Saturday, July 31, 2010

beginning of fishhead curry








i have mentioned in an earlier posting that my moving around all over the island has lead me to uncover 'new' things. in fact, since my retirement i have made a lot of 'discoveries'. for example, i have learnt a lot about the flora and fauna that i come across during my nature walks, so much so that i have been approached to co-author a book on common trees in singapore. i have also come to realise that in spite of our short history, we are rich in heritage.

of course, you do not have to be a retiree to learn new things but somehow when your mind is not pre-occupied with work, you are able to see things in a refreshing new light.

last week while exploring the race course road area and after talking to some of my old friends, i have found out something about the beginning of the fishhead curry dish.

muthu's curry restaurant is synonymous with this very popular indian dish. in fact, muthu's has won accolades for having the best fishhead curry award. i used to think that the first owner of muthu's must have been the pioneer of this dish. that was before one of my friends told me that when the shop first opened shop along one of the lanes off race course road, it sold the traditional south indian dishes. he used to pay between $1.20 and $1.50 for his lunch which consisted of rice, vegetables and a portion of either fish or chicken.

according to another friend, the pioneer of fishhead curry was the owner of gomez curry, which preceded muthu's curry, apollo banana leaf and our makan place. however, there was something else surprising that he told me. the chef who cooked this dish at its restaurant at selegie house was a hainanese man. he used to eat there when gomez curry, which started at sophia road, opened up a branch. i did a check on the internet and it proved that my friend was correct.

fish head curry was first concocted in a small restaurant in tank road about 30 years ago (in 2002). the brainchild of an indian man, gomez, the head of the fish was used to suit the local taste. fish head was not particularly an indian delicacy. understanding it to be a favourite with the chinese, gomez tried this dish to please his chinese customers. since then, the dish has become a hit in singapore and across the causeway. (extracted from singapore infopedia)

across the causeway, in johor bahru, there is a restaurant - kim loong restaurant on jalan wong ah fook - that is popular for its fishhead curry. each time i walk past the shop, it is crowded with customers.

i just hope that another country will not try and claim this dish as one of their traditional dishes.

8 comments:

Donnie said...

Hi, This is Dominic, grandson of Gomez. My grandfather started the restaurant at Sophie road in 1940s. He returned to India by 1950s, and after that there was no looking back to Singapore.

yg said...

hi dominic, so sorry for this late response. i did not see your comment until now. thanks for visiting my blog and providing the information about your grandfather.

Vincent Ooi said...

I miss the Gomez curry in Selegie. This is the fish head curry in singapore. They have the kurumak chicken, flower crab, fish callet, and many. The shop use to operate by a fat indian man with a chinese old lady. He left than the owner of the chinese coffee took over using the old lady as an icon. After that HDB tender the shop to digital camera business. Remenber we will ask for more curry and add our own chicken to the curry. This curry remind of my childhood days.

Vincent Ooi said...

I miss the Gomez curry in Selegie. This is the fish head curry in singapore. They have the kurumak chicken, flower crab, fish callet, and many. The shop use to operate by a fat indian man with a chinese old lady. He left than the owner of the chinese coffee took over using the old lady as an icon. After that HDB tender the shop to digital camera business. Remenber we will ask for more curry and add our own chicken to the curry. This curry remind of my childhood days.

Vincent Ooi said...

I miss the Gomez curry in Selegie. This is the fish head curry in singapore. They have the kurumak chicken, flower crab, fish callet, and many. The shop use to operate by a fat indian man with a chinese old lady. He left than the owner of the chinese coffee took over using the old lady as an icon. After that HDB tender the shop to digital camera business. Remenber we will ask for more curry and add our own chicken to the curry. This curry remind of my childhood days.

Vincent Ooi said...

I miss the Gomez curry in Selegie. This is the fish head curry in singapore. They have the kurumak chicken, flower crab, fish callet, and many. The shop use to operate by a fat indian man with a chinese old lady. He left than the owner of the chinese coffee took over using the old lady as an icon. After that HDB tender the shop to digital camera business. Remenber we will ask for more curry and add our own chicken to the curry. This curry remind of my childhood days.

Vincent Ooi said...

I miss the Gomez curry in Selegie. This is the fish head curry in singapore. They have the kurumak chicken, flower crab, fish callet, and many. The shop use to operate by a fat indian man with a chinese old lady. He left than the owner of the chinese coffee took over using the old lady as an icon. After that HDB tender the shop to digital camera business. Remenber we will ask for more curry and add our own chicken to the curry. This curry remind of my childhood days.

Vincent Ooi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.