When it was announced today (Feb. 8) that Pepper Lunch has received its halal certification, the internet was abuzz with excitement and the unanimous sentiment seems to be that of approval.
However, the news was not devoid of confusion by some netizens who were perplexed as to why only 18 Pepper lunch outlets are halal-certified.
To recap, the Pepper Lunch locations that are halal certified are:
Pepper Lunch Restaurants:
- AMK Hub
- Hougang Mall
- Compass One
- Bedok Mall
- Tampines 1
- Jurong Point
Pepper Lunch Express:
- Asia Square
- Vivo City
- Junction 8
- City Square Mall
- Parkway Parade
- White Sands
- West Mall
- Hillion Mall
Some netizens noticed that some “Pepper Lunch outlets” were not in the list, and questioned if it was erroneous.
FYI, the list is correct. As it turned out, these netizens were referring to Pepper Kitchen stalls.
As of time of publishing, Pepper Kitchen has 18 outlets in locations such as ION Orchard, Paya Lebar Quarter and Waterway Point.
Whilst the stalls only differ by a mere word in their names, they actually belong to SFBI Group Singapore, a company that also manages…you guessed it, Pepper Lunch.
Their menus are also very similar, so much so that a forum user called Pepper Kitchen a “pirated Pepper Lunch”.
Understandably, this caused some of us to scratch our heads, us included.
So who is Pepper Kitchen?
We did not have to look far for answers. A look at the comment section of the Facebook post by HalalHub Consultants — the firm that first announced Pepper Lunch’s halal certification news — offers some clarity.
According to the comment by HalalHub Consultants themselves, Pepper Kitchen outlets are stalls that previously operated under the brand of Pepper Lunch Express.
However, due to some operational constraints, they cannot be certified halal as they did not meet the Halal requirements. These include issues such as the absence of Halal washing areas or having shared entrances with immediate neighbours which are non-halal.
As such, these food stalls cannot operate as Pepper Lunch anymore. Instead, they changed their branding to Pepper Kitchen.
So if you’re wondering why the Pepper Lunch Express you passed by numerous times is now called Pepper Kitchen…now you know.
The comment also reiterated that “ONLY Pepper Lunch Restaurants and Pepper Lunch Express are Halal.”
The comment also ended with some sliver of hope. If these stalls manage to resolve the issues that prohibit them from getting halal certification or shift to other locations when the lease expire, they may be converted to Pepper Lunch Express (and eventually get the halal certificate).
Long queues at Pepper Lunch today
In other related news, Pepper Lunch outlets islandwide saw long queues after it was announced that they are now MUIS halal certified.
Here are some photos:
It looks like the small confusion is a small dent in Pepper Lunch’s popularity today. If anything, the queues show a huge interest in the brand’s DIY Teppan offerings.
As for this author, he has decided to revisit Pepper Lunch another day when the hype has died down a little.
Till then, it’s perhaps wise to do your own due diligence and look out for the MUIS halal certificate when dining at any eatery, Pepper Lunch or otherwise.