You can’t talk about curry mee without referring to the two stalls at Hong Lim Food Centre. The one on the ground level is Heng Kee Curry Mee which started operations there in 1979. Before that the original hawker, Mr Tay Yong Heng was selling this curry noodles from a push cart along Synagogue Street since the 60’s.
Mr Tay’s father had previously sold carrot cake, but he felt that he wanted to do something more unique and took 2 years to perfect the recipe for curry mee. He didn’t inherit the recipe from anyone so the curry was born out of trail and error. So you can’t really categorize it as Nonya style or Indian style curry, it is basically a Chinese/Teochew style curry.
Next gen hawker, Ah Huat, who took over from his father about 10 years ago tells me that the he fries the rempah once a month it usually takes a whole day fry a batch. The other key component to the dish is fresh coconut milk. During his father’s time, the coconut used to be hand sqeezed daily, but it is no longer possible with the volume needed nowadays. However, the coconut milk is still a very important component of the curry and this has to be specially sourced from a supplier.
This curry is very unique. It is slightly sweet and very fragrant and flavourful. It is just the kind of thing you want to eat if you had been eating hospital food for a week! The curry is served on top of beehoon or noodles with a few pieces of white poached chicken on top. The chicken is important part of the dish because the stock used for cooking the chicken is used as the base for the curry. The curry is mooreish and not overly rich such that you can really drink the soup without feeling jerlak. I loved the textural contrast that the crunchy chicken skin adds to the dish but the real superstar of the dish has to be the curry soaked taupok (fried bean curd) which was rather addictive! 4.5/5
There are but a handful of stalls in Singapore selling curry mee. It is so uncommon that it won’t even make the B list of popular hawker dishes in Singapore. This really begs the question as to why there are not more curry mee stalls around, seeing that their business is so good!