Seafood connoisseurs will know that the best part of the fish is its head. One of the best ways of savouring it is via a steaming claypot of fish head curry in Singapore.
We’re not talking about those skinny, small catches with nothing to it — we’re giving special mention to bigger fishes like red snapper, especially when they’re cooked in a claypot of curry and a mix of vegetables like eggplant and okra (aka lady’s fingers). Serve it with a bowl of steaming rice and you have a winning combination for a rainy day.
The cheeks, the most popular section, is always packed with silky smooth meat, and we even know some who fight over the eyes. For us, our favourite bit is securing the pieces of collagen between the pieces of meat — what can we say, we’ll do anything to keep our skin bouncy as we age.
From sour variations like assam curry fish head to spicy ones like the South Indian style of fish head curry, read on for all our favourites around the island.
Here’s where to find the best fish head curry in Singapore:
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This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore
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Apart from its steamed fish, Zai Shun’s signature curry fish head is what you’ll find most diners having on their tables here. The unassuming stall serves up a variety of dishes that go with plain porridge or rice, so you can pair the spicy, tangy gravy from the fish with the fragrant carb options here. The wild caught red snapper fish used here is also extremely fresh, resulting in tender flesh that breaks apart with your chopsticks easily.
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You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like the fish head curry here at Banana Leaf Apolo. The tamarind and pineapple in the gravy adds a sharp kick to the spicy number, and works wonders when doused over the restaurant’s signature biryani.
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Muthu’s Curry has made a mark for itself amongst tourists and locals alike. Besides baskets of warm, delicious naan, it’s best known for its South Indian style fish head curry, which you’ll find on just about every table here. The dish here features the catch of the season (Sea Bream, Sea Bass, or Red Snapper), and the flavourful rich broth that starts with a secret base of aromatic spices is complemented by generous portions of tomatoes, brinjal, pineapple chunks, and okra.
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You’ll find yourself at Yu Cun Curry Fish Head even if you’re not purposefully looking for it – the giant red and white signboard against the grey building along Upper Paya Lebar Road is enough to catch anyone’s attention. The generous, almost overflowing brown claypot is served with the head of a Gold band Snapper, and vegetables like ladyfingers, eggplant, long bean and tomato. Our favourite ingredient, however, has to be the copious amounts of bean curd skin that soaks up all the very lemak curry.
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Established since 1983, Ocean Curry Fish Head remains a stalwart in the scene for this iconic dish. You don’t have to take it from us: celebrities and ministers alike have graced the locale too. Unlike other stalls that steam the fish head before placing it into the claypot, it’s cooked with the curry straight to absorb every bit of the spicy-sour number. The gravy is also richer compared to other stalls, so we recommend having it with a bowl of rice (or two!).
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Similar to Ocean Curry Fish Head, Nana Curry has also been in the scene for quite some time — over 30 years, to be exact. Sometimes referred to as Marina South Curry, the establishment currently has seven outlets across the island to whet the appetites of hungry diners. The neon orange bowl of curry (available in a whole fish head or half), is a spicy number that’ll keep you salivating after each sip, balanced by the acidity of the assam in the dish and pieces of tau pok, lady’s fingers, and yam.
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Whether you’re looking for a meal to share or just want to dine alone (we all have those days!), you can count on Jia Yi Curry Fish Head Eatery. The signature Assam Curry Fish Head – packed with a generous amount of vegetables – is of course, what you should definitely order when you’re here. Not up for something spicy that day? They serve other zi char dishes for you to satisfy all your cravings.
(Image credit: @jiayicurryfishhead via Instagram)