Abang Curry: Not your average Japanese curry rice stall, with halal-certified fusion curry rice & noodles from $5.90
If you thought the local F&B scene was getting creative by combining bak chor mee with ramen, wait till you’ve tried Abang Curry. This humble coffee shop stall offers Japanese curry rice with a Singaporean twist— think ebi panko paired with Nanyang curry!
Abang Curry has 3 outlets: one at JEM‘s Kopitiam on the 5th floor, a newly opened one at KINEX (though note that it has yet to get its halal certification, albeit being no pork no lard), and a third at Bedok South Horizon.
Being an Eastie, I decided to check out the one at Bedok South to see if its halal-certified fusion Japanese curry rice would be worth the hype.
Based on online reviews, I knew that Abang Curry had 3 types of curries that folks could pair with their choice of main: Nanyang Curry, Masak Merah and Rendang.
It was to much disappointment that the staff at its Bedok South outlet told me that they only offer the Nanyang Curry here due to low sales volume. If I wanted to try the other 2 curries, I’d have to head to its JEM outlet, which is all the way in Jurong East. Alas, it was not meant to be!
What I tried at Abang Curry
Despite the initial setback, I still went ahead to order the Panko Ebi Rice (S$8.90), and was shocked to see that it had been served on an insanely large round plate, which easily took up the entire serving tray!
I’ve got to say, the serving portion given for the considerably wallet-friendly price point already made Abang Curry a real gem. If I had ordered a plate of panko ebi curry rice at a Japanese restaurant, it’d have easily cost me twice that amount.
The Nanyang Curry had been poured all over the plate, almost reminding me of a yin and yang symbol or half moon.
This was something I utterly enjoyed. While my brain had expected familiar notes of Japanese curry to hit me because of the panko ebi, this was in fact Singapore-style curry, similar to what I’d get with curry chicken or even Hainanese curry rice.
Rich and fragrant, Abang Curry’s Nanyang Curry had an underlying hint of spice that made it really yummy. It was also slightly milky thanks to the addition of coconut cream, and its consistency was thick like gravy. What I loved even more about it was the little bits of minced meat that came with the curry, so you get a meaty texture and bite with each spoonful.
I counted 6 large panko-covered ebi on my plate, and a single bite in had me making happy noises. Each ebi was delightfully coated in a crispy and flaky breadcrumb crust, providing audible crunches the moment I bit into them.
Still not convinced that this was a fusion of Japanese and local flavours? Each plate of curry came with a dollop of sambal too!
A word of caution— this was one intensely spicy sambal. The moment I had my first bite, I instantly regretted it. It was bright, hot and sour, but man, the glorious aftertaste of the burning chilli lingering on my tongue was enough for me to brave the pain and go for seconds.
Here’s another Japanese element to the dish— shredded cabbage topped with sesame sauce and shibazuke, which are purple pickles.
I loved how the shredded cabbage provided that well-needed refreshing element to the heavy dish. Not to mention, the sliced pickles added a satisfying chew and piquant sourness.
The next dish I tried was Abang Curry’s Shiok! Shiok! Chicken Rice (S$6.90).
It remains one of Abang Curry’s most affordable options, with the others being Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Rice (S$5.90) (which unfortunately wasn’t available) and the only budget meal on its menu, the Abang Curry Noodle (S$3).
While most of the items on the Shiok! Shiok! Chicken Rice remained the same as the Panko Ebi Rice, like the Nanyang Curry, shredded cabbage and sambal, the sole difference was the choice of meat.
The Shiok! Shiok! Chicken Rice had deep-fried marinated chicken chunks which came in bite-sized pieces for easy eating. While I couldn’t discern what they had been marinated in, it was salty and savoury and instantly reminded me of prawn paste chicken.
As compared to the Panko Ebi Rice, which gave that crispy crunch, I thoroughly appreciated how the Shiok! Shiok! Chicken Rice was much meatier thanks to the deep-fried marinated chicken chunks, despite not being Japanese in any way.
Still equally as satisfying though, in my humble opinion, especially when I paired the fluffy white rice with aromatic, thick curry, and bits of fried chicken. Yum!
Despite not having Masak Merah or Rendang, I found myself enjoying my meal at Abang Curry very much. The serving portions were huge for the relatively affordable price tag, and not to mention, the choice of mains were decent too.
The star of the show was clearly the Nanyang Curry, which was rich, savoury and fragrant. At some point of time in the meal, I even found myself simply slurping up the curry as it was as if it was soup. It was that satisfying.
Would I make a trip all the way to its JEM outlet to try its other curries? Only if I’m in the Jurong East area, perhaps, but you can be sure I’ll head to its Bedok outlet again if I’m ever craving a plate of homely Japanese fusion curry rice.
Expected damage: S$3 – S$12.90 per pax
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