It is heartening to see another 2 Young Hawker who is willing to sacrifice their day job as traders in the bank to labour in a confined hawker stall at Telok Blangah Drive Food Centre. Deniece's dad owned the stall but was looking for someone to takeover. Deniece and his business partner Joel decided to jump on the opportunity, quitted their comfortable job and started their next career path as hawker. After taking over the curry rice stall, Truly Curry Rice (真咖喱饭), the pair spent months fine tuning the dishes and introducing new items to win over the heart and stomach of their customers.
The Pork Chop was pretty decent with its crumbly exterior and was succulent inside. If I am to pick bones from an egg, I felt that the seasoning can be a bit heavier or maybe offer a tomato based Hainanese pork chop.
The Chap Chye was really well executed bringing out the natural sweetness of the cabbage with its delightful texture.
The Meatball here was really huge and well seasoned. If there is some savoury like salted egg to give it some contrasting flavour that will be perfect.
The basic necessity of a good plate of curry rice is the Curry. Both Joel and Deniece have taken the original recipe and did some refinement. The end product is a fragrant and flavourful curry that has a lingering spiciness on the palate. It got the approval from all of us and I will be happy to drench the whole plate of rice with it.
Personally I think it is not necessary to use the five spice powder for the Deep Fried Prawn as it makes the prawns darker in colour which I thought was not too presentable. Nevertheless, the prawn was deep fried to a nice crispy bite, the batter was not too thick and it was well seasoned.
I took a bite of the Eggplant and turned to my friends. My immediate reaction was, "hey guys you got to try this, the hae bee hiam is very good". The fragrant hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp) complemented the sweetness of the eggplant beautifully. The eggplant was also not overcooked retaining a bit of the crunchiness. What heartened me is to know the hae bee hiam was cooked from scratch at the stall by the 2 young hawker. If one day they decided to sell the hae bee hiam in bottle, I would gladly buy from them.
I know not many people enjoy eating eggplant. If you are one of them, you can try the Long Beans instead. It is stir fried using the same hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp).
The delectable Assam Calamari felt a bit out of place with its lemongrass flavour which is usually found in Thai cuisine. Saying that it was still a well balanced and executed dish. The calamari was also fresh and crunchy. It is one of those dish that you either love it or hate it in my opinion.
The Bitter Gourd Omelette was fried to a nice brown crisp with the well seasoned omelette complementing the bitterness of the bitter gourd.
One look at the Braised Pork Belly and I could tell it needed more time to fully absorb the flavour. The braised pork belly did not have that melted in the mouth texture and the flavour was not robust enough.
Both Joel and Deniece are not Hainanese and Truly Curry Rice is not an authentic Hainanese curry rice stall. They strive to serve their customers with good food and food that they themselves love to eat. Hence it is not surprise to see Joel took his mum's Lor Bak recipe and introduced the item at the stall. The chilli dip that goes along with the lor bak is also freshly prepared at the stall.
There has been a lot of media coverage about preserving our Hawker Heritage and efforts to encourage Young Hawkers to take up the trade. It seems like it is a dying trade where the replacement rate is out paced by the older generation of hawkers getting too old to handle the workload or passing on. Coupled by long work hours, working environment and non recognition, there is a lack of the younger generation willing to be a hawker. It is really heartening to see Joel and Deniece sacrificing probably their social life and high paid salary job waking up as early as 4am and sweating out in a hot and stuffy hawker stall prepping and cooking for the day.
Truly Curry Rice
Telok Blangah Drive Food Centre
79 Telok Blangah Drive
Nearest MRT: Telok Blangah (CC Line)
Mon-Fri: 1045am – Sold Out (around 1pm)
Sat-Sun: 10am – Sold Out (around 130pm)
1) Alight at Telok Blangah MRT station. Take Exit A. Take the overhead bridge to the other side of the road. Cut across block 45 to Telok Blangah Drive. At Telok Blangah Drive, turn left and walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes.