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Travel to Hong Kong and Singapore

t
torchef Sep 9, 2007 09:29 AM

I will be travelling to Hong Kong and Singapore for 6 days each. In both places, I will be spending Shabbat. Any suggestions re Kosher food/restaurants/shuls etc would be helpful

Torchef

  1. z
    zsero Sep 9, 2007 10:23 AM

    First of all, the information on singaporejews.com is several years out of date.

    As of 6 months ago, the only kosher restaurant in Singapore was the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on the corner of Bras Basah and Waterloo (a few doors down from the shul), which has sandwiches and pasta dishes as well as the usual coffee, tea, and cakes. I recommend the Spicy Tuna Linguini. The sign in the window says that it's not chalav yisrael, but in fact almost everything is, you just have to ask to make sure.

    At that time there was a community centre being built next door to the shul on Waterloo St, and they were planning to open a kosher restaurant there, to be called Awaffie. It must have opened by now, but I don't know that for a fact, and obviously can't express an opinion on the quality of the food.

    Also, if you go to shul in the morning (shacharit is at 7:30 every weekday) there's quite a nice breakfast afterwards.

    As far as Shabbat is concerned, I believe there is a large kiddush after musaf by day; for Friday night you can probably arrange to be invited by someone at shul, especially if you arrive several days before shabbat.

    1. a
      AnGeLiCbOrIs Sep 9, 2007 05:57 PM

      I spent last summer in HK and I spent every Shabbos davening and eating in Kehilat Zion with Rabbi Meoded. I originally planned on joining different shuls over the summer but Kehilat Zion was so fantastic that I did not bother going anywhere else. The people are really nice and the food is simply fantastic. It is simply amazing how much food is served. Every variety is covered from Ashkenazic to Sephardic to Asian.

      http://kehilat-zion.org/

      If you are looking for a Hotel in the area, I'd recommend the Royal Garden. It is beautiful inside and the rooms are easy to get to on Shabbos (even though there are only electronic keys). Try to get a room on the fourth floor since after the escalators you will only have to walk up one flight of steps.

      Hope that helped!

      1 Reply
      1. re: AnGeLiCbOrIs
        c
        chai18 Sep 9, 2007 08:04 PM

        I have to agree about the food here on this one, there are 3 kosher restaurants in Hong Kong and mul hayam (in the hechel ezra/kehilat zion) on the kowloon side is by far the best, unlike many kosher restaurants in far out jewish communities, this one is not just your standard so called classic jewish or israeli dishes, its not just hummus, shnitel, falafal and some sort of deli/grilled meat. this restaurants cooks and presents its food as if it is a real restaurants on par with the other top notch eatieries in HK. The jewish club, jcc, is also pretty good but it is pricey. otherwise the best bet for shabbos would be chabad if you stay in the mandarin oreintal, as they serve meals there and daven there on shabbat.

      2. a
        AdinaA Aug 28, 2011 08:34 AM

        Any advice on restaurants (and hotels near the shul) in Singapore?

        6 Replies
        1. re: AdinaA
          a
          avitrek Aug 28, 2011 10:14 AM

          When I was there a couple years ago the options were the Coffee Bean mentioned above and the restaurant in the community center next to the shul. You could reserve Shabbat Dinner and Lunch at the community center. Both were good. Nothing extraordinary, but I wasn't embarrassed to go with colleagues(once you get past entering a community center to eat).

          In terms of hotels, I was staying at the Fairmont, because that is where my firm puts people up. It was about a .5 mile walk. There were no stairs accessible so I had to ride up the elevator with the bellhop who was opening the door. Leaving the room required waiting for someone else who happened to be going down.

          1. re: AdinaA
            a
            asher13 Aug 28, 2011 10:19 AM

            Hey Adina --
            I was in Singapore in March for a week. I stayed at the Carlton Hotel which is about 2 blocks away from the shul there. Was very nice...
            In terms of food there is a kosher Coffee Bean right next to the shul and there is a meat restaurant that is open during the week for lunch and dinner in the shul complex along with a kosher grocery store. The food at the shul's restaurant was pretty good and they had a mix of authentic Singapore/Malaysian cuisine and Israeli food.

            For shabbat the shul hosts a friday night dinner (reservations required I think the cost was around $50 SGD). For shabbat lunch there is a big kiddush/lunch following davening that's open to everyone.

            Here is the website for the Singapore Jewish Welfare Board which runs the shul complex: http://www.singaporejews.com/

            Let me know if you need any addl info.

            1. re: asher13
              n
              njkosher Aug 28, 2011 12:36 PM

              I was there in December for a few days, and have been several times over the last 11 years. I Have to say that I have avoided it for Shabbat only because HK was so much much better. I was pleasantly surprised last December.
              I was a 20/25 minute walk from the shul, but that is because I preferred the Sheraton. The community center is next door the shul, and that is where the restauarnt is as well as where the Shabbat meals are held. I had been in contact with the Jewish Community Center in advance via e mail and paid for the Shabbat meals in advance which were very good. You may even be able to stay in the community center as I believe they have some rooms if you don't want to walk, but I don't believe its hotel quality.
              The coffee bean which is on the corner of the street that the shul is on is kosher and under hashgacha, but not chalav yisroel.

