Nonya-style fish head curry

By Dr Leslie Tay
4 April 2012 9:00 AM Updated 04 Apr 2012

Nonya-style fish head curry

One would not have expected to find fish head curry or any other dishes at this place since this stall is named Lau Hock Guan Kee Bak Ku Teh.

Set up in Joo Chiat more than 30 years ago, the owner started selling bak kut teh in 1973, following a stint with a famous bak kut teh stall on River Valley Road.

As delicious as his bak kut teh is, these days, people come to him instead for the bowls of Nonya-style curry fish head and steamed fish.

The popular curry fish head dish was introduced in 1998 because of the Nipah Virus outbreak in Malaysia which resulted in a ban on Malaysian pork.

What makes his curry fish head extra special is the fact that he steams the fish head, brinjal and okra first, and then pours the freshly made curry gravy over it. This results in a fish head that is not overly cooked, the flesh is tender and moist, while the bones easily dislodge so you can get to the wonderfully slurpalicious jelly bits.

Its freshness is another key factor, every morning the boss will scour a few markets to look for hard-to-find ang goli (gold banded snapper) heads. The heads are steamed till tender then covered with a tangy, fragrant, well-balanced fish curry sauce that is not too spicy nor over powering, and with just the right amount of tangy sourness to get those salivary glands going.

If you prefer something that is more “cheng” (lighter and less oily), then the steamed fish here is a good bet.

Steamed golden snapper

We ordered the ang chor (golden snapper) because we didn't realize that he sold the prized threadfin tail here as well. The fish was perfectly steamed with a classical Teochew sauce. No complaints here; very healthy and shiok!

Other dishes on the menu include the pork ribs with bitter gourd & black bean sauce and a clay pot chicken in sesame oil, while tasty, was far from outstanding. However the chopped fish head with bitter gourd and black bean sauce is definitely worth a try.

If you’re limited to trying one dish, make it the Nonya-style fish head curry, it is one of the best in Singapore.

Rating - Food: 4/5; Service: 3/5; Value: 3/5

Lau Hock Guan Kee Bak Kut Teh

#01-02,  328 Joo Chiat Road

Tel: 6440 4928

Opening hours: 8.30am to 4pm, 4.30pm to 12mn, closed on Thu.

Also check out two other hawker food recommendations by Dr Leslie Tay!


Best Chinese style nasi lemak?

Dr Leslie Tay: Why is Ponggol Nasi Lemak worth the long wait.



Irresistible Indian rojak and all things red

To Tampines for excellent Indian rojak, mee kuah and sup tulang!

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