I love a good plate of curry rice. This messy and inguldent hawker fare always makes for a satisfying meal. That’s one of the reasons why I was so excited to spot Hock Gooi Hainanese Curry Rice at the newly-opened Market Street Hawker Centre— its curry rice sets are priced from S$3.50 per plate!
For those visiting the new Market Street Hawker Centre for the first time ever since it opened on 5 April 2022, the fastest way to get here from Raffles Place MRT is via Exit B. Walk along Chulia Street, cross a traffic light, and you’ll find the escalator to the two-storey hawker centre at the intersection of Chulia Street and Market Street.
Located on the second floor of CapitaSpring, Hock Gooi Hainanese Curry Rice is literally the first stall you’ll see upon riding the escalator up to the hawker centre.
The humble hawker stall sells four classic Hainanese curry rice dishes, ranging from pork chop sets to braised pork sets, all of which are affordably priced at S$3.50 each.
What I tried
I started out with the classic Hainanese Pork Chop Set (S$3.50), which came with white rice, slices of crispy pork chop, chap chye, an egg, and housemade sambal belacan, all of which were doused in its signature Hainanese curry.
While I was happy to note that the stall had poured the curry prior to adding the pork chop, I was a little disappointed with the curry’s texture. It leaned more towards the watery side and soaked into the pile of white rice pretty fast, so don’t expect it to be gao like gravy.
Despite its light texture, I enjoyed the curry’s mild sweetness. It wasn’t overly spicy and was aromatic with a hint of coconut cream.
I was excited to try its pork chop, which had been cut into delectable slices for easy eating.
This definitely hit the spot. The pork chop was decently thick and breaded well, resulting in a satisfying crisp with each juicy bite. I could taste the five spice and a hint of plum powder, which added a savoury smokiness to the pork chop.
Though chap chye usually consists of a variety of braised vegetables, I loved Hock Gooi’s rendition as they only used cabbage for this simple dish.
Hock Gooi’s chap chye reminded me of home-cooked food. Each braised cabbage was soft, naturally sweet, and without any overwhelming taste of MSG. It went perfectly well with the savoury pork chop, resulting in each spoonful of curry rice being indulgent and comforting.
While the egg that comes with each set is pretty nondescript, I enjoyed how the egg was cooked just right. The yolk wasn’t oozy, like an onsen egg, but it also wasn’t fully cooked like a hard boiled egg. Instead, I really appreciated how the yolk was slightly firm and had a creamy texture to it.
I wanted to order Hock Gooi’s Braised Pork Set (S$3.50), but was disappointed to know that they had completely sold out for the day! However, the stall owner shared that they had prepared pork trotters for the day and asked if I’d like to try that instead.
Considering the affordable price points of its other curry sets, I was initially taken aback by the price of the Pork Trotters Set (S$5.50). Yet, I was proven wrong the minute I laid eyes on the massive pile of pork trotters on my plate— the portions were so generous that I couldn’t even see the rice!
The pork trotters were immensely satisfying. Each piece had a good balance between fat and meat, and it was marinated well with a soy sauce-based mixture prior to being braised.
While some pieces were a little dry, I figured that was due to the nature of the cut and solved it by pairing those pieces with a touch of sambal belacan or curry-drenched rice.
As my Hainanese Pork Chop Set already had chap chye, I went ahead and chose Lady’s Fingers for my second vegetable.
I was surprised by how well cooked this vegetable was, as I know that this particular vegetable can get slimy or stringy if not prepared properly. Yet, Hock Gooi cooked this perfectly— it retained a good crunch while being tender on the inside. Overall, a classic caifan ingredient that was executed well.
If you’re not a huge fan of lady’s fingers, you can pick from Hock Gooi’s other vegetables instead, which varies between long beans, bean sprouts and other seasonal vegetables depending on the day.
If there’s one phrase that I could use to describe Hock Gooi’s curry rice, it would be this: super affordable.
Its standard sets cost a mere S$3.50 and come with rice, your choice of meat, vegetables and an egg, and even though its special meat sets (such as the Pork Trotters Set) cost S$5.50, I’d say it’s incredibly value-for-money considering its generous portions.
I do wish that its curry would’ve been more gao, but I suppose there’s always next time!
Expected damage: S$3.50 – S$5.50 per pax
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