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1A Crispy Curry Puff: The original 1A is not the 1A you know!

With Damien

I am sure that when you see this type of multilayered curry puff, you would immediately think of 1A curry puffs right? This very unique and indeed very Singaporean snack can now be found in many shopping centres around the island. But did you know that there are really two 1A curry puffs in Singapore? There is one which operates all the franchise stalls in Singapore, then there is another one which is still operated by a feisty old grandma in Henderson. Guess which one came first?

This is yet another one of those copycat hawker stories, a phenomenon which I am sure you are familiar with in our country. Just think of Rotiboy, Doughnuts and Bee Cheng Hiang and you know what I mean. It seems to me that we Singaporeans are much better at copying others than coming up with original stuff. Just look at home renovation designs for instance. You know, at one time it looked like every newly wed couple’s master bedroom has that obligatory photo hanging above the bedhead. I think the phenomenon boils down to two very strong character traits of the Singaporean. The first is that we tend to be very Kiasu (scared of losing out) and the 2nd being that we are a conformistic society. So, being Kiasu, it is much easier to copy an idea that works rather than take the risk with something new. And being a nation of conformists, we, like a shoal of sardines or a flock of sheep, just follow what the others are doing. Don’t know what to do? Just follow law!

Anyway the story of 1A (there is no A1 curry puff as far as I know) is just another case study of this phenomenon. As you probably guess by now, the stall in Henderson (according to them) is the originator of this particular type of curry puff. It turns out that it was first made around 17 years ago by this Teochew Ah Mah (Granny) who was at the time making fried Poh Piah (springrolls) and Soon Kueh. One day she just decided to combine the two and came up with the multilayered crispy curry puff that we are all so familiar with. The Curry Puff later became known as 1A Curry Puff as their stall then was at Blk 1A Eunos Crescent. According to them, the other 1A was started by someone who used to work at their store.

If you do an internet search, you will find other stories about how this curry puff originated and I am not in a position to say what really happened. But I do find Grandma’s story quite plausible (It’s between a sweet old granny and a businessman, so who would you believe?). If you have more information to shed some light on this, do let us know.


Crispy Curry Puff $1 ea

Anyway, the curry puffs here are really good. The skin is crispy and thin, more like a Malay Epok Epok rather than the Chinese style Curry Puff which uses short crust pastry. The filling is also quite moist, almost as if there was a bit of gravy in it. I actually quite like the Sardine Puff which really reminded me of the Malay version except that you get the multi layered crispy skin. 4.25/5


The Ah Mah who invented the Crispy Skin Curry Puff

Conclusion

I don’t know if there is such a thing as copyright of Hawker’s names but I do notice that there are many hawker stalls claiming to be the “original” stall of famous brand names. At times it can be quite confusing and sometimes it can affect the business of the real original stall. Just the other day I spied a banner somewhere in Bukit Timah proclaiming that they were the original 132 Mee Pok and recently I also wrote about the confusion over Eng Seng black pepper crabs. Is this something we all just sit back and accept as part of our society, (like the fact that you almost never get your handphone back when you lose it), or is it something that we should work towards changing?

So, if you are a curry puff lover, you should check this one out and see if this “original” crispy skin curry puff is better than the rest. And do let us know your version of the 1A curry puff story.

Update 16 Jan 2017

They have moved to 220 EAST COAST ROAD, 428917

Soon Soon Huat 1A Crispy Curry Puff

Address:
220 EAST COAST ROAD, , Singapore 428917
View Map
Opening hours:
7:30AM to 8:30PM

Closed:
Mondays
Contact:
68415618

  • Roy

    They have moved to 220 east coast road, a few stalls from chin mee chin!