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Enticing Fish Curry – January 1st, 2006

In this globalize world, societies are influenced by one another, which is apparent in all walks of life – be it’s arts, costumes, beliefs, language and a step more – marital relationships. Food is not an exception. Serangoon Road and the adjacent roads in Singapore are full of Indian stores.

Serangoon road in Singapore is a main area of shopping for thousands of Singapore Indian residents and expatriates. The Chinese and the Indian societies in Singapore patronize each other’s culture. One such aspect is the Chinese’s instant love for the Indian food. Just for a simple reason that the Indian food is hot and spicy, contrast to their bland flavor. It is a norm for the Chinese to eat most of their meals at the hawker centers, and they cook seldom at home.

Usually, the Chinese diet include soups, fresh vegetables blended with sauce and vinegar, boiled chicken, fish, duck-egg, chicken-egg, different kinds of noodles, chicken rice, porridge and others. Tomato sauce, oyster sauce, soya sauce are their must ingredients. Unlike the Indians, tamarind is not an ingredient for the Chinese. Indian restaurants abound the serangoon road area. Among the many, the Chinese abound ‘Muthu’s curry’ restaurant.

What is the reason behind? It is for a single reason – Muthu’s curry’s head steamboat fish entices the Chinese with its indelible flavor. The Chinese flock Muthu’s curry to savor the taste of this hot and unique flavored ‘Head steamboat fish curry’.

Muthu’s curry restaurant situated in the Race course road is an ornate. Prawns, fish, chicken, egg and others are neatly displayed, which is a clear sign of a prominent non-vegetarian restaurant.

I thought of visiting Muthu’s curry to catch up in person with the Chinese customers to find the reasons for their liking to Indian food. The common idea is that, the Chinese food varies largely in all aspects like the looks, flavor, taste etc.., to the Indian food. That compels the majority of the Chinese to explore the Indian food.

I happened to talk with an Insurance agent, Mr.Jackie Hong and he said that, the hot spicy flavor that most attracts him to the Indian food. He says, “The Chinese refrain completely from cooking chilies. Alternatively, they include pepper to cook spicy items”. Hence he frequently visits Muthu’s curry to savor its spicy fish curry.

Another Chinese patron of Indian food, Mr. Loh Hong, eats at Muthu’s curry every week. He treats his friends from Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia at Muthu’s curry, and undoubtedly those people too have enjoyed the unique flavor.

Upon the unanimous response to the enticing steamboat fish curry, we approached Muthu’s Curry owner, Mr. Kasi to share the secret behind the preparation, of this outstanding curry.

He attributes the success of the restaurant to his late father Mr. Iyyakannu’s innovative idea to cater to other races. In 1969, there were only a handful of restaurants that served fish curry. At that time, Mr. Iyyakannu came up with his own idea of an exclusive recipe, which would appeal to the Chinese. When this idea was formalized, as expected it was well received among the Chinese. From that day to today for about thirty five years, Muthu’s curry has been catering the ‘Steamboat fish curry’ to its customers, who 75% are Chinese.

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