Last Updated: January 7, 2021
When I recount the story of my encounter with Fortune Curry, just as with any classic novel, it is prudent to discuss the setting. In all its 168-store glory, Old Airport Road Food Centre has solidified its place as a rite of passage for any self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ in this little red dot. It represents everything about hawker culture which we hold dear, and perhaps one equally deserving of a UNESCO title on its own.
My strong feelings for the place aren’t only attributed to its sheer size and variety of food choices. Truth be told, I frequented this institution as a student. Having spent more time here than in the classroom, I like to think my knowledge of the place to be exceptionally nuanced, unlike the grades in my report card. Academic woes aside, having tried most of the stalls in Old Airport is perhaps one of the more significant accomplishments during those years of my life.
Enter Fortune Curry. Dressed in a bright yellow signboard that urges me to slow down as if at a traffic junction, this humble establishment sits at the very front of the hawker centre, which makes my missing it that much more unacceptable. In fact, my eventual visit occurred only after plans to review another stall fell through. Are our fates intertwined? Or were we never meant to meet?
Curry sits first on the agenda—a sentiment evident from the pared-down menu. Curry Chicken (S$5.50) leaps off the board, lunging at me in a way that desperately yells ‘main character’, and rightfully so. After all, it does stand for everything which Fortune Curry has to offer, grasping its reputation in a warm bowl of curry gravy. Blatant in the mundanity of its moniker, I approach the food with an enigmatic optimism, hopeful that it tastes more impressive than it sounds.
By definition, perfection can apply only to qualities which are objective. Yet, with an entity as subjective and personal as food, can perfect really exist? Perhaps. In a world where different opinions demand acknowledgement and celebration, I posit that there is indeed an ideal version of a dish, which is perfect in one’s eyes by all measures of taste.
For me, Fortune Curry manages just that with its bowl of chicken curry.
Each sip coats the tongue in a rich and intensely savoury lather. It’s incredibly robust, heavily empowered by the fragrance of coconut milk. Lovingly thickened with potatoes, every mouthful presents a warm, comforting hug for the soul. Perfect for strange cold days like the ones we’re having in Singapore in January.
Although more commonly associated with family potlucks and reunion dinners, Fortune Curry’s bowl, however, presents itself as a largely personal affair—I don’t want to share it with anyone else. Let me grow old with it, for my only regret is that we didn’t get to meet sooner. It’s the granddaddy of all curries, and what I imagine every young and impressionable bowl of curry should look up to.
As with any great piece of art, I splash the gravy over the canvas that is a plate of white rice. Go crazy with it, because no one, and I repeat no one, can tell you how to enjoy your food. Pouring it over unashamedly makes for a Picasso-esque experience and a very tasty one at that.
Curry aside, there’s also Laksa (S$2) on the menu, because, you know, choices. This one equally impresses with a heady aroma of santan, not unlike the dish from before. The bowl comes with an added dollop of sambal, which, although pleasingly pungent, detracts from the already spicy broth. I recommend a less judicious application, if sambal is your thang.
Incredibly economical is what it is, and understandably so, given that you’ll only find fishcake and spongy strips of beancurd in this dainty serving. It’s satisfying, no doubt, though I reckon you’ll be selling yourself short when ordering this over the curry. Instead, starve for the day, and order both. Life’s too short to not have laksa and curry in one sitting, I say.
I am not a believer of horoscopes, planets aligning, “5D vibrations”, or crystals. But I do believe it is a generous stroke of luck that brought me to Fortune Curry. In that respect, it lives up wholly to its name. Though a little good fortune brought me to this stall, the true blessing lies in the bowls of chicken curry, leaving the lucky few who have had it deliriously joyful. This one is going in my back pocket and staying there till the next big curry craving.
Expected Damage: S$5 – S$8 per pax