Hong Seng Curry Rice is a hawker store selling really tasty traditional situated in Redhill Lane market. It is located just off Redhill MRT and beside Redhill Close. The curry rice is also known as the Hainanese variant. The dish staple usually contains a bed of steamed white rice.
The dish is usually accompanied by sliced pork chops, chap chye (braised cabbage) and kong bak (braised pork). Curry chicken is sometimes available as an optional meat add-on. After topping up your ingredients, your dish is usually smothered in a mess of curries and braised gravy. This is the favorite part of the entire dish. It looks and taste better in person than on-camera.
A walk down Singapore curry rice history
On some background, despite it’s Hainanese name, the dish actually is a fusion one which originates from Singaporean. It is a distinctive Singapore cuisine only found here. Moreover, some of the most well-known and popular Hainanese curry rice vendors within Singapore started operations in Tiong Bahru Market. This was as early as the 1946s.
This particular curry rice store, Hong Seng, has been around for about 20 years. They previously operated at Kim Tian near Tiong Bahru. Market before moving to their current location at Redhill food and market center at stall unit number #74. The stall front is distinguishable by a yellow background sign Board. From what I know they operate pretty much like a franchise now. There are only two of such competing curry rice stores in the Redhill Market.
A walk down Singapore curry rice history
Like your typical Singaporean “Caifun” (vegetable rice) fan fare, you start off with a plate of rice where you pipe up on your Ingredient choices. These can range from meat or vegetables items, each with their own pricing.
Pork Chops and Char Siew are must-try
As previously introduced, their staple item to go for is their fried pork chop and Char Siew. They are thinly sliced and are synonymous with the “scissor cut” rice. A recommendation is to have your pork chops with servings of white cabbage, fried egg and generously sprinkled with heaps of their trademark curry sauce. If you are out of ideas, their Curry chicken is a delight too.
This sauce is what I would like to call literally their “secret sauce” which is a favorite and is rather addictive. Moreover, this food combination as the hawker legends foretell is the meal selection which the store had been serving for decades since they went in business.
A curry to suit all tastes
Also, their curry remind me much of Japanese curry. It has an orange-reddish hue which is pretty creamy, but not overly thick like Rendang curry. Moreover, the curry is surprisingly not spicy at all. You can of course make your dish more spicy by pairing it with few additional heaps of Sambal condiments at the store front if you see fit.
In addition, today the choices of ingredients spread has increased. You have additional selections such as fried fish, cuttlefish, prawn fritters and more vegetable choices such as long beans and bean curd cakes. You however, won’t go wrong with my recommended pork chop, cabbage and egg combination. At $3.50, it does prove to be a rather hearty meal indeed. Though questionably healthy.
However, when you start to pile up on your ingredients beyond 3 items, you can start to see your dish go upwards of $4 to $5 a plate. This is especially if you choose fish items. Henceforth, dish is not exactly what you would call “hawker affordable“. Stick to the Pork Chop, Char Siew and cabbage and you won’t go wrong.
Open all day, but mind the queue
Furthermore, the store-turned franchise still attracts a long sizable queue each time they open for business. Queues are at their longest during dinner time from 6 to 7pm, especially on work days. Here, patrons are often seen packing their curry-loaded meals back home. However, thankfully, the queues are very fast moving. You will be served in under 5 minutes tops regardless of the queue length.
The only worry though is the lack of food choices, especially if you arrive around 8 or 9pm. your choices favorites such as chicken meat will usually run out pretty quickly. Fried food items will tend to be soft squishy and cold as they had been already fried for sometime.
Will I recommend Hong Seng Curry Rice? Of course, it offers a good mix of affordably and good taste to boot. It is a gem of a find in the Singapore Hawker scene.
Must Go! | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
Hong Seng Curry Rice
85 Redhill Lane, Unit number #01-74
Opens daily: 10:30am – 11:00pm