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Review: Muthu's Curry

A very rewarding experience for the brave of heart and stout of intestine

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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You have to be a little brave – or a little crazy – to venture into Muthu’s Curry without a secure grounding in spicy, spicy food. I wish I knew that before I walked in – a couple of drops of Tabasco on my burger was a big day for me.

Spicy Selections

I learned that, after tasting Muthu’s fish head curry for the very first time, all my previous perceptions of “spicy” and “bland” were useless in this place. When someone from South India tells you “that’s a spicy meat ball,” you better believe it’s a spicy meat ball. No, they don’t serve meatballs in Muthu’s, but you get my point: at Muthu’s, food only has two settings. Searing, and the surface of the sun.

Muthu's fish head curry is a legend in Singapore, or at least in Singapore’s Little India: the dish is an unappetizing-looking fish head drenched in savory curry soup. Nevertheless, after I’d gotten my bearings on the spices in the food, I managed to pick the fish head clean in a few minutes. If you don’t mind your food staring back at you, you’ll love Muthu’s fish head curry: fish head meat is succulent, though you have to work for it, and eating the eye (don’t cringe) isn’t half bad. It’s good manners to leave the eye for your eating companion to finish, though I assume a fair number of you won’t have any problem with that.

You might also want to try the chicken biryani, or chicken in a curry sauce served with highly seasoned saffron rice. Have it with some lassi, or yogurt drink; yogurt partly neutralizes the spiciness.

Come for the food, not the ambience

The branch on Race Course Road (the original, and still constantly packed with customers) isn’t high on the ambience; you’re here for the food, after all, and not for the décor. Pictures of Hindu deities greet you at the door, the bathrooms are incongruously flashy compared to the rest of the place, and the food comes to you on top of banana leaves. Real Indian food aficionados (or real Indian nationals) are expected to eat with their hands, but the waiter won’t sneer if you ask for eating utensils.

Upon finishing your meal, make a last stop at the counter by the exit, where you can sample anise seeds from a bowl to help freshen your breath.

Muthu’s Curry
138 Race Course Rd, Singapore
Phone: +65 6293 2389

Specialty: Southern Indian Cuisine
Prices: fish head curry from US$10.60; smaller dishes cost between US$2-US$4
Credit Cards: American Express, Visa, Mastercard

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