Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice: Legendary Hawker Legacy

Glorious Mess

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice was a unanimous choice when my fellow judges and I got together to pick two hawker legends to be inducted into the inaugural World Gourmet Summit Hawker Series Hall of Fame.  The iconic Curry Rice stall which used to be located at the coffeeshop opposite Tiong Bahru market has consistently been regarded by many Singaporeans as one of the best places where you can enjoy authentic Hainanese curry rice!

The Beginnings

The stall was founded by the late Mr. Loo Niap Tan who started selling curry rice along Pian Lye street in Tanjong Pagar right after the 2nd World War.  He had learned the recipes from his brother-in-law who worked in a Peranakan household.  They then moved to a coffeeshop in Telok Blangah from 1979 to 1990.

Mr Loo
Mr Loo Kia Chee

This was when the current owner, Mr. Loo Kia Chee, 63, started to learn the ropes right after National Service. The stall then moved to a coffeeshop in Tiong Bahru until the middle of 2022 before relocating to the food centre across the road.  According to Mr Loo, this will probably be the final spot for Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice. This is unless he is able to find a suitable person to take over the legendary stall.

Iconic Hainanese Curry Rice Dishes

Chicken Curry
Hainanese Chicken Curry

The key to Loo’s is their moreish curry which takes three days to prepare.  The first day is spent preparing fresh herbs like blue ginger, tumeric, shallots and lemongrass. These have to be peeled and ground into a paste.  On day two, the paste is slowly fried to make the rempah. Only on day three is it then used to make the curry sauce!

Mr Loo shared with us that the recipe has remained unchanged since his father’s time. They still insist on using freshly squeezed coconut milk which he procures from a market in Tampines!

Pork Chop
Hainanese Pork Chop

Another Hainanese classic is their old school pork chops with the sweet and tangy tomato sauce.

Crumbs for Hainanese Pork Chops

Loo’s is one of the few stalls which still use cream crackers to coat the pork chops.  But not just any cream cracker will do.  They source a particular one from Khong Guan which still has that old-school flavour.  The crackers are ground to a powder and plain flour is mixed into them to make the coating for the pork chops.  The cream crackers give the pork chop a savoury flavour which differentiates it from those that are coated with bread crumbs or just plain flour.

Curry Rice
Fried egg on rice with a generous slathering of curry and lor bak sauce

Aside from the curry and pork chops, the other essential dishes for me are the braised cabbage and lor bak. Pile them all together onto a mound of rice and top it with a frilly fried egg with dark soy sauce, and it becomes a glorious mess that looks like hell, but tastes like heaven! This is the kind of food where you can really develop cravability!  4.5/5 

Tray of Food
From top left: chicken curry, fried cabbage (tup sai), tau pok in dark sauce, sweet and sour pork, pork chop with fried egg and egg with curry and lor bak sauce


A hawker legend no less and well deserving of its induction into the WGS Hawker Series Hall of Fame!  Any lover of Hainanese curry rice would have eaten at this stall!

Also read my previous writeup about their stall in the coffee shop before moving.

Never-ending queue at Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice
Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice

#02-67/68 Tiong Bahru Market,
Singapore 160071
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Opening hours:

Fri - Wed: 8:00 am to 2:45 pm





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