This Briyani is a Chef Favourite!

Hello fellow Foodies! This week, our Makan Kaki – F&B entrepreneur, consultant and host of CNA’S Food To Change The World – Chef Ming Tan is back with a recommendation for “second to none” Briyani that boasts fluffy & fragrant rice, tender and tasty meat plus a few other additions that take it to the next level. First introduced to Chef Ming by his buddy, local celebrity chef and TV personality Shahrizal Salleh (Chef Bob), Geylang Briyani Stall is run by Hamid and his family. Chef Ming is partial to the mutton briyani, but they also have a chicken version worth trying.



Some highlights of Hamid’s mutton briyani:

First, the plate is messily laden with flat scoops of their long grain basmati rice that looks bejeweled, alternately glistening bright yellow, orange and pale white. With good quality basmati rice served here, you also get a slight scent of rose and pandan. The rice is also seasoned and spiced with a hint of the curry they cook their the chicken and the mutton in, which enhances the flavour and aroma of the tasty dish. Next, the meat of your choice is placed atop the bed of rice and a little bowl of curry is served on the side. Also on the plate is a dollop of pickle that’s almost like a thick chutney – it’s fruity and sweet to give balance to the very savoury rice and meat.

According to Chef Ming, the mutton is wonderfully tender after stewing in its spicy sauce, but I had to take his word for it. By the time I rushed down after work at 2.30pm (they close at 3pm), they were sold out. Thankfully, they still had chicken briyani, which I gamely ordered for a taste.

A large, whole chicken leg smothered in sauce sat on its bed of rice, but interestingly (and perhaps because I was so disappointed the mutton briyani was sold out), the little bowl of curry on the side was redolent with the distinct aroma of mutton and packed with bits of brinjal, carrot, potato and chilli. The chicken was tender and moist. The rice in itself was already delicious, but drizzling the curry all over intensified the flavour and unified the entire dish of meat and carbs.

However, the crowning glory has got to be their fried shallots, an essential crispy garnish they painstakingly prepare from scratch daily. In fact, when I paid a visit to the stall at Chef Ming’s behest, I witnessed a little mountain of shiny purple shallots being sliced and prepped for frying.

It takes skill to achieve such a beautifully burnished cook – they have chew, they have crunch and are so dark you might think they are burnt, but oh no, the deeply caramelised shallots retain an irresistible sweetness and fragrance. So be sure to ask nicely for some – they’ll take your briyani to the next level. 

For Chef Ming, the individual components of the dish are tasty on their own, but mixing everything together makes the briyani a dish to be savoured slowly. Wash it all down with some teh halia and you’ll dreamily drift through the rest of your day totally satisfied.

Chef Ming’s advice is to get their early, as the queues can be long. You’ll want to be there just after they open, say by 11am latest. But rest assured their service is quick, efficient and with a smile. The line moves pretty quickly because they have the experience and the advantage of a small, specialised menu. Chef Ming can’t recommend Geylang Briyani Stall enough – go and try for yourself & see whether this suits your taste! After sampling the chicken briyani, I know I will be returning to sink my teeth into the mutton version!


Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre
1 Geylang Serai, #02-146, Singapore 402001
Open Tues – Sun: 10.30am – 3pm (closed Mondays)
Tel: +65 9170 9700

What does Food Vlogger & Globetrotter Mark Wiens Like to Eat When He’s In Singapore?

Welcome to a very special edition of Makan Kakis!

Our new Foodie Friend Mark Wiens is a globetrotter and food vlogger who has 9 million subscribers & 2 billion views on his wildly popular YouTube channel, Migrationology. Fans will be thrilled to know he was recently in Singapore for an exciting project and I got to catch up with him on his new food series with HBO Go – Food Affair with Mark Wiens. We also got to chatting about his favourite local eats, what keeps him motivated, who he’d invite to his dream dinner party and he also recommends some of the best things to try at Dempsey Road institution Samy’s Curry Restaurant.


