This article was first published in The Malay Mail. Click HERE to read it.
Hainanese Curry Rice feast at Beo Crescent Block #40
One of the most recognisable street food in Singapore that’s not easily found across the Straits in Malaysia is the Hainanese curry rice; something which I was not accustomed to back when I was growing up in Ipoh. I first had my taste of the rice with its ensemble of dishes about a decade ago around Port Klang, where the tradition still lives in renewed and reimagined ventures.
What transpired from the Hainanese folks’ high learning agility and creativity in adopting various culinary influences, from the Western-inspired pork and chicken chops to meddling (albeit to some degree of considerable success) of the Peranakan curries, the Hainanese curry rice was believed to be a poor man’s fuel to stave off hunger pangs.
In the earlier days, Hainanese curry rice peddlers used to roam the streets of Singapore. Their dishes were somewhat imaginative yet limited; the selection largely limited to the ubiquitous batter-coated pork chops (authenticity matters here, some still use crumbled cream crackers, while most stick to bread crumbs), boiled to a softened pulp cabbage aka ‘chap chye’, fried egg with a dash of dark soy sauce, and a few curry dishes (remember the Peranakan or possibly Malay/Indian influences?).
Fast forward a few decades later and the tradition still lives on with quite a handful of these ambitious and enduring start-ups still being run by the original proprietors or at least, the passionate next generation youngsters. One of the more popular Hainanese curry rice stalls in Singapore still remains nameless even after 25 years in business; located in an equally nondescript coffee shop named Ho Pin Hng at Block 40 Beo Crescent (HDB flats). Read the rest of this entry »