Truly Test Kitchen – Young Hawkers Selling Curry Rice in Industrial Estate
Fans of Truly Curry Rice (真咖喱饭), rejoice! These young hawkerpreneurs who used to run a curry rice stall at Telok Blangah Food Centre has now been incorporated into their latest premise, “Truly Test Kitchen” – a sprawling 3000 square feet modern coffeeshop situated right in the industrial building of MacPherson.
“Industrial building? 7th storey? Crazy or what?” That was my first remark when I was finding my way to Jun Jie Industrial Building. It may sound like a crazy idea, but hey, after 3 years, Truly Curry Rice is still going strong and I believe they have grown the small brand into something bigger and promising.
From a small hawker stall to a coffeeshop, the young hawkers at Truly Test Kitchen aims to provide quality food at great value to people from all walks of life while preserving a dying hawker trade. The original space was a defunct canteen which eventually turned into a warehouse for companies here. When the trio took over, they revamped the entire place into an coffeeshop, catering predominantly to the large factory and office crowds in the vicinity.
Driven by what hawker food means to them, Truly Test Kitchen houses a total of five unique food stalls, singlehandedly created and meticulously managed by the trio. They include Truly Curry Rice, Miàn, Handmade Meatball Porridge & Traditional Yam / Carrot Cake, Truly Western and the drinks stall which sells super gao (thick) kopi.
For those who don’t know them, Deniece and Joel gave up their bank job and took over Deniece’s dad’s hawker stall at Telok Blangah Drive when the latter reached retirement. They are now joined at the stall by Joshua, Joel’s younger brother. Truly Curry Rice serves an amalgamation of hainanese curry rice, mixed with many home styled dishes. This is the much-loved flagship stall, now with a greatly enhanced and rejuvenated menu.
Their day starts at 3am (yes 3am) as they prepare for breakfast to start at 7am – which is an excellent plate of fried bee hoon. With the belief that food can be good and cheap, the trio tries to keep the prices low while serving good tasting dishes. Joel and Deniece insist on cooking everything from scratch and this bigger space in Macpherson allows them to work better and they are able to come up with more exciting dish.
The curry is served in excess, drenching your entire plate in more-ish curry flavours. Made from scratch daily, the rice is filled with chicken and assam curry. The curry is how it should be – thick and sticky but not overpowering in taste with a spiciness level that is suited for all.
Just a plate of pork chop and chap chye is good enough when you are having a good plate of curry rice. The pork chop here is still my favourite. It is deep fried in light batter leaving it moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
For a selection of vegetables, there are the Chap Chye, Bitter Gourd, Sambal Brinjal and braised radish. The braised radish is a new dish that most diners enjoy. It is cooked to a delectable softness and sweetness.
When you come home after school, what was the dish that your mother cook for you? Miàn is a novel concept featuring a plethora of homely, hearty & healthy noodle dishes. For only $3.50, choose from curry or ikan bilis soy stock base and any choice of minced meat – chicken, pork, beef. I actually prefer meat slices instead of minced meat for a better mouthfeel. Not sure about eating this bowl of curry noodles on such a hot weather, but it has a strong and complex scent of spiciness. Definitely a hearty finish.
Handmade Meatball Porridge & Traditional Yam / Carrot Cake
I make my own yam cake and pumpkin cake once in a blue moon, so I know exactly how tedious it is. Slicing the yam is already a tough job for me, and I am not even talking about steaming it, pressing it then pan frying it. Truly offers a nostalgic rendition of the classic Cantonese-style porridge and traditional yam / carrot cake lovingly made from scratch. The pan fried pumpkin cake offers a slight crisp exterior with soft and moist texture within. Pairing it with the sweet sauce and sambal chilli, this is probably our favourite dish for breakfast.
In addition, they also does meatball porridge. The whole preparation of the porridge is also not easy. In order to reach a perfect thick porridge consistency, it has to be stirred constantly for 2 hours. The porridge is then cooked with different ingredients such as chicken ball, minced beef, pork ball, century egg or peanut. It’s one simple home-cooked food, and I think it will be better if the meat balls are a little bigger and more solid.
Truly Western is an innovative take on the ever-popular local western cuisine with truly unique offerings at amazing value. How cheap are their pasta? ONLY $3.50! And the portions, omg, SO HUGE LAH! Confirm eat already will be full. Options include chicken aglio olio, chicken marinara, creamy chicken, curry chicken, seafood aglio olio, seafood marinara and meatball marinara. They also serve pork chop baked rice ($4.50) and chicken N waffles ($4.50).
Truly Test Kitchen is testament of their unwavering drive to create the perfect business model that seeks to represent the future of our integral hawker culture. Joel believes that, a good business must be able to make the lives of people better. They try their best in terms of taste, but portions here are definitely hearty. Their passion to preserve the hawker heritage is still very remarkable.
Truly Test Kitchen
Address: 153 Kampong Ampat #07-05, Singapore 368326
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 7am to 2.30pm, closed on Sundays
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