Golden Nur: Stall in Market Street Hawker Centre sells crispy chicken briyani with 40-year-old recipe
I’ve tried visiting Golden Nur before as I’ve heard great things about their legendary crispy nasi briyani, but they always seem to be sold out. Determined to have a taste of their authentic briyani, I decided to try my luck and braved the lunch crowd at the newly opened Market Street Hawker Centre yet again.
Golden Nur is a family-run business that started out at the now-defunct Golden Shoe Hawker Centre. Over the past 40 years, the stall has faithfully followed the hawker centre as it relocated to Market Street Interim Hawker Centre and finally, to its latest (and hopefully last) destination: Market Street Hawker Centre.
Market Street Hawker Centre is located on the second and third floor of CapitaSpring and houses a total of 56 hawker stalls. You’ll find the escalator leading up to the hawker centre at the intersection of Chulia Street and Market Street, right opposite UOB Plaza.
To get to Golden Nur, take another escalator up to the second floor of the hawker centre and you’ll spot the humble stall right at the mouth of the escalator.
When I dropped by at noon on a weekday, I expected to find a lengthy queue in front of me. Instead, despite it being the peak of lunch hour, I was pleasantly surprised to discover only a handful of people in the queue.
In a matter of five minutes, I had placed and received my orders, and I was ready to dig in.
What I tried
I kicked off my meal with the classic Crispy Chicken Briyani (S$6.50), which came with a large piece of deep-fried chicken leg on a bed of long-grain briyani rice. It was served with a small serving of pickled vegetables.
Based on first impressions alone, I couldn’t decide if I was impressed or disappointed. The generous serving of deep-fried crumbs and the dark golden colour of the chicken leg looked incredibly inviting, but the entire dish barely covered two thirds of the plate and there were large pockets of empty space around the briyani.
Was it a case of Golden Nur using plates too large for its dishes, or were their serving sizes underwhelming? Time to find out.
The long-grain basmati rice was fluffy and light in texture, and I appreciated how the rice grains weren’t clumped together or oily at all despite being doused in curry. There was a good depth of flavour— I could taste a subtle hint of spice, a tinge of saltiness, and underlying savoury notes from the assortment of spices such as turmeric, lemongrass and star anise.
The overall result: Each spoonful of rice was aromatic (without being overly perfumed) and the texture was just right— decently dry and light. This was the type of rice I could finish in one sitting, without a need for any water or iced teh to wash it down or to help offset any strong salty flavours. Perfectly done.
My only gripe would be that there wasn’t enough rice. I ended up polishing off the rice first before the chicken, which was a slight disappointment.
Despite being deep-fried, the chicken leg was tender and the flesh tore apart easily without much effort. The chicken skin was a delight— crispy with a thin layer of oily fat— and went well with the juicy meat.
Arguably, the highlight of the dish was the large heap of crispy batter bits that was scattered on top of the fried chicken leg.
These were addictively salty, with a satisfying crunch and an intense savoury kick that reminded me of the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of potato chips.
Admittedly, these crispy bits were a tad too salty when eaten on its own, so be sure to pair it with the rice to balance out the rich saltiness. Alternatively, go light on the crumbs and don’t be kiasu like me by asking for an extra serving.
Next on my list was Golden Nur’s Curry Chicken Rice (S$6.50), which came with a piece of curry chicken, white rice, pickled vegetables, lady’s finger, and a spoonful of crispy batter bits.
While I had expected it to be plain white rice, I was proved wrong the minute I took a bite.
With a strong taste of pandan and lemongrass, this reminded me of nasi lemak rice and went fantastically well with the mildly sweet and spiced curry.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the curry chicken. Due to its cut, the chicken breast was sadly dry and tough, and I struggled to finish the entire piece.
Perhaps next time I’ll ask for a better cut of chicken.
I enjoyed Golden Nur’s lady’s fingers as they were soft and naturally sweet. Thanks to the addition of sliced shallots that had cooked till it was translucent, the lady’s fingers were a delightful and comforting addition to the plate of curry chicken, albeit a simple one.
I ended off the meal with the priciest briyani on Golden Nur’s menu: the Mutton Briyani (S$7).
The minute it was served, I was puzzled by the seemingly lack of mutton. The friendly staff responded with a laugh: “It’s hidden underneath the rice!”
True enough, after digging through the long-grain basmati rice, I found a hefty chunk of mutton.
The mutton was fork-tender and tore apart with great ease. It was mildly sweet and had a smoky aftertaste, and was reminiscent of oxtail in both texture and flavour. I would’ve liked it if we had been served more mutton as we had only been given one piece (albeit a big one).
When asked to pick their favourite dish out of the meal, one of my dining companions immediately singled out the Mutton Briyani for its tender meat, while another enjoyed the classic Crispy Chicken Briyani for its comforting and well-balanced flavours.
As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the fragrant white rice and the crispy chicken, and would order that combination the next time I’m back. Perhaps at the same time, I’ll ask for more rice and less crispy batter bits.
If you’re intending to drop by for a visit, do note that Golden Nur’s nasi briyani tends to sell out by the end of lunch, so don’t be late!
Expected damage: S$6.50 – S$7 per pax
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