              1. re: njkosher
                z
                zsero Aug 28, 2011 01:54 PM

                The Coffee Bean is officially not CY, but many of the dairy items are in fact CY. You can ask to see the package from which things came, to check whether they're CY. Or you can ask the rabbi at the shul a few doors away, because he gives the hechsher.

              2. re: asher13
                s
                savtaro Nov 30, 2012 12:49 PM

                hi asher.....shabbat shalom. i'm wondering if your singapore response is still up to date. i heard from the shul yesterday that shabbat lunch is $50.pp with reservations in advance. we've spent shabbat in many places with chabad and always leave a donation after shabbat but this is the first time it has been so businesslike requiring advance reservations and payment. i'm wondering what happened to hachnasit orchim?

              3. re: AdinaA
                z
                zsero Aug 28, 2011 02:00 PM

                I've stayed twice at the South East Asia hotel, which is a block away from the shul. It's cheap and pretty basic, not at all your luxury hotel, but it has a great view of a flower market out the window, which to my mind makes up for all its defects. It's over a religious vegetarian restaurant and I think a room comes with a free meal there or something; I didn't pay attention to the details because I wasn't going to eat there anyway, but for those who do eat at that sort of place this would be useful.

                Note when buying groceries: the local orange juice is called something like "Fresh squeezed" or something, but that's just a brand name; the ingredients include milk! It's anything but plain OJ. Stick to imported Tropicana. Also, the coffee supplied by the hotel in the room may be in the form of premixed packets that contain coffee, sugar, and milk; no hechsher, of course, and I wouldn't trust it. I bought my own jar of coffee from the 7/11.

              4. a
                AdinaA Dec 18, 2011 10:51 AM

                What a wonderful city for Jewish travelers. Daily minyan. A kosher Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. A restaurant (in the shul complex) nice enough to have dinner with colleagues. And delicious shabbos meals in lovely company.

                The friday night meal is simple, mostly for young Israeli men in Singapore on business and the Chabad bocherim who work for the shul.

                Saturday lunch is large, a social gathering with many of the resident families attending.

                Both meals are served buffet style and are very good. Warming trays with chicken and rice dishes. Like a lunch buffet at an Indian restaurant.

                Only with challah.

                5 Replies
                1. re: AdinaA
                  s
                  savtaro Nov 30, 2012 12:51 PM

                  Hi Adina.....did you pay for your lunch at Sinapore Chabad? They tell me it's $50pp and advance reservations are required. Very different from the many other Chabad shuls we've been to in disparate places like Shanghai, Panama City, Oslo,Bangkok....to name a few. We also leave a donation after Shabbat but this is a very different arrangement.

                  1. re: savtaro
                    a
                    AdinaA Dec 1, 2012 02:59 PM

                    Savtaro,

                    Cabad houses in my experience differ on this, some do charge an upfront fee.

                    More to the point. The dinner is served in the community center adjacent to the Sephardi shul that has been in Singapore since the mid-nineteenth century. About 20 years ago, at a time of communal nadir, they brought in a Chabad rabbi. The community has revived, big time. They could hire a non-chabad rabbi, but they like their rabbi. His position, however, is not quite the same as that of a rabbi running a Chabad House. He is a Chabad rabbi in the employ of a flourishing non-Chabad community - some old Singapore families, many expats. Plus a regular flow of business travelers.

                    Friday dinner (Dec. 2011) was served to a group of perhaps 30 travelers, students, and young, expats. Sat lunch, however, was in a large hall and attended by most of the people who attended services, perhaps 150. It was like a lovely version of a shul lunch, seated at tables, with business travelers welcome.

                    The food is very good, it's even better on weekdays at the restaurant in the community building.

                    The fact that the community provides Shabbat meals for the constant stream of business travelers in this way is very nice.

                    1. re: AdinaA
                      s
                      savtaro Dec 1, 2012 03:30 PM

                      Todah Adina and shavua tov. I'm glad I asked and I'm glad you shed light onto the lunch situation there. We have sent off an email to reserve our spots!

                      1. re: savtaro
                        n
                        njkosher Dec 3, 2012 06:49 AM

                        I was there 2 years ago and paid $40 per meal. Its Singapore dollars so slightly less in US$ - $100 for two meals should be about US$82.
                        Its run by the Jewish Welfare Board, not Chabad. As Adina indicated, its a very friendly atmosphere, and I think they even served wine and liquor. All done buffet style with plenty of food. I did not think it was a big expense, especially to have a nice hot meal on Friday night and Shabbat lunch.

                        1. re: njkosher
                          s
                          savtaro Dec 3, 2012 06:54 AM

                          we've reserved but just for shabbat lunch. hope we can stay awake for the davening! 13 hours from nj is a big deal! (as you know). we don't drink anything more than kiddush wine so the liquor is not an attraction. thanks for your response. we will send our own details when we come back.

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