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Home / The Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge / The Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge: Wrap-Up
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The Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge: Wrap-Up
By Alfred October 12, 2009
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The Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge: Wrap-Up

The Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge

15 plates of Hainanese Curry Rice, 30 days and 2 inches added to my waistline later, it’s time to wrap up the Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge series.

Here, you get to see from a Bird’s-eye view, where to go for the best Hainanese pork chop, where to go for the best Hainanese stewed cabbage, where to go for the best Hainanese lor bak and the Hainanese curry too.

And of course, I might had missed out some Hainanese curry rice stalls, some of which are quietly making a difference behind the scene but these 15 stalls that I reviewed should be able to keep Hainanese curry rice aficionados busy for a while.

For visitors to Singapore, not to worry as the locations of all the stalls are immortalised in Alfredeats.com Google Maps application.

Why this challenge?

The generation of our grandparents or great-grandparents is regarded widely to be the age of migration. Those were the days when Europeans leave their homes to come all the way to Asia to do some trading and who haven’t heard of the ‘British East India Company’?

It’s during those periods that a lot of foreigners were recruited to work onboard ships. Among them are the Hainanese Chinese who developed their culinary skills on the job and thereafter introduced to this part of the world, Asian-inspired western food and some of which are Hainanese Western Food, Hainanese Toast, Hainanese Pork Chop and the Hainanese Curry Rice.

Curry, which is foreign to the Chinese palate were first introduced to Chinese people around the Clarke Quay area which were the centre of trade in those days. The popularity grew and back then, to eat curry rice from the Hainanese is as common sense as eating sushi from the Japanese today.

The legacy remains. Today, there are only a handful of Hainanese Curry Rice stalls around the island and though they all shared a common starting point, the flavours of the curry rice in all the stalls have evolved differently. This Hainanese Curry Rice challenge is here to reflect the diverse Hainanese curry rice flavours though derived from some common history.

The Hainanese Curry Rice Data Table

Part
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Stall Name
Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice
Traditional Hainanese Curry Rice
Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice
Jia Xiang Hai Nan Curry Rice
Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice
Havelock Hainanese Curry Rice
Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice
Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice
Chew Feng Hainanese Curry Rice
Red Hill Curry Rice
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice
Zhong Guo Jie Jia Li Fan
Red Sea Curry Rice
Sin Chie Tok Huan Hainanese Curry Rice
Whampoa Market Curry Rice
Location
Tiong
Bahru
Kallang
Bukit
Merah
Whampoa
Bendemeer
Sims
Place
Beo
Crescent
Pasir
Panjang
Boon Keng
Red Hill
Jalan
Besar
Maxwell Road
Upper
Thomson
Hougang
Whampoa
Open For
Breakfast
Lunch
Lunch
Dinner
All
Lunch
Dinner
Lunch
Dinner
Lunch
Dinner
Breakfast
Lunch
Breakfast
Lunch
Lunch
Dinner
Lunch
Dinner
All
All
Lunch
Dinner
Supper
Breakfast
Closed
Alternate Thurs
N/A
Alternate Tues
N/A
N/A
Wed
Wed
Holiday
Wed
Sunday
N/A
N/A
Wed
N/A
Monday
Die die must order item
Lor bak & pork chop
Pork chop, cabbage & minced pork
Pork chop & lor bak
Fried meatballs and pork chop
None
Pork chop, lor bak, pork curry & sotong
Pork chop, lor bak, pork curry & sotong
Lor bak, pork chop and sotong
Lor bak and pork chop
Fried meatball, braised beancurd & pork chop
Pork chop, cabbage, lor bak and fried meatroll
Minced meat, cabbage and pork chop
Meatball, fried chicken, mutton curry & sotong
None
Cabbage, lor bak, pork chop & sotong
Authenticity
7.0
8.5
9.0
7.5
6.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.5
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
Overall
7.0
7.5
7.5
7.3
6.8
7.3
7.3
7.8
7.3
7.5
7.8
7.5
7.8
6.8
7.8

Conclusion

It is easy to spot a really authentic Hainanese Curry Rice stall. Those that serve you with many kinds of gravy usually have a long history. And these are also the stalls that have queues. Most of the time, they are also operating at odd hours like early in the morning and it’s really a Hainanese thing.

