I was watching a CNA documentary “Hawk This Way” that portrayed snack sellers at hawker centres are having a difficult time this period. Reasons include customers not that inclined to dabao items such as Curry Puff, or do not have time to wait for freshly-fried ones.
Ah, Curry Puffs.
So do lend some support to our Curry Puff sellers, because a lot of effort goes into making one which is much overlooked.
Those deep-fried (some baked) pastries with curried fillings, potatoes and chicken make such as comforting, semi-filling treat. I start with both ends of the crimping, then go towards the centre.
Some of the famous ones around include Epok Epok Central (Eunos Crescent Market & Food Centre), Richie’s Curry Puff, Isha Curry Puff (Circuit Road Food Centre); to the more mass-market brands – Polar Puffs & Cakes, 1A Crispy Puffs, and IKEA.
Yup, IKEA’s Curry Puff ($5 for 5 pc) have been rather popular amongst furniture shoppers who want a quick, hot snack.
Here are 12 of the must-have Curry Puffs in Singapore:
AMK Curry Puff
Block 184 Toa Payoh Central #01-372 Super 28 Coffee Shop Singapore 310184.
Opening Hours: 10am – 8:30pm (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 Swensen’s) and has undergone massive rebranding and expansion.
There are two outlets – one at Toa Payoh Central, the other 722 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8.
AMK Curry Puffs ($1.50 each) 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 behind AMK Curry Puffs is still in the kitchen over-looking the processes. There is always something very attractive when you know it is a grandfather’s original recipe.
Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff
Old Airport Road Food Centre #01-126, 51 Old Airport Road Singapore 390051
Opening Hours: 10am – 3:30pm (Tues – Sun) Or till sold out
The hawker used to be a pastry chef at Pan Pacific’s Hai Tien Lo, and therefore his skills are there.
He went from making Teochew pastries to flaky Curry Puffs of different fillings – Curry, Sardine, Black Pepper Chicken and Yam ($1.40 to $1.60 each).
Take note as the hawkers make them by batches fresh in-stall, certain flavours run out soon.
The Original Curry Chicken Puff is no bluff – crisp skin, curry that has that molten-like texture, and real chunks of juicy chicken (not the dry-dry type).
The Black Pepper Chicken Puff ($1.60) was a surprise find, get a piping-hot one, and it would be almost life-changing.
Er Jie Curry Puff
Golden Mile Tower, Beach Road B1-62 Singapore 199589
Opening Hours: 3:30pm – 6:30pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat – Sun
This non-descript curry puff stall at the basement of Golden Mile Tower has attracted many to head down for a bite of this popular local snack. It has also opened another branch at ARC360 Jalan Besar.
Er Jie makes only a limited quantity by hand and deep-fried using two small fryers, I would recommend coming earlier if you really want to try.
Priced at $1.60 each, a puff is not considered huge and rather on the small side, but is packed with ingredients. (There are other flavours of Luncheon, Sardine or Otah from $1.60 to $2.00 each).
The outer layer was beautifully golden-yellow and crispy, yet not too oily.
After taking a bite, I loved that steaming hot fillings with soft potatoes and chunks of chicken.
You would notice that the chicken pieces are not marinated in curry, so as to retain its taste and that every piece would have a fixed amount of meat within.
Soon Soon Huat Curry Puff
220 East Coast Road Singapore 428917
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 5pm (Tues – Fri, Sun), 7:30am – 5:30pm (Sat), Closed Mon
The founders of this shop used to sell curry puffs called Soon Soon Huat 1A Crispy Curry Puff at Blk 1A Eunos Crescent.
Though their Curry Chicken Puff at $1.80 is slightly on the expensive side, it is understandable as they have a stand-alone shop now (order kopi and teh to go along).
If you like your puffs with those clear spirals and buttery flavours, then this is for you. There would be this lovely multi-layered texture and crisp, with puffs all hand-made fresh.
The most delightful parts were the potatoes inside, soft and cubic, wrapped in this delightful moist-spicy paste.
Fong’s Dee Curry Puff
Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre #01-31, 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448
Opening Hours: 6am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
When you walk past this stall at Clementi 448 Food Centre, you may not even suspect that it is famous for Curry Puffs because it serves just about many other items.
The Curry Puffs ($1.30) are freshly deep-fried, and often get sold out early.
I would recommend eating this when they are fresh out, as they don’t last as well (meaning not as fragrant and crisp) as some of the other brands.
They may be small but pack a punch of moist spicy potatoes, chicken and egg. The skin could be less thick though.
Each puff is full of liao (ingredients) like a bomb. Flavours are robust and distinct.
