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Fish Head Curry ‘Steamboat’ By Mandarin-Speaking Indian Zi Char Hawker

The hearty dish is served at Golden Charcoal Seafood, which will be relocating to Sembawang soon.

Fish Head Curry ‘Steamboat’ By Mandarin-Speaking Indian Zi Char Hawker

Winter is coming – Singapore’s version of it at least, with wet weather forecasted for much of December. Perfect for some bracing fish head curry steamboat by zi char stall Golden Charcoal Seafood in a Bedok North kopitiam.

Here, the curry's gravy is thinned out and served bubbling away on a portable gas (alas, not charcoal despite the stall’s name) stove. “Fish head curry gravy is very rich. But this is a soup. You know laksa? The pattern is like that – it’s very fragrant,” the stall’s 38-year-old head cook Devid Retanasamy assures us in Mandarin (more on that later).

The dish is inspired by fish head steamboat (which the stall also sells), and comes with fixings that draw inspiration from both of the popular zi char dishes: tau pok, brinjal and half a red snapper head with thick bee hoon, tomatoes and Chinese cabbage. So it’s basically like claypot fish head curry, but served in a gas-fuelled hotpot. You only get to add the noodles into the pot yourself – everything else will be served pre-cooked.

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