Karu's Banana Leaf Restaurant: Fish Head Curry worth travelling for

Fish Head Curry $28

There are two versions of Curry Fish Head in Singapore.  One is the Chinese version where the fish head is steamed first before cooking in a curry which has less powdery spices and the other is the Indian version where the fish head is cooked a in pot of fiery spices that is designed to make you sweat so that, ironically, you will feel cooler in the hot weather.  So far I have been writing a lot about the Chinese version, so its time to give the Indian version some air time.  Curry Fish Head was invented by an Indian man afterall.

Now, where would you find a really excellent Indian Curry Fish Head?  Well, if you were to hazard a guess, you might think, Little India, and you won't be too far off the mark as there are certainly a few famous Fish Head Curry restaurants there.  But those who know will tell you of a little restaurant situated in what can be considered the fringe of civilization beyond which the map of Singapore is mysteriously unmarked. This restaurant have been thriving for the last 17 years and is testimony of how crazy Singaporeans will travel across the island just to find something good to eat! 

Biryani Rice $3.20

So it is that I found myself one lunchtime with three of these aforesaid crazy Singaporeans who have traversed the entire length of the PIE to find our pot of curry.  Now if you live in the East, as I do, please remember to add another $10 to your total bill to cover the cost of petrol.

The good news is that the Fish Head Curry here is worth that extra few litres of petrol.  The curry gravy turned out to be deliciously balanced and not quite as fiery as I had expected and the fish was tender and moist even though it was cooked directly in the curry.  It is this pot of Fish Head Curry that brought me to the moment of Epiphany.  Ah, now at last, I finally know what the fuss over Fish Head Curry is all about.  4.6/5

Chicken Masala $9

The thing that really surprises me about Karu's is the fact that I didn't find their curries as fiery hot as I expected.  Now, I personally have a bit of phobia over spicy food.  I remember that when I was in Sec 1, my best friend Joshua, who was my new friend then, invited me over to his house for a gathering. His mother (They are Indians btw) who is an excellent cook, served up Chicken Masala as one of the dishes.  I was a growing boy at that stage without much exposure to Indian food, so being adventurous, I took quite a generous portion of the delicious curry.  Before I knew it, my oesophagus and stomach started to glow red hot and I broke out in cold sweat and had to get downstairs to the void deck for fresh air.  I must have been slumped over the stone bench for a good hour before I finally managed to walk straight. Aunty still  laughs at me till this day whenever I go over to his house for dinner, but she would tone down the curry a bit when she knows I am coming.

Anyway, coming back to the Chicken Masala, I didn't break a sweat eating it.  It was delicious, well spiced and nicely balanced.  4.25/5

Fish Potato Cutlet $1.20ea

Another good side dish to order is the fish and potato cutlet.  It's not amazing, amazing, but a very savoury and satisfying accompaniment to your curry rice.  4/5

After lunch, do remember to wash all the spices down with some Masala Tea.  The Tea here is very good, well balanced with the spices and a nice and creamy mouth feel.  A fitting end to an excellent meal. 4.25/5


Karu's is one restaurant that is worth traveling across the island for.  The Fish Head Curry is superb and it's pretty reasonably priced too!

Karu's Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant
808/810, Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 678145
10.30am to 10pm daily
Closed on Monday
67627284,  83859511


Keith Ong said...

how's the parking there?

Anonymous said...

Hi! you can park very easily at the carpark just next to the restaurant... a little ways in.


Anonymous said...

Bro, it is fish cutlet

Anonymous said...

Bro, next u shud try the prawn mee a few doors away, it is not the normal prawn mee n u take a queue number

Bugger said...

Hey if u go all the way there for the curry, u MUST try the prawns man. That one is phenomenal. Usually it is the chix masala and prawns for me. To die for.

Uma Preve said...

I patronized that place for the past ten years and I still enjoy going there. Very nice food and very good price too. I think this restaurant is way better then the ones in little India. I am a Singaporean Indian btw..... I love food! :)

Anonymous said...

omg... ieat finally did a post on an eatery that's actually near my place!!
My family have been feasting on Karu's fishhead since we moved here 13yrs ago. In fact, it has become a strange Chinese Near Year ritual for us :D


ieat said...

Glad to hear support from Uma and tkw! Yes, my food map is very bare around the West, so I needed to put a red pin there! Anything else around your place tkw?

Anonymous said...

Nothing beats Krishna's Fish Head Curry in Kota Kinabalu! Why? The fish are fresh off the South China Sea!

Anonymous said...

eh... sad to say - there's really not many outstanding makan places around my area...
at least not outstanding enough for an easterner to come all the way :p

but if u just need to stick in more red-pins, there's the cze-zhar near Karu's... its in the old food-court with the carpark in front (the one mention by chia above)
i remember it was blogged about in

take note - for that area, parking's a nightmare on weekend's morning and evening...


global e-citizen blog said...

Yes! Definitely a "die-die must try"! I live close by and must have patronized them for at least 10 years ...

jen said...

i know this is an old post but it popped out when i was googling for fish head curry in singapore. on the strength of 'worth travelling for' fish head, i did just that. firstly i must say i'm not from singapore. armed with the address i jumped into the taxi..and what an adventure. driver could not find the place..and we only did when i suggested he called the restaurant to enquire. long story short, food was good. worth the effort and trip from Orchard Road..no. i'll stick to Muthu.:D


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