6 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, Tanjong Pagar Food Centre #02-16, Singapore 081006
Opening hours: 9am – 2pm (Sun – Mon), Closed Tues
If Fong’s Dee Curry Puff is a bomb, then Rolina’s is a small compact bomb. Rolina is also the 2nd curry puff stall in Singapore to be awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
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.
The cutesy bite-sized Hainanese curry puff ($1.80) was about two-thirds the size of an Old Chang Kee. The Sardine option is also quite popular.
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.
Some may find this on the expensive side due to its price, but on the flipside I also liked its compactness and packed fillings. Rolina Traditional Hainanese Curry Puffs (Tanjong Pagar)
J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-21, 7 Maxwell Road Singapore 069111 (Tanjong Pagar MRT Exit G)
Opening Hours: 8am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun, PH
The first (and other) curry puff in Singapore listed in the Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide.
Costing $1.40, could this be the cheapest Michelin Bib Gourmand food in the world?
Also known as J2 Crispy Curry Puff, this comes with layered flaky pastry and spicy potato, black pepper chicken, sardine and yam paste fillings.
The J2 puffs are freshly hand-made in the stall, deep-fried in a big wok of oil, and the aroma and sound of cracking oil made it all more tempting.
My advice: EAT IT while it is still hot.
Though when I brought some home and consumed after an hour or two, they still remained quite crisp. J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff (Amoy Street Food Centre)
Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs
Hong Lim Food Center #02-36, 531A Upper Cross Street Singapore 069184
Opening Hours: 7am – 2pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
The taste of the good old days. Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs can be slightly hard to find, located at the corner unit of the popular Hong Lim Food Centre.
They serve up 3 types of Crispy Puffs – Potato Chicken & Egg, Potato Sardine & Egg, and Fish Otah. Each is priced at $1.80
The skin belonged to the flaky type, very layered and tasting almost like you are having a croissant.
There was a delightful crisp, but it was the fillings that won me over – savoury, moist and fragrant.
Yong Kee Curry Puff
#01-02 590 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574419
Tel: +65 9842 6019
Opening Hours: 7am – 3pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
This is another family stall with homemade currypuff goodness and flavors. The stall is helmed by Mr Lim Meng Kuang and his wife, who used to make dim sum and puffs for their friends and received good reviews.
They start the preparations every morning as early as 5am, using fresh ingredients and preparing the filling with special care and love for devoted customers.
You may see a small queue forming early in the morning.
A Chicken Curry Puff goes at $1.30 per piece. What people would like is the buttery crispiness of the skin, and it has quite a not-so-predictable spicy filling of potatoes and chicken.
The puffs are on the thinner side though, so perhaps I wished they were packed fuller.
Lagoon Chicken Curry Puff
East Coast Lagoon Food Village #01-28, 1220 East Coast Parkway Singapore 468960
Opening Hours: 12pm – 8pm (Sun – Mon), Closed Tues
Another classic, but take note that this stall is always closed as uncle needs to take a break.
This Lagoon Chicken Curry Puff ($1.50) has a similar style to Katong’s, with a slightly thicker but butter dough.
The handmade puffs have fillings which taste more sambal than curry, and you can actually see small bits of chilli within.
Killiney Curry Puff
93 Killiney Rd, Singapore 239536
Tel: +65 6736 2011
Opening Hours: 9am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
If this was the Killiney Curry Puff in the good old days (say 10 years ago), I would have put it Top 3 straight away.
Somehow, they decided to go more commercial, and the curry puff lost its signature handmade crimping – which was quite an essential part.
I really liked their Curry Puffs ($1.60, or have they increased price again) – used to be handmade and filled with chunky pieces of chicken.
They have shrunk in size after rebranding, but well, still a good enough street snack due to its aromatic and mildly spicy fillings that could be quite addictive.
Old Chang Kee Coffee House – various locations
Including 19-23 Mackenzie Road #01-01, Singapore 228678
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Thurs), 10am – 10pm (Fri – Sat), 10am – 9pm (Sun)
This is probably Singapore’s most well-known Curry Puff.
The Halal-certified Old Chang Kee is famous for their hot crispy curry puffs with chicken chunk fillings, and golden-yellow snacks on sticks.
Incidentally, the Michelin Guide Singapore listed Old Chang Kee as “5 of The Top Curry Puff Picks in Singapore”. The Singapore snack chain has also made its European debut at London’s Covent Garden.
The fillings made of zesty curried potatoes, chicken chunks, slices of boiled eggs and spices, still make it a perhaps-predictable and comforting treat. The taste of growing-up days.
Plus, they always introduce those funky flavours once in a while. Old Chang Kee (Paya Lebar)
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