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Food

Geylang Briyani Stall: Hearty Nasi Biryani From 3rd-Gen Hawker In Geylang Serai

Last Updated: February 23, 2019

Written by Lee Wei Yang

Whether enjoyed with hands or with a fork and spoon, nasi biryani is a comfort food for many. Just thinking about the mountain of fragrant rice drenched in a luscious coat of curry makes my mouth water every single time.

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While there are many places in Geylang Serai that serve up a good plate of nasi biryani, none have more positive reviews than Geylang Briyani Stall in Pasar Geylang Serai.

Some people have even said that they would make several visits within a week! I decided to head down and find out what the hype was about.

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31-year-old Hannan runs the stall in the two-storey wet market and hawker centre. He is the third-generation owner of the stall, which has a long history dating back to 1964.

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Though Hannan has a diploma in mechatronics, he chose to carry on his grandfather’s biryani legacy instead. He took over the role of serving biryani from his father after completing National Service 10 years ago.

Hannan and his family members arrive at Geylang Briyani Stall at 6.30am every day to start preparations. They make a fixed amount of biryani and side dishes, and close the stall as soon as they run out.

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Hoping to avoid the lunch crowd, we went down late in the afternoon. Even then, there were waves of customers showing up for a quick bite.

For each plate of biryani, you can choose one meat from three options: Mutton, Curry Chicken or Fried Chicken. Since we couldn’t make up our minds, we got both the Mutton and Curry Chicken, which are their signatures.

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I noticed that the rice on the plate of Nasi Briyani Kambing (S$6) looked very pale. The colour made me think that the rice was going to be flavourless, but I would soon be proven wrong.

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The basmati rice was warm and fluffy, and the grains didn’t clump together or become mushy.

What really amazed me was how fragrant the rice was. The sweet aroma of cinnamon, as well as the unmistakable astringence of cloves, were the most prominent notes.

I’m sure there are a ton of other spices in the rice, but Hannan only revealed a few. With such a complex flavour profile, I’m guessing there must be a secret ingredient somewhere!

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I would have finished the delicious and fragrant rice on its own, but I realised that I haven’t tried the mutton yet. Drenched in black pepper gravy, the huge chunk of mutton looked mouth-watering.

The mutton gravy added a flavourful punch to the fragrant rice. Every grain of rice soaked up the gravy, making for a pleasant umami mouthful.

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I was afraid that the mutton would be too gamey for me since I usually find it overwhelmingly pungent and unpleasant. However, the mutton here at Geylang Briyani Stall didn’t taste gamey at all! Each tender piece of mutton was also oozing with juice and had me wanting more.

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With that unexpectedly great start, I couldn’t wait to dive into the Nasi Briyani Ayam (S$6). To my delight, the dish came with a generous pile of rice on the plate as well.

Drenched with luscious curry, the chicken came in a sizeable chunk. Like the mutton gravy, the curry was drizzled over the fragrant rice.

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Surprisingly rich, the curry also wasn’t that spicy at all, and that’s coming from someone like me who doesn’t handle spice well. There was also a subtle bitterness which must have come from the cumin.

That said, I wished the chicken meat was slightly more tender.

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Each plate of nasi biryani also came with a small bowl of dhal curry. It was a delightful surprise to discover a bounty of ingredients within that small bowl.

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I found chunks of potatoes, carrots and mixed vegetables within the slightly watery gravy.

Hannan stews the dhal for a really long time and it was evident from all the fork-tender ingredients in it. It was also slightly spicier than the chicken curry, which added a lingering heat to this dish.

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Though Hannan is fully in charge of the family business now, his father still helps out at Geylang Briyani Stall. The father-and-son duo takes pride in the long history of their stall, and they enjoy serving their regular customers.


While the prices here at Geylang Briyani Stall are a little steep, the hearty portions and homely taste make up for the price point. It’s definitely a place I’ll drop by for a plate of nasi biryani if I’m in the area.

Besides, I’d want to show some support for this third-generation hawker!

Expected Damage: S$4.50 – S$6 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Geylang Briyani Stall

1 Geylang Serai, #02-146, Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre, Singapore 402001

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Geylang Briyani Stall

1 Geylang Serai, #02-146, Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre, Singapore 402001

Operating Hours: 10am - 4pm (Tue - Sun), Closed on Mon unless Public Holiday

Operating Hours: 10am - 4pm (Tue - Sun), Closed on Mon unless Public Holiday
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