“Fresh Assam fish head curry at Gu Ma Jia”
I’m an absolute addict for Assam fish head curry, this ambiguous ethnic curry that comes with that Assam spicy and sour kick. I was searching online with terms like “best Assam fish head curry”, and many of the food bloggers quote Gu Ma Jia as one of the best. Well, there’s no stopping me from arguably the best assam fish head curry in Singapore now is there?
Arriving by car at Tai Thong Crescent near Macpherson, my family very luckily stumbled upon a car park spot right in front of the restaurant. Normally though, I think finding parking might be an issue as the road there is single lane parallel park lots and I parallel park like Mr. Bean. If you can’t handle the stress of people waiting behind while you try to squeeze in, I suggest to just drive further down instead.
I made table reservations prior because of paranoia. Walking in, I gave my name to the counter girl who ironically doesn’t speak Mandarin in a Chinese restaurant. I’m all for foreign labour to fill the manpower shortage, but I guess you should learn the language given that 99% of the clients here are going to be speaking Mandarin, and some of the older generation doesn’t speak English. They don’t seem to have a very good book keeping of the reservations and had to ask me again for how many people, then randomly gave me a table that was available. Ok la, logistics is not Gu Ma Jia‘s strong point, but it’s the fish head curry that matters after all.
We sat down at our round table and THE Gu Ma herself took our orders. I could tell because she looks exactly like the cartoon caricature beside her logo. She really resembles a adorable typical Singaporean Aunty, with the small eyes and permed hair. She’s quite a good salesperson though, trying to push us more dishes and upsell desserts. Very aunty indeed.
So obviously, the dish we ordered first has to be the famed Assam Fish Head Curry ($25). I was actually expecting it to come in a big curry pot, but instead it’s on the typical fish heating plate. Doesn’t hold a lot of curry sadly. The red snapper fish they used was absolutely fresh; like still swimming in the curry fresh. Usually curries can afford to use older fish because the heavy curry spice would cover up the scent. Here however, the curry was a bit lighter which really lets the freshness of the fish shine. It’s also not overly spicy and would probably sit better with the general audience.
Oyster omelette ($12). I loved the Or-Luah here. It was pretty much all fluffy eggs and fresh, firm oysters without the gooey starch added. I love it without starch and this was right up my alley. More like a classic prawn omelette style but with oysters.
Kyoto Pork ribs ($20). This was very good ribs with a sweet tangy sauce and tender pork ribs. Not too sure why it needed to come in aluminium foil, perhaps it was baked which explains why the ribs were so soft. Apparently they used to drench rose wine in the pork then flame it, but alas that was a show of the past.
Spinach Soup ($12). Gu Ma Jia‘s version of the egg spinach soup is literally, a soup. The usual style has a more starchy, thick soup and more like a sauce broth instead. Still, this was quite cleansing and refreshing to the palate after all the heavy curries and pork sauces. Have to get some vegetables into the stomach after all.
I think Gu Ma Jia has a very good balance of dishes, and the other items besides their signature Assam Curry Fish Head are quite underrated. A casual, homely experience suited for family diners.
It’s a good Assam fish head curry, but to me not the best. There can be, only one. Ocean Curry Fish Head in my opinion has a stronger, more flavourful Assam Curry, but their fish is not as fresh as Gu Ma Jia. Frankly I don’t think Ocean Fish Head curry is the best in Singapore either and my Assam Curry search will continue.
Damage: $25/ person