Watch the interview video PLUS Denise challenges Mark to a food trivia game – SWEET, SALTY & SOUR – where every correct answer wins him a local snack prize!



Following Makan Kaki Mark Wiens’ recommedation, I returned to Samy’s Curry Restaurant to grab a takeaway of his Top 3 dishe to try. On the side of the dining area is a takeout counter where the practiced staff are ready to take your orders and asssemble them briskly (I wasn’t leaving without extra papadums!).  


The staff scoop your orders from their long display of mouth-watering dishes and as they pack them up, you head to the cashier inside to pay up before returning to collect your takeaway.


I may have over-ordered, but it was, afterall, for a family meal! Someone else brought roti prata – plain and egg – to add to the pot-luck party, so it turned out to be a massive feast.    


Besides extra papadum, fish cutlets, crispy spiced cauliflower 65, palak paneer (spinch and cottage cheese), mutton mysore and biryani (comes with free sides of cabbage curry and dry potato curry potato), I dutifully asked for Mark’s must-try Fish Head Curry, Black Squid and Masala Chicken.


Mark’s absolute favourite at Samy’s Curry is their Fish Head Curry, a spicy, tangy, savoury, meaty behemoth packed with extra veggies like lady’s finger & brinjal. This was a medium order and there was ample fish to feed 5 with leftovers for the next day (the dish tastes even better overnight!). In Mark’s words, you’ll want to drink down every drop of that delectable curry gravy! 


The Masala Chicken is another good choice, with a lots of heat from chilli and spices, savouriness from the chicken meat and a slight sweetness to balance it all. They were generous with their portions of chicken legs and the thick sauce tasted even better licked off fingers after tearing into the chicken with our bare hands!


Mark’s third recommendation was the black squid, which really tasted like a uniquely Singaporean, cross-cultural amalgamation of flavours. It was piquant, packed with chillies, whole garlic cloves, curry leaf and other herbs and spices that came together beautifully with a gentle heat and a whole lot of umami. The tender squid brought a ton of buncy texture and umami.


Assembling the perfect plate for a fully satisfying curry feast from Samy’s…


Samy’s Curry Restaurant is not a local culinary stalwart for nothing. Its history spans decades from its start at Tank Road in the 1960s to its move to Dempsey in the 1970s, where it has remained ever since. It has certainly played a big part in the food memories of many, including myself, who fondly remember boisterous family feasts there. The flavours are nostalgic, the menu is varied (both Northern & Southern Indian favourites are available) and you really can’t go wrong with Mark’s Top 3 choices, especially the Fish Head Curry! Wanna learn more about its history? Watch out for the episode which features Samy’s Curry in Mark’s new series Food Affair with Mark Wiens, which debuts Friday 18th November 2022 on HBO Go!  


Samy’s Curry Restaurant
Blk 25 Dempsey Road Singapore 249670
Open: 11am – 3pm (Lunch); 6pm – 10pm (Dinner); closed on Tuesdays.
Tel: +65 6472 2080

Luscious & Lemak x 2 – Laksa & Chicken Curry!

Back with us is MasterChef Singapore judge, Chef Damian D’Silva of Singapore Heritage restaurant Rempapa (check out their Deepavali specials below) . A while back, he took us to one of his favourite stalls for Cantonese-style steamed dishes – Chef Chik at Haig Road Food Centre. We return to the same food centre to visit another stall for “Chinese-style lemak laksa” that Chef Damian really enjoys!

Click to listen/ download podcast of this doubly lusicious & lemak episode!



At Goody N Jolly, their laksa is prawn based, with a rich coconut broth and a rempah that has Chef Damian’s seal of approval.


This is the Prawn + Cockle version ($6), which comes with thick vermicelli, taupok, sliced fishcake, hard-boiled egg as well as prawns and cockles, of course!


Laksa gravy was indeed rich and coconutty, yet light but not cloying. Gentle heat came from the large dollop of sambal on top, which was  unusual and delicious – tangy and full of savoury umami!

