An absolute staple of Singapore’s famously flavoursome hawker centres, the humble curry puff is a snack that hasn’t had much exposure here in London, despite our love affair with global streetfoods.
But all that is surely about to change, as popular curry puff purveyors Old Chang Kee launch their UK offensive this weekend, and have chosen Kentish Town as the ideal location from which to start winning over the Brits.
Best described as a mini, fiery and more flaky take on the Cornish pasty, these Southeast Asian bites were indeed inspired by the South Coast’s signature snack when, 60 years ago, Hainanese chefs created a colonial era fusion food for the British in Singapore.
They added plenty of garlic, chilli and exotic spices to the basic meat, potato and onions filling, and a local comfort-food classic was born. Today, Old Chang Kee alone sell over 1.5 million of the things each month on their home turf.
But until now, the most curry puffs seen in NW5 has probably been when my Singaporean mother-in-law arrives with a couple of freshly laden tray-loads that she somehow manages to slip through customs control.
Check them out at Tolli all day this Saturday and Sunday, including some free sampling, and a selection of aromatic Singaporean curries on the menu too.
It comes hot on the heels of soaraway Malaysian success story Laksa Kitchen pop-up in the same venue, so it has a lot to live up to, but these powerful little flaky puffs might well capture our hearts soon. Just remember, it all started in Kentish Town (by way of Asia and Cornwall, of course).