There was a much talked-about family feud which made the news in Singapore last year, around May 2022. It involved two brothers who ran the the 70-year-old Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff at Hong Lim Food Centre who broke up, and ended up with two rival stalls barely 3 yards from each other.
Being a “local” Singapore story, it never reached us over in Penang. So, when I was at Hong Lim Food Centre last Tuesday, and saw two curry puff stalls with roughly similar names just one stall apart from each other, I innocently asked the young lady at #02-34 Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff if they are related.
“NO, we are NOT!”, she barked, before she recovered her composure somewhat and asked what I’d like to have.
My curiousity piqued, I bought one curry puff from her, then trudged over to #02-34 Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff Original, and bought one from the vendor there.
Put together side-by-side, the two curry puffs from the two different stalls were remarkably similar: crispy, mottled skin, with layers running down a rounded shape, and fine pleats sealing the folded curry puff fillings in.
Left: Curry puff from 𝙏𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙮 𝘾𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙪𝙛𝙛 𝙊𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙎𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 1952 (#02-36);
Right: Curry puff from 𝙏𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙮 𝘾𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙪𝙛𝙛 𝙎𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 1952 (#02-34).
But dissected, one can clearly see the difference in the two fillings:
The one from 𝙏𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙮 𝘾𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙪𝙛𝙛 𝙊𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙎𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 1952 (#02-36) is the older of the two - the filling is paler in colour, more turmeric yellow than chili-red. The stall is run by older brother, Peter Ng, 57.
It’s got mushier texture, as the cooked potatoes are mashed up together with the curried chicken. A wedge of hard-boiled egg completed the ensemble.
The curry puff from 𝙏𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙮 𝘾𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙪𝙛𝙛 𝙎𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 1952 (#02-34) has a deeper reddish-hue, and stronger flavour & aroma. The stall is run by the younger brother, Ray Ng, 51, who seemed to be supported by their father, Ng Yong Cheong, the founder of their family business.
The filling here was chunkier, with the finely-cubed potatoes quite visible.
All things being equal, I’d personally go back to the second stall, i.e. #02-34 as I like my curry puffs chunkier, and with a more pronounced curry flavour.
Coincidentally, I found out later from my friends - who filled me up with the back-story when I turned up at our table with my two bags of curry puffs - that the second stall, despite being the newer of the two, currently has double the business of the first one.
𝙏𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙮 𝘾𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙪𝙛𝙛 𝙊𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙎𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 1952 (#02-36); and 𝙏𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙞𝙣 𝘾𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙥𝙮 𝘾𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙋𝙪𝙛𝙛 𝙎𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 1952 (#02-34).
Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, 531A Upper Cross St, Singapore 051531
Operating hours: 8am to 4pm, Mon to Sat. Closed on Sundays.