Most of the good ones have other branches like Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice, Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice, Havelock Hainanese Curry Rice and of course many different versions of Scissors Cut across the island.

The outstanding ones for me has got to be Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice at Pasir Panjang and Curry Rice at Whampoa Market. Both are comparable to my favourite which is Scissors Cut at Jalan Besar. Red Sea Curry Rice is also outstanding though the flavour there is slightly different from the other 3.

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, Beo Cresent Hainanese Curry Rice and Sin Chie Tok Huan Hainanese Curry have good reputation but just can’t do it for me somehow. The curry is strange for me at Loo’s and Beo Crescent while at Sin Chie Tok Huan, the flavours of everything are pretty weak.

Sin Chie Tok Huan and Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice are the only stalls I would avoid while I would go to Jia Xiang Hai Nan Curry Rice, Red Hill Curry Rice and Red Sea Curry Rice for fried meatballs.

The outstanding lor bak for me is at Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice, Chew Feng Hainanese Curry Rice and Whampoa Market Curry Rice.

For stewed cabbage with a strong Hainanese flavour, I would still go to Scissors Cut at Jalan Besar though Traditional Hainanese Curry Rice and Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice were also quite good. Otherwise at Whampoa Market Curry Rice, the stewed cabbage also impressed me though it lacks a bit of crunchiness as it is stewed to really soft texture.

The most authentic Pork Chop is at Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice. The gravy is so shiok that it’s comparable to Hainanese Western Food’s gravy. At Scissors Cut, it’s the only place that serves pork chop in braised form. Whampoa Market Curry Rice is the only other stall that put gravy on their pork chop though the gravy there is a little too sweet for my liking.

So there you go, Hainanese Curry Rice may have a common starting point but it is vast in terms of flavour and authenticity. Transport issues aside, Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice at Pasir Panjang, Curry Rice at Whampoa Market or Scissors Cut at Jalan Besar is where you want to go to if you ever need a cure for your Hainanese Curry Rice fever.

Some Quick Facts

  • Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice at Pasir Panjang and Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice at Teban Garden are the only stalls in the west.
  • Havelock Hainanese Curry Rice at Sims Place and Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice at Beo Crescent are related.
  • Traditional Hainanese curry Rice at Old Airport Road and Zhong Guo Jie Jia Li Fan at Maxwell Road are related.
  • Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice and Whampoa Market Curry Rice are the only 2 stalls that serve pork chop with gravies.
  • Red Sea Curry Rice, Red Hill Curry Rice and Jia Xiang Hai Nan Curry Rice are the only 3 stalls that serve fried meatballs.
  • Red Sea Curry Rice is the only stall that serves mutton curry(only Monday and Wednesday)
  • Havelock Hainanese Curry Rice and Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice are the only 2 that serves pork curry.
  • Queues were long at Sin Chie Tok Huan Hainanese Curry Rice, Zhong Guo Jie Jia Li Fan, Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice and Whampoa Market Curry Rice.
  • If you like curries that are gooey in texture, go to Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice, Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice, Scissors Cut Curry Rice, Whampoa Market Curry Rice, Zhong Guo Jie Jia Li Fan or Traditional Hainanese Curry Rice.
  • Most of the stalls close during midweek except Red Hill Curry Rice which closes on a Sunday.
  • Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice and Sin Chie Tok Huan Hainanese Curry Rice(apparently also in Hougang) are the only 2 stalls I won’t visit again.
  • Red Sea Curry Rice only opens for 2-3 hours a day.
  • If you want a fix in the middle of the night, Sin Chie Tok Huan or Scissors Cut is where you should go.
  • The stall that opens earliest is Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice at 4am daily except public holiday.
  • The most expensive Hainanese Curry rice meal for me was at Red Sea Curry Rice though it came with mutton and sotong.
  • The cheapest meal for me was at Traditional Hainanese Curry Rice at Old Airport Road.
  • If I can make my dream Hainanese Curry Rice, it would be gravy from Scissors Cut, pork chop from Havelock Hainanese Curry Rice, stewed cabbage from Whampoa Market Curry Rice, fried meatballs from Red Sea Curry Rice and pork belly aka lor bak from Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice.
  • The Hainanese Curry Rice Challenge Series

