Sinful, savoury, and so, so messy – the scissor-cut curry rice is a Hainanese special that most are familiar with. Typically the dish consists of kong bak (braised pork belly), chap chye (braised cabbage), pork chop, and curry chicken served over steamed white rice. But how did this glorious plate of goodness even come into being?
According to Mr Loo Kia Chee, second-generation owner of Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice – a Tiong Bahru institution since 1949 – Hainanese migrants from China’s Hainan province who held cooking and domestic jobs during the British colonial rule here picked up their fusion culinary skills from their employers, the British and Peranakans. Somewhere along the line, crossovers happened, recipes mashed and Nyonya-type curries combined with Western creations like pork chop.
“Scissor-cut curry rice is the perfect representation of the different cultures of Singapore, both past and present-day,” says the 62-year-old, who took over the business from his father.
Mr Loo may run what is one of Singapore’s most famous and well-loved scissor-cut curry rice stalls, but where else can you go to get your fix? We visited eight other popular spots around the heartlands – some underrated ones, and some equally famous ones – to bring you this round-up.
What we ordered:
- kong bak (braised pork belly)
- chap chye (braised cabbage)
- pork chop