Not a fan of cockles? There are other versions of the laksa to choose from – prawn + taupok ($5.50), shredded chicken + prawn ($6) and shredded chicken + taupok ($5).


Another must-try at Goody N Jolly is the curry chicken ($7), which you can enjoy with bread (local-style French loaf) or rice. I went for the laksa, but will return for this delectable curry, which turned out to be a complete revelation!

IMG_4982It came served piping hot in a large ceramic bowl filled with generous chunks of chicken that featured fork-tender meat and creamy-soft potatoes.


And you’re gonna want to drink up ALL the delcious gravy! Robust, deeply savoury & lip-smackingly tasty, the curry was rich in spices but not too hot. Lots of curry leaves added even more depth of flavour.


If ever you’re craving for a luscious, lemak and spicy meal, double your pleasure with the local delights served up so well at Goody N Jolly. By the way, if the name sounds familiar, they used operate from B1 of Parkway Parade, so if you’ve ever wondered where they went, they relocated 10 years ago to Haig Road Food Centre! Conveniently, they also run the drinks store (of the same name) right next door, which means a thirst quencher right after your hearty meal is literally just a step away.

Just note that they only open for laksa and curry chicken business only 4 times a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday. Also, their curry is often sold out before 3pm so get there early!


Goody N Jolly (CDC VOUCHERS accepted here)
Haig Road Market & Food Centre
14 Haig Rd, #01-71, Singapore 430014
Open: 9.30am – 6pm (Closed Mondays, Thursdays & Fridays)


This Deepavali season, Chef Damian D’Silva continues his Cultural Celebration Series at Rempapa with 2 special dishes – one South Indian and one Northern Sri Lankan – which Chef Damian D’Silva learned from his beloved Grandad.

rempapa_deepavali_kool_4Kool ($80++, serves 4), a Northern Sri Lankan specialty follows a recipe belonging to a neighbour of his Grandad. The hearty soup consists of fresh seafood such as fish, crab, prawns, and cuttlefish; as well as vegetables such as long beans, sliced tapioca, and jackfruit seeds. Cooked brown rice and odiyal flour (from a root of the palmyra tree) are added to thicken the soup. Spicy and tangy, this robust stew takes 3 days of preparation, so it be sure to order 3 days in advance!

rempapa_deepavali_lamb dhalcha_1
Lamb Dhalcha ($60++ serves 4) is Chef Damian’s Eurasian interpretation of a traditional South Indian lentil stew, using his Grandad’s recipe that features smoked bacon bones. Lamb ribs, lentils and potatoes are spiced with cumin, fennel and coriander and cooked in coconut milk and tamarind juice for a rich, hearty, meaty treat to be eaten with chapati.

Only available till Monday 24 Oct – book ahead & get more info:
Tel: +65 9459 1603
Online: Click to reserve.


Continue reading “Luscious & Lemak x 2 – Laksa & Chicken Curry!”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Curry Chicken with that Home-Cooked Taste!

The second $100 tranche of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers were distributed to all Singaporean households in May 2022 and can be used at thousands of heartland merchants and hawkers. For the next eight weeks, follow this Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series for some of the best eats to spend those vouchers on, starting with this delicious curry chicken!

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Curry Chicken with that Home-Cooked Taste!”

Now THIS is a Singaporean Chicken Curry!

Click to listen/ download this week’s spicy, aromatic episode.


Mmmm… Curry chicken, plus a sneaky bowl of laksa to be extra!

An NYT story has sparked a lot of buzz in the recent week about what makes a Singaporean curry, so your Foodie Friend is bravely wading into the discussion with this offering… Disclaimer: This recommendation is not for the definitive or best curry in Singapore. With deep respect to our rich, complex and varied local culinary heritage, this is but one of the many delicious curries out there that’s worth a mention.