    Part 1: Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice (Tiong Bahru)
    Part 2: Traditional Hainanese Curry Rice (Kallang)
    Part 3: Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice (Bukit Merah)
    Part 4: Jia Xiang Hai Nan Curry Rice (Whampoa)
    Part 5: Hougang Hainanese Curry Rice (Bendemeer)
    Part 6: Havelock Hainanese Curry Rice (Sims Place)
    Part 7: Hainanese Curry Rice (Beo Crescent)
    Part 8: Feng Kee Hainanese Curry Rice (P. Panjang)
    Part 9: Chew Feng Hainanese Curry Rice (B. Keng)
    Part 10: Red Hill Curry Rice (Red Hill)
    Part 11: Scissors Cut Curry Rice (Jalan Besar)
    Part 12: Zhong Guo Jie Jia Li Fan (Maxwell Road)
    Part 13: Red Sea Curry Rice (Upper Thomson)
    Part 14: Sin Chie Tok Huan (Hougang)
    Part 15: Whampoa Market Curry Rice (Whampoa)



    Trackbacks & Pingbacks

    Readers' Comment(s) : 17
    Si says:

    i luv curries wiv rice! but Singapore is too far away :(

    Posted October 12, 2009
    Vannese says:

    Noticed that you didn’t blog about hai nan char siew which is popular at beo crescent.

    Posted October 12, 2009
    Kuan says:

    The most memorable Hainanese Curry Rice I had when I was a little boy at Jalan Kukoh. Whenever I visited that place with my parents or grandparents, we always had Hainanese Curry Rice. The closest 2 are located at Pasir Panjang Hawker Centre and Beo Crescent.

    Posted October 13, 2009
    Alfred says:

    Didn’t look appetising. Good ah?

    Posted October 14, 2009
    Alfred says:

    Where exactly in Jalan Kukoh? It’s near tiong bahru right?

    Posted October 14, 2009
    Steve Wu says:

    How could you miss out on Yu Kee Hainanese Curry Rice at Telok Blangah blk 65? They are my fav!

    Posted October 15, 2009
    Alfred says:

    Never heard of, what’s good there?

    Posted October 15, 2009
    Moon says:

    There is one at hougang call Midnite curry but they only open at midnight so very inconvenient to eat.

    Posted October 16, 2009
    Alfred says:

    That stall has changed hands already. I went there and couldn’t bring myself to have a meal. It just look like any other zhap chai peng stall…..

    Posted October 16, 2009
    Ray says:

    Wow good job, there is also a jian dao jian in Geylang.

    Posted October 22, 2009
    Alfred says:

    I heard that stall isn’t very good, how did u find it?

    Posted October 25, 2009
    Melanie says:

    Nice review!

    Posted November 9, 2009
    Red says:

    There is a famous stall at AMK near blk 700++ you miss

    Posted November 28, 2009
    Alfred says:

    Is it in the market?

    Posted December 2, 2009
    steven says:

    Hi, anyone have any idea where can find a cafe which wide range of Hainanese dishes?

    Posted April 20, 2011
    Elyse says:

    My fav curry rice is also the hidden gem located in blk 65 telok blangah drive. Their pork chop, sambal sotong n prawns are my fav! Must try!!! *Slurp slurp*

    Posted September 25, 2011
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