Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fish Head Curry!

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Fish Head Curry at Banana Apollo Leaf

Nothing quite clears my nasal passage like fish head curry. After chuffing down some curry soaked rice, picking at flesh off the bones and sneakily scooping out the coveted soft sweet cheek flesh, there is nothing like a good blow of my nose into a Kleenex and feeling that my system has been purged.

Like most delicious foods like tripe, liver, feet and seemingly unsavoury animal parts that have characterised a lot of the global culinary history, the fish head is also one that might have been overlooked. Fortunately for us, creative cooks have found ways of turning around these parts for various reasons of survival or thrift, and once in a while, such dishes make history. The fish head curry is loved by all, from scan across the large dining hall in Banana Leaf, although it is an Indian restaurant, the cliental on the other hand is multiracial and a good mix of locals and tourist with their Uniquely Singapore guides. I like to think fish head curry is like haggis (I haven’t tried this yet), a national dish that is heavily spiced and a sign of assimilation if you are able to stomach it. In our case, it is being able to enjoy fish head curry, is a proof of an ability to relish hot and spicy food and to eat odd animal parts and of course desire to eat the fish’s eye.

Race course road is often a place we head to when we are looking sweat over a tasty bowl of fish head curry. We recently found ourselves at Banana Apollo Leaf, accompanied by the customary banana leaf, mountain of rice, vegetables of the day and free-flow of papadums, the fish head curry was a decent rendition, reasonably fresh but seemingly strangely over spiced with start anise, and one of my super unhealthy favourite dishes of fish roe was soggy leaving us a little unsatisfied from lunch.

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Fish Head Curry at Karu's Indian Banana Leaf

That then got me thinking of all the other places that come to mind when I think about fish head curry, the ones that come to mind are the common heavy weights such as Muthu’s Curry, which is just down the road from Banana Apollo Leaf and now available in a slightly more central area in the basement in Suntec and super spicy Samy’s curry. One, however, that often does not come to mind since it is slightly off the beaten path, which I went to earlier in the year and I think deserves more publicity is Karu’s. Karu’s is located in West and seemingly quite out of the way but worth the distance. It is spicy and creamy like most Indian-styled fish head curries but it has a slightly more tangy flavour, fish is fresh and the vegetables were not soggy. Whichever fish head curry place you choose to make your own, there are slight probably slight flavour nuances that appeal to various palates, but frankly, I personally like them all.


Banana Leaf Apollo
54/56/58 Race Course Road,
Tel : 6293-8682

Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant
808/810 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 6762 7284

Muthu’s Curry
138 Race Course Road
Tel: 6392 1722

Samy’s Curry Restaurant
Block 25 Dempsey Rd
Civil Service Club
6472-2080

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4 Comments:

Anonymous ivan said...

Ok... So should you fold the Bananana leaf inward or outward at the end of the meal if you found the food to be good?

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yum. I've only tried Samy's and that is really a test of perseverance - so good but the spiciness is torturous!

12:04 PM  
Blogger keninabu said...

I live right around Karu's, and it is as you said, awesome and not very well-known.

That said, it gets a very large MINDEF lunch crowd!

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

food is good, fold inwards. Very unusual to fold outwards unless you're super oissed at everything they offer. be polite and don't patronise them again lor

I think Muthu's is overated and way too pricey. Haven't had any decent fish head curry in singapore.

4:50 PM  

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