Muthu’s Curry (Little India)
Muthu’s Curry is an Indian dining stalwart, having been around since 1969. “Muthu” means pearl in Tamil, befitting this gem with three other branches serving traditional South Indian cuisine from the Chettinad region. The signature dish here is fish head curry, made using a secret blend of spices created by founder Ayyakkannu S, who wanted a distinctly South Indian take on the dish. Today, his two sons continue their father’s legacy, mixing the proprietary spice blend themselves. Aromatics like fenugreek, cumin, fennel, garlic, red chili, curry leaf, tomatoes, onions and ginger-garlic paste are cooked down for two hours before the secret spice blend is added in. Tamarind pulp and coconut milk give the curry its signature creaminess and bright tang. Finally, sea bream or red snapper fish heads fresh from the market are cooked to order in the gravy.
Na Na Curry
Bukit Merah View Food Centre is a treasure trove of local food offerings and one of its gems is Na Na Curry. On the menu are eight different varieties of curry from fish to mutton with options of white rice or bread to mop up the gravy. The fish head curry features fresh and meaty ang go li (Goldbanded Jobfish) or ang sai (Red Snapper), which hold their texture well when smothered in curry and cooked in large claypots. Chicken curry is a crowd favourite at Na Na Curry, while more unusual varieties like pork rib and mutton curries stand up to their bold spicy gravies as well.
True Blue Cuisine
Located adjacent to the Peranakan Museum on Armenian Street, True Blue Cuisine pays homage to the food, history and customs of the Peranakans. Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine is a unique marriage of Chinese with Malay and Indonesian cuisines, resulting in an exhilarating combination of all things tangy, spicy, herbal and aromatic. Among the heritage dishes on the menu is its Kari Kepala Ikan, or whole fish head curry, which is a Peranakan-style assam-based curry with the sour tang of tamarind.
Zaffron Kitchen (East Coast)
This bright, modern Indian bistro with its metal framed chairs, exposed brick walls and open kitchen may look like a hipster café, but the cooking is decidedly traditional. On the menu is an entire section dedicated to curries: tomatoey Butter Chicken, fenugreek-scented Chicken Methi Malai, Mutton Rogan Josh cooked low and slow, Goan Fish Curry and fish, shrimp and calamari cooked in a fiery seafood vindaloo. Fresh from the tandoor are an array of naans, rotis and parathas to mop up all the curry goodness.
Zai Shun Curry Fish Head
Teochew porridge stalls and zi char places are ubiquitous in Singapore but Zai Shun Curry Fish Head combines the best of both and is the go-to place for residents in the western part of the island and foodies in the know. The secret to the eatery’s famed curry fish head is the owner’s access to the freshest catch of the day. On any good day, you’ll see a wide array of farmed and wild-caught fish on offer, from the more common red grouper, barramundi cod and pomfret to rarer species of fish like giant grouper and Empurau. Wild-caught Red Snapper is used for Zai Shun’s namesake curry fish head (from $25) and the tangy tamarind-tinged gravy is the perfect foil for the fresh, meaty fish.
Founded in the ’90s by a couple passionate about Thai cuisine, this restaurant is spread over three colourful rooms decorated with Thai artefacts. The menu features traditional Thai cuisine as well as Thai-Chinese dishes. Curries are an important part of Thai cuisine and the three main types — red, yellow and green — are identified by the colour of the curry paste. Yhingthai Palace’s spicy and creamy Green Curry is a must-try, with a choice of fish, pork, beef or chicken. The Thai Red Curry comes with a choice of beef, prawns or fish cooked in a fiery homemade red curry paste with round little Thai brinjals and bamboo shoots with a coconut milk finish, while the Southern-style Thai Dry Curry is a fragrant stir-fried alternative.