Singaporeans once had a huge debate on social media on what the BEST CURRY PUFF in Singapore should be. Polar? Old Chang Kee? Well, to set the record straight, I love them all – to varying degrees of course.
Then you know how these crispy spicy puffs play such an important part in our lives.
I invited Chef-owner of Wild Rocket Willin Low, self-proclaimed curry puff fanatic, creator of hashtag #thecurrypuffincident on Instagram to suss out Some Of The Must-Try Curry Puffs in Singapore.
In addition to that, if the owner of the stall happens to be there, we gave them a ‘Curry Puff T-shirt’ (designed by Willin).
While we managed to only track down the owners of Katong and AMK curry puffs, the look of delight they had on their faces when they received tee-shirts imprinted with curry puffs was priceless. Uncle at AMK Puffs literally hopped with joy. (Thank you for the thoughtfulness Willin.)
Three additional notes:
– We did not include some other styles of curry puffs, such as the baked crusted, Malay epok epok, sardine-filled ones to maintain consistency. So the following five are mainly Hainanese style puffs.
– This list is in no way undermining the guide that Straits Times did. We had this idea quite coincidentally some time back already.
– They are not ranked in any particular order.
Katong Chicken Curry Puff
Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre, 84 Marine Parade Central Singapore 440084
Opening Hours: 8am – 4:30pm (Tues-Sun), Closed Mon and till sold out
“The crust is a star in its own right,” and Willin said he almost always buys 5 at a go. When we took a bite of its filling, it was flavoursome yet milder in spiciness than the usual.
1975. 40 years in the business. Owners Mr Koh said that he picked up skills from his father, who sold curry puffs on his bicycle parked outside Roxy Square and Odeon Katong. His late father insisted on not changing the recipe, and the family stood by it.
The curry is freshly made every day using evaporated milk instead of coconut milk, because that would be healthier, and not spoil easily. 22 ingredients go into the base, little sugar and MSG are used, and small batches are made at each time. This is persistence to the craft.
Lagoon Chicken Curry Puff
East Coast Lagoon Food Village #01-28, 1220 East Coast Parkway Singapore 468960
Opening Hours: 1-9pm (Sun-Mon), Closed Tues
Another classic, but take note that this stall is always closed as uncle needs to take a break. Willin commented that this Lagoon puff has a similar style to Katong’s. “The dough is so good I just want to have more”.
The handmade puffs have fillings which taste more sambal than curry, and you can actually see small bits of chilli within.
AMK Curry Puff
Block 184 Toa Payoh Central #01-372 Super 28 Coffee Shop Singapore 310184.
Opening Hours: 10am – 8pm (or till sold out)
Many would have questions of the difference between AMK Curry Puff and Tip Top. The latter has entered into a venture with ABR Holdings (which manages Swensens) and has undergone massive rebranding and expansion.
Then there is AMK Curry Puff. The owner Mr Leo was previously a shareholder of Tip Top (and won’t tell more about the details.)
Their puffs are delicately done, with ribbons thin and crispy. The fillings are robust, spicy, full of flavours containing chicken pieces and part of a hard-boiled egg.
The old Mr Leo is still in the kitchen over-looking the processes. Willin smiled, “There is always something very attractive when you know it is a grandfather’s original recipe.”
Fong’s Dee Curry Puff
Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre #01-31, 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448
Opening Hours: 6am – 6pm Daily
The puffs are freshly deep-fried, and often get sold out early. They may be small but pack a punch of moist spicy potatoes, chicken and egg. (The skin could be less thick though.)
Willin describes that each puff is full of liao (ingredients) like a bomb. Flavours are robust and distinct. “After I eat one, I just want to have another”.
6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-16, Tanjong Pagar Food Centre
Opening hours: 8am – 4pm
Other branch at 49A Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre, 01-33
If Fong’s Dee Curry Puff is a bomb, then Rolina’s is a small compact bomb.
Rolina has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a roadside stall set up by owner Mr Han outside Novena Church more than 50 years ago. Regulars have often mispronounced these as “Novena Curry Puffs” in the past. Novena -> Rovena -> Rolina. The name Rolina stuck.
This is one curry puff that could blow your senses away. The cutesy bite-sized Hainanese curry puff was about two-thirds the size of a Chang Kee. It was tightly packed and full of goodness. Within its thin buttery skin, were plenty pieces of soft cubic potatoes in a curry paste and hard-boiled egg.
But both Willin and I agree… that we must eat those that Uncle Han make (no offence to the other workers.) because he puts his heart to making each and every one of them.
J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-21, 7 Maxwell Road Singapore 069111 (Tanjong Pagar MRT Exit G)
Opening Hours: 8am – 4pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun, PH
The only curry puff in Singapore listed in the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide 2016.
Also known as J2 Crispy Curry Puff, this comes with layered flaky pastry and spicy potato, black pepper chicken, sardine and yam paste fillings.
Each at $1.20. Chef Willin Low recommends the sardine ones, “One of the best around”.
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