It’s no doubt that the Singaporean flavour in hawker centres is a beautiful mix of various traditions and influences. One of the most prominent influences on the local food culture comes from the Hainanese tradition. Of course, everyone would know about the Hainanese Chicken Rice and all its goodness. However, the one dish that holds a special place in the hearts of many Singaporeans is the unbeatable Hainanese Curry Rice.
Hainanese Curry Rice is a dish that looks like an absolute mess on the plate but tastes even more delicious than it is ugly. An upgrade from your regular economic rice, it leaves you wanting more with its sweet, sticky and gooey gravy packed full of flavour that always sends your tastebuds raving for more.
Here at City Nomads, we have dutifully collated 5 stalls that will satisfy your hunger for such gastronomic ecstasy:
China Street Hainanese Curry Rice at Maxwell Food Centre
One of the most go-to stalls for authentic Hainanese flavours, the crowd here goes crazy for the pork chop that has had its crispy skin soaked in the bold flavours of Hainanese curry gravy. The curry is served in excess, drenching your entire plate in more-ish curry flavours. You know that a stall serves great curry rice when you don’t need to pick extravagant dishes to go with it – a simple order of fried eggs, with a serving of fried pork or fish or even plain old sardine in spicy sauce with the absolutely delicious Chap Chye (stewed cabbage) and a serving of rice would be enough impetus for a second, third, forth, fifth… or tenth visit. Folks working in the area will soon be finding yourselves at this joint for lunch frequently.
Top tip: Instead of spending your booze money on expensive sliders and chic restaurants all the time, consider having a simple dinner here before heading up to Club Street for a drink or two, which is just a slope up from the entrance nearest to the stall.
China Street Hainanese Curry Rice is located at Maxwell Food Centre, 1, Kadayanallur Street, #01-68, Singapore, 069184. Opening hours are Saturday – Thursday: 11.30am – 7.30pm.
Long Xiang Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice at Bendemeer Market and Food Centre
This stall is one of the most easily spotted joints in this enormous food centre thanks to the massive queue of foodies craving a good lunch but fear not for its manned by four good women, who systematically deal with the lunch queue so efficiently that customers don’t ever find it to be much of a problem.
The Hainanese curry served here will be most liked by folks who have a thing for Hainanese curries that are a little more salty than sweet. As expected, the pork chop is the most sought-after dish along with the Chap Chye. This stall offers a wider variety of dishes for you to choose from and these women have a knack of cooking the dishes just so giving them an overall freshness that keeps you wanting more.
Long Xiang Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice is located at #01-59, Bendemeer Market and Food Centre, 29 Bendemeer Road, Singapore, 330029. Opening hours are variable but open most days for lunch and dinner.
Hong Seng Curry Rice at Redhill Food Centre
One of the best-known stalls in the neighbourhood, the curry served here is a little more on the spicy side, giving it an extra push and making the whole plate even more irresistible. For folks who like it a little hot, this is the stall for you. Instead of the usual regular fried eggs, they also serves up good slices of Chye-Poh Neng (pickled radish omelette). If the spiciness in the curry is not satisfying enough, order up some perfectly cooked squid served in a spicy sauce with onions.
Noisy in the mornings, by afternoon it quietens down enough to have lunch on your own. Grab a satisfying and quiet late lunch here in the afternoon with a cup of fresh soy milk, then head over to Tiong Bahru for a cup of coffee, a slice of cake and some light reading – a good plan for a relaxing day.
Hong Seng Curry Rice is located at 85, Redhill Lane, #01-74, Singapore, 150085. Opening hours are Monday – Wednesday: 11am – 11pm. Friday – Sunday: 11am – 11pm.
New Scissor-Cut Curry Rice at Geylang Lorong 35
Serving a well-known style of Hainanese curry rice, the name comes from pair of scissors used by a skilled server to cut up big pieces of meat (or squid) before serving the customer’s plate.
Sitting in a quiet little corner off the chaotic streets of Geylang, you can spot it by the bold signboards that bare the stall’s name, just off Lorong 35. For those who don’t really fancy curries, this joint also offers a signature dark sauce as a gravy for your plate. Otherwise, the curry served is also good for those who don’t take spiciness well, being comparatively mild and less gooey without compromising on flavour. So if you prefer a less sticky texture to your curry, this is a place to visit.
New Scissor-Cut Curry Rice is located at 669, Geylang Road, Singapore, 389596. Opening hours are variable but open most days for lunch and dinner.
Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice at Jalan Besar
This joint checks all the boxes for authenticity. Albeit a little hard to find for the non-drivers, the food is guaranteed to be worth the circles you’ll walk in (top tip: it’s straight down and a right-turn from Lavender MRT Station.)
The curry is how it should be – thick and sticky but not overpowering in taste with a spiciness level that is suited for all. The naturally strong curry flavours are balanced with a drizzle of black sauce on each plate making it flavourful but not overwhelming. Their signature Black Pork Chop sells out in an instant, and everyone just loves the fragrant braised pork belly. They also serve prawns encased in thick jackets of delicious fried batter, and the Chap Chye served here is phenomenal.
Open till the wee hours of 3am, it’s the perfect place to have the heaviest, most guilt-laden supper. Come down with your pack, order a load of plates and have a gigantic feast.
Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice is located at 229, Jalan Besar, Singapore, 208905. Opening hours are Monday – Sunday: 11am – 03:30am.