it’s an invited tasting as the F&B outlet might dress the food up.”  Their readers appreciate their transparency, honesty and candid opinion.

A near-shutdown: A: “I almost gave up due to misunderstandings that led to personal attacks, even directed at my baby. Thankfully the majority of our readers are very supportive and my brother is very good at managing such situations.” 

How about advertising dollar? A: “We just want to let people know about what F&B options they have. The only thing we charge for is ad space. For in kind, like vouchers or food products, we will pass them on to the readers in the form of a contest.” 

Halal is hip: A: “I take it as a very big compliment to the Halal food scene now. Eateries that would never have thought of taking the Halal cert would do so now. Having the cert is not cheap nor easy. News of 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken being certified recently sent everybody into a frenzy. This goes to show the expanded appetite and taste of the Malay Muslim community.” 

Ultimate comfort food: A: “Tulang merah (bone steak) from M A Deen Biasa (North Bridge Road). I will pack it home, put it in a big bowl with a baguette and just eat it in front of the TV.”  M: “Nasi campur at Hajah Maimunah (Jln Pisang)” .

THE BUFFET: Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant at Furama RiverFront Singapore, Level 3, 405 Havelock Road ($55++ for dinner, daily 6-10.30pm)
We were also served a la carte items avocado juice with chocolate syrup ($9++), ikan bakar ($32++) and tahu telur ($12++).

Time of visit: 13 May, 8pm

Strategy: A: “After surveying, take the things you really want first. Going in order (ie salads, appetiser etc) is the worst way. You’ll fill up before trying what you really want to eat. Don’t compromise. I’ll leave the dessert for last, it’s a taste thing.” 
M: “Desserts first such as the cakes and durian pengat. I actually love rice, but I can eat that any day. I’ll take what I least expect to try.” 

Best dish: Rendang for Adam (“I’m quite a sucker for home-cooked food and I have a thing for rendang, which goes best with nasi kuning or yellow rice. It was fork tender and very tasty.” ) and the DIY laksa for Maryah (who didn’t share).

Not on their minds: Maryah skipped the eggplant (not her kind) while Adam ignored the fried dory (not special).

Shouldn’t have taken: Adam’s ayam curry was more coconut/creamy than curry; Maryah singled out the fried dory.

Most memorable? The cosy ambience is good for a quiet family/company dinner, with enough space for a wedding. The decor suits the Indonesian theme and food.

How Many BiTES?
Taste: A: 3.5/5, M: 3/5 (The desserts could be improved, especially the slightly watery durian pengat)
Value for Money: A: 2.5/5, M: 2/5

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