Sunday, 19 April 2015

Truly Curry Rice Singapore 真咖喱饭 JK1106

It's been over a year or so since a wave of young people jumped on the hawker bandwagon in Singapore. The media savvy "hawkerpreneurs", "hipster hawkers" sparked an old and new media frenzy. Everyone was hailed a hero saving Singapore's waning street food heritage.


The story of Truly Curry 真咖喱饭 and it's founders, former bankers, Joel and Deniece is well known now. (Both Joel and Deniece are under 30.)


To cut the long story short, Deniece and Joel took over Deniece's dad's hawker stall at Telok Blangah Drive when the latter reached retirement.

It's been nearly two years now, Truly Curry Rice is still going strong and the fire is still burning bright in the bellies of Joel and Deniece. They are now joined at the stall by Joshua, Joel's younger brother.

I was privileged to be invited to taste Truly Curry Rice and meet with Joel and Deniece.


Truly Curry Rice 真咖喱饭 is located at Telok Blangah Drive Food Centre. This small food centre is well designed, so it is bright, cool and airy inside even during mid day.


Truly curry rice.

Steamed white rice drenched in a flood of freshly made curry gravy.

Deniece told us that they have taken a year to truly appreciate the finer points of selecting and cooking rice the best way, in the spirit of continuous improvement.


At Truly Curry Rice, the curries are made from scratch everyday with chilis, spices and herbs. Premixes and instant curry paste are never used.

You will be able to discern the aroma and flavours of freshly made curry.


Battered pork chop fried to a crisp outside.


Curry squid.

The curry gravy was nicely spicy sweet though the squid itself was stiff and had not much flavour.


Eggplant with dried shrimp sambal (hae bee hiam).


Simple stir fried potato slices with stewed pork. Many Singapore mums cook this at home.


Braised cabbage or chap chai.


Bitter gourd stir fried with fermented black beans.


Long beans stir fried with house made hae bee hiam (dried shrimp sambal).


Braised belly pork.


Simple fried bee hoon with stewed pork at SGD1 per serving. Truly Curry Rice sells this fried bee hoon together with two sides as a breakfast set for SGD2.


Overall, Truly Curry Rice is about simple familiar dishes. The savoury, sweet and spicy flavours are mild and well balanced. It's very close to home cooked food; simple dishes made with natural ingredients cooked with simple techniques.

In this day and age of mass produced fare, such simple comfort food is a blessing.

Don't take this for granted because there is a lot of hard work and commitment behind such old style food.


Joel and Deniece start work at the stall at 1:00am everyday to be ready for business at 6:00am.

Yes, 1:00am.

Joel and Deniece insist on cooking everything from scratch and the small work space demands that the cooking be done in sequence, one dish after another. Of course, Joel and Deniece can get more sleep by resorting to premixes, instant curries and pre-cooked food. But, then, we won't be getting truly curry 真咖喱.

We are getting truly curry only because of Joel and Deniece's personal sacrifices.


Speaking with Joel, I didn't get the sense that he was just looking for an alternative route to money and fame. Aside from dealing with the financial realities, fame and fortune seemed far from Joel and Deniece's minds.

Joel was talking about preserving our hawker heritage. And not just from the tastes and flavours point of view, but also about the continued accessibility of affordable good food for people.

Joel shared the joy and satisfaction that he felt when he saw happiness in the eyes of old folks getting their familiar tastes at prices they can afford comfortably.

Priceless. This good feeling is what kept Joel and Deniece going.

And, these did not sound like public relations spin at all. Joel uttered them with fire in his eyes and conviction in his breath while Deniece quietly affirmed Joel's words with a determined look.

There is no delusion in Joel's outlook, though perhaps some youthful idealism. And, that is good.

Joel kept stressing that they are in this for the long haul. I wish them success and will support them with whatever means available to me.

If we have more new generation like Joel and Deniece, our hawker heritage will be saved.


Restaurant: Truly Curry Rice 真咖喱饭

AddressTelok Blangah Drive Food Centre, 79 Telok Blangah Drive, #01-29, Singapore 100079
GPS1.272952, 103.807724
Hours: 6:30am till sold out (around 3:00pm)

Non Halal

Date visited: 19 Apr 2015

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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is the same as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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