Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry Review: Old-School Claypot Chicken Curry At Redhill - EatBook.sg
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Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry Review: Old-School Claypot Chicken Curry At Redhill

23rd May 2019

Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry sticks to tradition

Hock Shun Curry flatlay

I come from a Nyonya family. Growing up, most weeknight dinners were cooked by my grandmother, who whipped up traditional favourites like ayam buah keluak and chap chye on a regular basis. One dish that she’s gradually made less over the years is Nyonya chicken curry. That’s because the process of preparing the aromatic rempah, or spice blend, is cumbersome and time-consuming.

It’s safe to say that many Singaporeans have similar fond memories of chicken curry made by their elders. Serving up claypots full of tantalising yellow gravy, Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry brings this iconic childhood dish out of the home and to the masses.

Hock Shun Curry loyalty card

This Redhill Market stall is helmed by a couple in their 30s, and despite the nostalgic dish, influences of a younger generation come through. That’s most prominent in their loyalty card that’s certainly not a common sight in a hawker centre.

Traditional hawker businesses, especially in lower-profile hawker centres such as this, are predicated on loyalty and a strong base of regulars. The loyalty card, therefore, is a cute way to reward faithful customers and keep them coming back, as every 10 orders of curry entitles you to another free pot.

Food at Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry

Hock Shun Curry claypot curry chicken wings

Here’s the million dollar question: why the claypot? Rather than a gimmick to evoke nostalgia, these hawkers use claypots as they retain heat and flavour better. It’s all to ensure your bowl of curry chicken remains warm and flavourful from start to finish.

The Claypot Curry Chicken Wings ($4) arrived bubbling like a witch’s cauldron, except it was way more appetising. A familiar, comforting fragrance wafted from it, bringing childhood memories of my grandmother’s food rushing back. Each order comes with two chicken wings, a duo of sizable potatoes, and a choice of rice or bread. It’s great value-for-money.

Digging in, I instantly understood why my colleague described this curry as reminiscent of “the one [her] domestic helper [cooked] for [her] at home”. I’m 99% sure the stall owners aren’t related to me, but their curry simply tasted like my grandmother’s.

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Hock Shun Curry claypot curry chicken wings curry

The rich gravy was creamy and complex, rounding off with a surprising sour accent. Coconut milk dominated the aftertaste, lingering long after we had gulped the curry down. Heat-wise, it was gentle, with mild spice that dissipated quickly. Even my chilli-fearing dining companion had no trouble wolfing down the curry. Hock Shun Curry claypot curry chicken wings intro

We didn’t really see the point of the claypot at first. But that became clearer as we approached the bottom. Curry usually deteriorates as you consume it, with the magically spicy aroma gradually vanishing. However, the opposite was true here.

Towards the end of our meal, the curry’s flavour intensified, imbued with a delightful earthiness. That unexpected depth pushed it from “elevated cai fan curry” to a whole new level. Mopping up dregs of curry with lightly toasted bread was the highlight of our meal.

Hock Shun Curry claypot curry chicken wings potato

Call me a heretic, but potatoes are ironically the best part of chicken curry for me. Unfortunately, these potatoes were off the mark; a touch too soft and not permeated by curry flavour. That’s likely because they were showered with curry on order, rather than being steeped in that luscious gravy over time. Hock Shun Curry claypot curry chicken wings chicken

Similar to its tuber companions, the chicken wings were only met with curry on order. As a result, our poultry didn’t have the fall-apart-tender, stewed texture we were looking for. That said, it certainly wasn’t tough, and for $4, there isn’t much cause for complaint. Hock Shun Curry turmeric rice

Apart from bread, you can partner your curry with white or turmeric rice. The latter isn’t a common sight, but these yellow grains carry a gentle spiced aroma that complements the melange of spices in whichever curry you order. Drenched with chicken curry, it was like a ghetto Chinese knockoff of chicken biryani. Hock Shun Curry claypot fish curry

Our Claypot Fish Curry ($5.50) arrived with a slightly darker, reddish hue, though not nearly as crimson as at fish head curry joints like Banana Leaf Apollo. The fish component came in the form of a pearly white batang fish or Spanish mackerel steak, and was kept company by brinjal, lady’s finger, and tomato wedges.