Whilst most agreed that nothing beats home-made chicken curry, a quick and casual poll among friends and family threw up few suggestions including this one (Thanks, Cousin L!) that was a quick drive from Mediacorp and already had something going for it – it’s also one of several outposts serving up the famous “Janggut Laksa”. Having previously tried their laksa and liked it, I decided to give their curry chicken a go.

Continue reading “Now THIS is a Singaporean Chicken Curry!”

Curry Noodles & Chinese New Year Goodies

Hello Makan Kakis, this week we have a brand-new Foodie Friend! Please meet award-winning pastry chef Janice Wong, who’s as much an artist as a chef with her innovative, boundary-pushing creations and the founder of 2am: dessertbar, 2am: lab and Janice Wong Singapore.

Renowned for her gorgeous chocolates, she popped by the Gold 905 studio to chat about her latest Chinese New Year Collections, including her favourite Pork Floss & Bak Kwa Sesame cookies, hand-dipped chocolate-covered Pineapple Tarts and limited edition edible Piggy Banks with Gold Coins, all of which you can see here or purchase at her stores in Paragon & Raffles City

From Kaffir Lime to Laksa Leaves, her visits to Hawker Centres inspire many of the punchy flavours in her confections and Chef Janice is constantly challenging herself to find that sweet spot between innvoation and consistency. So have a listen to our on-air conversation and also find out where she likes to go for local flavour inspirations. You’ll want to scroll down especially if you love Curry Noodles!



photo via Heng Kee Curry Chicken Noodles Facebook:

Chef Janice really loves a good bowl of Curry Noodles and having grown up in the Hong Lim area, her top choice can be found at the renowned food centre there. In her opinion, it all boils down to their super-special chilli, which is made in huge batches once every 4 days and has a secret ingredient that she suspects may be black bean. What you get is a really nice flavour that extends the length of taste for the chicken broth.

Continue reading “Curry Noodles & Chinese New Year Goodies”

Patriotic Peranakan!



Happy National Day, Makan Kakis! In celebration of Singapore’s 53rd birthday, our foodie friend Chef, Author and Entrepreneur Shermay Lee is back with a tempting collaboration with the Conrad Singapore, featuring three of her specially created Peranakan dishes for their Buffet spread at Oscar’s. She is already well-known for her classic Peranakan cooking, based on her Grandmother’s hand-written heirloom recipes, but this time she has teamed up with Chef Alex Siah of Conrad Singapore to update and innovate their families’ culinary heritage. The result is Muar-style Otak-Otak (enriched with a passion fruit mayo and black tobiko) inspired by Chef Alex Siah’s Grandmother’s recipe and these three signature Peranakan dishes by Chef Shermay, prepared ala minute at Oscar’s live cooking stations to ensure freshness and quality:
Continue reading “Patriotic Peranakan!”

Best of 2017 – Makan Kakis’ Top Ten List


Gluttonous Greetings Everyone & Happy New Year!

2017 saw a whole host of new foodie friends joining our rolling panel of Makan Kakis and along with them came a stupendous slew of new & delicious food recommendations. So as we begin 2018, let’s take a look back at some of the most popular makan places that really caught your attention in 2017. Click on each for details & enjoy!

10. Another Best Contender for Bak Chor Mee?
9. Curry Rice that’s a CUT Above!
8. Firebaked Excellence
7. Geylang Hokkien Mee NOT in Geylang
6. Super Crispy Prata
5. Raw Egg Bak Chor Mee?!
4. Nuts about Pistachio Grill
3. Magnificent Mee Pok
2. Karried Away by Kway Chap
1. Die-Die-Must-Try Fishball & Herh Keow

Just wanna listen to the audio? Click here!

Thank you so much for your support of our tasty little segment on Gold 905 and for helping it grow bigger and better. If you like what you hear on air and what you see here on the blog, do share share share! Here’s to yet another year of yum – may your 2018 be overflowing with the best things to eat and drink – Season’s Eatings!