Ocean Fish Head Curry has Peranakan-inspired assam curry fish head
If not for the name of the stall, and the huge claypots of curry fish head on every occupied table, you might think that this Toa Payoh stall with a long queue is an economic rice cai png stall like any other. Well, the kopitiam happens to belong to the owner of this cai png stall, with two other stalls in Telok Ayer and Bedok! To be clear, they do sell cai png, but Ocean Curry Fish Head is better known for selling one of the best curry fish heads in Singapore.
Ocean Fish Head Curry has gained a loyal following since 1983 for their signature Fish Head Curry, made with a unique Peranakan-inspired curry, generous ingredients, and huge, fresh fish heads. They only use high-grade Angoli, or gold-banded jobfish, as the fish’s firm white flesh makes it the ideal choice for fish head curry.
Half a fish head, which is so large it barely fits in the claypot and serves three to four, is priced at $30. For those of us who are here with five or more kakis, go instead for the Full Curry Fish Head, priced at $40.
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Unlike at other stalls, Ocean Fish Head Curry cooks their fish directly in the curry, infusing the gravy with Angoli’s natural sweetness. Soaked in curry, the meat is soft, flaky and melts in your mouth.
Don’t forget to eat the cheeks, which are considered the most tender part of the fish. If you dare, try the eyes and lips too━they’re considered a delicacy and their firm plumpness proves just how fresh the fish served at this stall is.
Their special curry comes from a traditional Nyonya recipe, which is noticeably thicker and more aromatic compared to what you’d find at other stalls. Along with a generous amount of lady’s fingers and sliced eggplant, the combination of spices, coconut milk, and Sarawak pineapples makes this curry an intoxicating blend of sweet, spicy, and sour that you’ll want to drink up.
The stall also has a selection of zi char dishes that you can order on the side. Try their best selling Sambal Prawns ($6/$10/$15) which has fresh, juicy prawns cooked with lady’s fingers and spicy-sweet sambal chilli. Other popular dishes on the menu include Sambal La La ($7/$10/$12), Butter Prawns ($6/$10/$15), and Mutton Rendang ($6/$10/$15).
If you come around lunchtime, you’d notice that the majority of people in the snaking queue are office workers here to buy economic rice, rattling off their cai png order with the practised ease of regular customers. If you are here with friends, you can also ask for plates of individual cai png dishes to share with the table.
Choose your liao from the vast array of dishes on display, such as the ever popular sweet and sour pork, chicken curry, and assorted veggies to balance out your dish. A plate of rice with Sambal Chilli Long Beans, Chicken Curry, and Sweet and Sour Pork cost us $5.60.
Although Ocean Curry has three branches around the country, finding a free table at any of the kopitiams may be difficult during the lunch and dinner rush, so it’s best to avoid those hours if you prefer to sit down and slowly savour your meal with family. The stall also offers free islandwide delivery with a minimum order of $50 through their website.
For more curry fish head recommendations, check out our guide to the best curry fish head restaurants in Singapore. Also read our review of Mama Curry, a new curry fish head stall at Golden Mile Food Centre!
Address: Block 92 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #01-264, Singapore 310092
Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 9pm (closed alternate Tuesdays and the day after public holidays)
Tel: 6252 2168
Ocean Fish Head Curry is not a halal-certified eatery.
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Photos taken by John Lery Villanueva.
This was an independent visit by Eatbook.
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