Assam curry is a weakness of mine, so I was pleased that our gravy bore a strong sour tang. Think your classic Chinese-style fish head curry but richer.

Hock Shun Curry claypot fish curry curry

Assam works best with fish because its powerful zing masks any unpleasant fishiness, and those powers were only magnified by the curry’s velvety texture. However, this curry was two-dimensionally sour and spicy; satisfying, but lacking the chicken’s depth and nuance of flavour. Hock Shun Curry claypot fish curry fish

Unlike the chicken curry, we had only good things to say about this assam curry’s ingredients. Batang is so popular because it’s so easy to find, but it’s equally easy to mess up. Overcooking it is an all-too-common hawker blunder, resulting in hard and powdery flesh.

This steak was thankfully soft and flaky, with minimal fishy aroma. Its milky flesh soaked up the curry like a sponge, carrying those piquant flavours well.

Hock Shun Curry claypot fish curry intro

The vegetables also deserve a shout-out, with the eggplant being a stand out. When not stewed thoroughly, this purple veggie is spongy and tough. Here, it was cooked completely, with a tender and creamy texture. Hock Shun Curry claypot mixed vegetables curry curry

While it had a similar tint to the chicken curry, our Claypot Mixed Vegetables Curry ($3.50) entered another realm of flavour. This claypot was absolutely laden with ingredients, composed by tau pok, cabbage, carrot and long beans. Hock Shun Curry claypot mixed vegetables curry curry intro

This curry was the least impressive of our trio. Cai fan vegetable curry is an appropriate comparison, but with strong, earthy whiffs and a thicker consistency. Inoffensive by all counts, but for a speciality curry stall, we had loftier expectations. Hock Shun Curry claypot mixed vegetables curry curry vegetables

The tau pok was our favourite ingredient. Its absorbency acting as a wonderful canvas to showcase the curry’s flavour. The rest of the lineup was appropriately tender, but nothing noteworthy. All in all, we wouldn’t hesitate to stump up another $0.50 for the chicken curry.

Ambience at Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry

Hock Shun Curry ambience

A five-minute walk from Redhill MRT station, this quiet food centre is frequented mostly by nearby residents. While it’s a far cry from its bustling, illustrious counterparts at Amoy Street and Maxwell Road, there’s always a diamond in the rough to be unearthed in these under-the-radar neighbourhoods.

The verdict

Hock Shun Curry verdict

Hock Shun Traditional Homemade Curry is a slice of home in Redhill. We enjoyed how they retained the soul of classic, home-style curry while flashing creativity through unconventional facets like turmeric rice and a loyalty system.

While nothing here will blow your mind, you’re assured a simple and immensely satisfying meal. That’s enough for us to make another trip down.

Fans of Chinese-style curry should also check out Cantonese Delights. If you prefer other styles of spicy gravy, take a look at Yes! Nasi Kukus and Japanese Curry Express for Malay and Japanese takes on this global dish.

Cantonese Delights Review: Fried Chicken Cutlet Noodles Drenched In Curry Sauce At Chinatown

Let us know your favourite spots for chicken curry in the comments below!

Address: 85 Redhill Lane, #01-66, Redhill Lane Block 85 Food Centre, Singapore 150085
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am to 9pm

Photos taken by Crystal Tan.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.

  • 7.5/10


    - 7.5/10

7.5/10

Summary

Pros
– Chicken curry had complex flavour
– Affordable prices
– Nifty loyalty system

Cons
– Curry potatoes were underwhelming
– Mixed vegetable curry was basic

Recommended dishes: Claypot Curry Chicken Wings ($4)

Opening hours: Tue-Sun 9am to 9pm

Address: 85 Redhill Lane, #01-66, Redhill Lane Block 85 Food Centre, Singapore 150085

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