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Dec 18, 2008 01:59 AM

Curry Puffs in Singapore

Any advice for finding the best curry puffs within the limits of public transporation? The last time my mother and I were in Singapore, we bought some curry puffs from a woman near Chinatown--she was a street vendor, probably selling without a license (she literally had a little box set up on the sidewalk), and my mother loved them, especially the sardine ones.

I know Old Chang Kee has been recommended, but it has mixed reviews. I found a blog post about Novelty Crispy Curry Puff at Blk 19 Toa Payoh Lorong 7, but it seems to be a bit far from the SMRT (although if there's a bus that goes nearby, we could probably handle that). I could go on my own to pick some up, but I don't think my mother could make the walk. I'd prefer flakey layered dough like NCCP has (old-style puffs).

Are there any other recommedations out there? Looking primarily for sardine for my mother, but I prefer more standard fare (potato, chicken).

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  1. I will suggest you stick to Old Chang Kee; it has many outlets and most convenient for most. I don't think the difference is so great that you want to travel a distance just for curry puff. There is one stall (I can't remember the name) opposite the Old Rex Theatre that is pretty good but I have not been there for many years so not even sure if it is still there. Another well know one in Ang Mo Kio, but again it is just too far for tourists.

    5 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      This blogger has actually reviewed 8 or 9 curry puffs from different stalls. You may want to read it:

      1. re: FourSeasons

        Nope, it's not too far :-) . I was a tourist and I went there. But I have been a repeated visitor and the street "scenery" between the Merlion and Chinatown gets boring quickly. I like exploring Ang Mo Kio, Novena and other "suburban" areas. Food would be a perfect excuse.

        1. re: shengtang

          As long as the stall isn't too far from any kind of public transportation stop, then no place is too far! Which stall in Ang Mo Kio? The same one kyleoh mentions down below?

          1. re: prasantrin

            It probably is the same stall, prasantrin. Tip Top at Ang Mo Kio's been there for yonks, and is pretty much an Ang Mo Kio icon where curry puffs are concerned. It's only 5-10 minutes walk from the Ang Mo Kio MRT station.

            1. re: klyeoh

              Thanks! We had Old Chang Kee last night. My mother liked the casing of their curry puffs better than that of the random lady from our last visit. She really liked the sardine, and preferred it to the potato (I was of the opposite opinion, but didn't really care for the potato filling, either). I loved the fried pineapple pie (can't remember the name) so much that my mother didn't get to try it. She was taking a nap while I ate it, so too bad for her!

              I tried to get the 1A last night--I was at Central and noticed a sign saying there was a 1A stall in the basement. I walked around and around, and saw no such stall. I guess it has already closed. That place is dead!

              Off to Chinatown this morning. Hopefully Hong Lim is open, since Maxwell Road is not. Will look for more curry puffs there. I was hoping Sin Lee would be open tonight, but I'm thinking Monday might be a typical closing day for places around Chinatown. Will pass by and check, anyway.

      2. My personal favourite is 1A Curry Puffs (branches everywhere) - absolutely crisp-skinned. Their sardine version is also delicious. They have a stall at the Basement 2 foodcourt of Takashimaya Dept Store in Ngee Ann City, Orchard Rd.

        1 Reply
        1. re: klyeoh

          1A is my favorite too. Whenever I am there, I always go and get a few. I like the traditional curry ones, but my 5 year old adores the sardine ones!

        2. Thanks! I looked at ieatishootipost's blog. Wang Wang, Ritchie's, and the "original" 1A are the ones most like what I'm looking for--it's those layers of dough, very similar to traditional Filipino empanada, but they're all in very inconvient locations. I've added Old Chang Kee and the chain 1A to my google maps, so we have those options!

          1. Loved the ones at Wong Kee in Geylang, but it's been several years.

            1 Reply
            1. re: limster

              Oh yes, that's the one near Aljunied MRT station right? I can only think of one place which makes curry puffs similar to Wong Kee's, and that's Ang Mo Kio's Tip Top at Block 722 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8. But the owner's cold demeanour & brash attitude can be a turn-off.

            2. Am in KL right now, but managed to try several curry puffs yesterday in Singapore. So far, Tanglin Curry Puffs at Hong Lim are the winner. By the time we got there (maybe 3 or 4pm), they only had sardine left. I hate sardine curry puffs, but my mother loves them so I got one for her. I tried it, and it was very very good! Perfectly spiced, not too tomatoey (the reason I don't like sardine curry puffs is because of the tomato sauce), and the crust was flakey yet had a good bite to it.

