When people in Singapore talks about eating curry puff, first name that comes to mind is Old Chang Kee. Or maybe Polar. But J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff? I’m sure many will have scratch their head. Where? Until Michelin came a calling and it became famous overnight.
Anyway, I have eaten the J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff (J2FCCP) since the first day the stall opens at Maxwell before it moves to Amoy. Not because it is really good but it was the only place to get decent curry puff in the area in those days. Now frankly while I think it is decent I do not think it really warrant a Michelin Bib Gourmand award. The first few weeks of the award, I was not successful in getting my hand on one. The queue was either too long or it was sold out. So I decided on the next best option. To get from other stalls in the area. And why not while eating it do a comparison? So I roped in 4 of my colleagues to give their take on the different curry puff. To make it a fair comparison and easier for me to get them, the curry puff must not be mass produced and from a chain franchise outlets. So Old Chang Kee, Polar, A1, Tip Top … are out. And they have to be eaten hot which means only those I can buy and bring back to the office within 30 minutes, which somewhat narrow the list down to 4: J2FCCP as the incumbent; Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff from Maxwell Food Centre, Rolina from Tanjong Pagar FC & Lagoon from East Coast Lagoon.
Long before J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff at Amoy became really famous, there was Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff at Maxwell Food Centre. It has since moved to Hong Lim Food Centre.
Each puff cost $1.50 and comes with a big slice of egg. The skin was crispy but not flaky and the potatoes and curry paste were all mashed up so fine one cannot even differentiate any particular ingredient that make up the filling. It is spicy like all curry puff should be.
Next on the list is another old name, Rollina at Tanjong Pagar Food Centre. This stall has moved several times although it has been at Tanjong Pagar for the past years after it last move from Serangoon.
Each puff costs $1.40 and is surprisingly small. Just slightly larger than a golf ball. This is the traditional type of curry puff – no flaking skin and a very thick crust. There are generous chunk of egg and meat and this one is spicy. Not mild spicy but strong spicy. Too bad the small little size though.
Next is Lagoon Curry Puff from East Coast Lagoon. This stall has been around for the longest time and is a must have whatever I am at the lagoon which unfortunately is not very often nowadays. Each puff cost $1.50 and is filled chocked full with bits of chicken. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any egg though.
My colleagues claimed there is a whiff of lemongrass in it. It is fairly moist and spicy. The crust is flaky but not that flaky that it will crumble away.
And how do they all stack up against J2FCCP? Yes I did managed to get them after all! Actually nowadays there is no queue. Guess the hype is over.
Each puff cost $1.20. The skin is so crispy and flaky that it threaten to break off and in fact it did. A colleague held one by its end and the body just break away ending up on the floor!
There is no egg which is a bummer. The potatoes and paste are blended together but little chunks of potato can still be seen. It is very moist and the gravy just oozed out. Therefore be careful if eating it hot. Also because of its flakiness, one has to eat it fast before the whole puff disintegrate.
So did the J2 curry puff beat the other in our mini shoot out? Surprisingly, despite its Michelin Gourmand award, my colleagues were not terribly impressed with it. In fact, majority picked the Tanglin curry puff as their favourite followed by Lagoon. It was a tie between J2 and Rollina but J2 won the veto vote (me!) because it was at least better value for money despite not having the egg.
But hey, don’t take my words for it. Go try out all thee stalls and see which is your favourite!