Monday, October 30, 2006

Give me a Kari Pap!

Fong’s Special Chicken Curry Puff
Blk 448 Clementi Ave 3
#01-45 S(120448)

I am a huge curry puff fan since SJI days and sadly I have seen what used to be many a good curry puff becomes a lesser quality product due to the course of business expansion. Just look at Old Chang Kee and Selara from the old Rex Cinemas.One can understand the ambition and desire to succeed in every business but when food is concern, it is the more personal and human touches in preparation that often delivers better results, simply because of passion and experience. Machines only produce what is fed into it. They can’t tell you that the potatoes used today are starchier and hence required less water and cooking time, resulting in a mash instead of soft chunks.

I have a deep passion and respect for those who produce handcrafted food items instead of relying heavily on machines. I strongly admire their guts that despite knowing the limitations on the number of pieces that can be produced with a pair of hands, these people still go ahead to run a business against all odds in terms of food cost, labour and ridiculous rental prices in space starved Singapore, not to mention the modest profit enough to get by day in day out. For that, their sacrifice, hard work and long hours are unmatchable.

Fong’s Curry Puff in Clementi hawker centre (Blk 448) is one such business that I know. Over the years, they have been contended to be where they are despite the media recognition and customer support that has been built up. Fong’s curry puffs are made to order and never done in big batches on advance. Hence you always get a piping hot curry puff so much so that I have often been scalded on my tongue by eating the delicious snack too hastily. It has got generous chunks of chicken meat and potatoes and a decent wedge of hardboiled egg. Most important of all, the filling is generous, nicely spiced with their homemade blend of curry powder and moist without being soggy. The thin pastry crust with some buttery notes encapsulates the generous warm moist filling and because of the right spices combination, makes every bite a lovely indulgence. Most importantly, they never make extras curry puffs to wait for customers. Rather you have to wait for them to be prepared if you happen to turn up at a non peak hour. I guess their policy is that the customers will have to chase after the piping hot curry puffs instead of the other way round. So don’t bother if you haven’t got the time to appreciated one of the best handcrafted things in life.

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