              1A's crust is flakey, but almost too much so and it crumbles like shortcrust when you bite into it. No substance.

              OCK is number 2 so far for sardine curry puffs, but I had a potato curry puff from a little cart at Pearl Court (?) that was my number 2.

              When I return to Singapore I'll go earlier to Tanglin and try the other flavours. I think they only have yam, chicken, and sardine--no potato. (I think Tanglin is what was referred to as Ritchie's in the ieatishootipost blog--there was only one curry puff place in Hong Lim, and the sign said Tanglin).

              Hopefully will get out to Tip Top upon returning, too.

              10 Replies
              1. re: prasantrin

                Hi prasantrin, I was in KL over the X'mas long weekend (lesser risk going there than Bangkok). You may want to check out Homi Chicken Curry Puff shop at the Gardens Mall (Mid Valley) Lot LG-K-13A, Lower Ground Floor. Crisp pastry, quite tasty, though the potato filling is a bit too mushy for my taste.

                1. re: klyeoh

                  I think we're headed there today! It's one of the few places my hotel's shuttle goes to... Hoping Sage is open for lunch now, too; since we're going all the way out there, we can kill two birds with one stone!

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Late report, I know, but we did get some curry puffs from Homi. The crust was very good, but I didn't care for the filling too much. There was too much cumin or some other spice that I'm not overly fond of. We got some that were fresh out of the fryer, and they were very very greasy. Judging by the colour of the oil pooling from the draining curry puffs, they needed to change their frying oil.

                    So in terms of rankings, I would my puffs in the following order:

                    Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs (at Hong Lim)
                    random cart at Pearl Centre (?)
                    Muslim Nasi Pedang stall at People's Park(?)
                    Ci Yan (organic and vegetarian--need I say more?)

                    Next time I'm in Singapore, I want to try a place called Rex's that a taxi driver told us about. I think it might be the same place FourSeasons mentions is across the Old Rex Theatre. And I'll get to Tip Top next time, too. Unfortunately, I got quite sick near the end of my trip, so I wasn't in the mood to travel too far for food.

                    Thanks everyone for the help!

                    1. re: prasantrin

                      Wow...I think you eat more curry puffs than Singaporeans do...

                      1. re: FourSeasons

                        I was on a curry puff quest, so it had to be done! We brought some Tanglin puffs back to Japan, too, but I was pretty sick of curry puffs by then, so I don't think I ate any.

                        Next time I might do a laksa quest. We didn't get any laksa in Singapore or in KL this time, so we'll have to make a concerted effort to eat more of it next time.

                        1. re: prasantrin

                          Good idea, next time you come, post a laksa thread, we will try to help you, I know a few good ones. But just a warning, laksa, with its coconut milt, is bad for cholesterol. And you can never pack it back to Japan.

                      2. re: prasantrin

                        Does the 1A curry puff have that wonderful spiral-layered crust? The curry puff I'm thinking of was in the basement of Takashimaya, and all they sold were various types of curry puffs with that scrumptious crisp pastry much like the empanada from Bacolod in the Philippines. I've spent an obscene amount of time wondering how they get their crusts in such orderly layers. . .

                        1. re: pilinut

                          Yes, but it's not really like the ones from Silay. It's not a crispy substantial kind of layered pastry, but almost more like a crumbly layered pastry.

                          The closest I found to the ones like Silay were from KL at Homi Chicken puffs. They needed to change their oil, though, and the filling wasn't great. Tanglin wasn't was more crispy flakey, but the puffs didn't have nearly as many layers as the Silay ones.

                          BTW, my mother brought some Silay puffs to Manila for a cousin and an aunt, but none for me! It's OK, though, because I really like the crust, but the filling is much much too sweet for my tastes. She talked to the maker once, and the woman told her caul fat was the key to the layers.

                          I think this is a pic of the 1A puff

                            1. re: prasantrin

                              Yes, that's it! How I miss those Asian empanadas--both the crumbly and the crisp. I haven't found either in the Bay Area. As for the too sweet Silay empanadas, I think that in the past few decades there has been a tendency for food to get sweeter and sweeter. I remember the Bacocold empandas as savory, with the sweetness supplied by the raisins, not by sugar in the meat.