Located at ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre, I’ve actually been to Yuguo Curry Rice three times in the past two weeks despite living nowhere in the vicinity. That’s how much I’ve come to like its Hainanese curry rice.
For me, I assess Hainanese curry rice based on three main aspects: the curry, the pork chop and the braised cabbage. All the other dishes can only play second fiddle to this holy trinity.
Ordering here resembles a ‘cai png‘ stall where everything is pre-cooked and put on display for you to choose. The beauty of this system is that if you want to order a dish but don’t know what it’s called, just point at it!
However, one thing I love about this place is that its steady stream of customers meant new batches of pork chops will have to be freshly prepared.
While most people here buy single portions with the ingredients and rice on the same plate, you can also request for the dishes to be placed on individual small plates to make sharing easier, which we did.
Another nice touch by the stall is the free egg-drop soup that they provide. Because there are only two people manning the stall (one cook and one server/cashier), you’ll have to scoop the soup yourself.
The first of my three personal criteria for a good plate of curry rice: the curry. Unlike curries from other cuisines, Hainanese curry is less spicy and ‘lemak‘ while boasting a thick and smooth texture.
The version here definitely checked all those boxes. Also, when the auntie here asks if you want curry or ‘zhup‘ (braised gravy), there is only one correct answer: both.
The Bao Cai ($2), or braised cabbage, came in quite a substantial serving. Slow-cooked till it was completely soft and tender, the cabbage had no crunch to it at all (which is a good thing).
I especially loved the strands of glass noodles throughout the plate which I slurped up gleefully.
However, the Hainanese Pork Chops ($4) has definitely been the biggest reason for my return visits. Decently thick — unlike some places where the chops are so thin it tastes more like biscuits — while still retaining its moisture, which gave off an enjoyable crunch with every bite.
From the red hue, you can see how deeply the Chinese Five Spice seasoning has penetrated the meat layers. As a result, each bite was packed with strong savoury notes.
The pedestrian-looking Sliced Potatoes ($1) did not only come in a pretty generous portion (not to mention a stray piece of chicken) but were actually quite comforting. Cooked till soft and tender, the stir-fried potatoes were coated in a fragrant fermented bean sauce.
Decently smooth, the Steamed Egg ($2) were passable — nothing to shout about. It would have been better if it was softer.
Coated in the same sauce as the potatoes, the Fermented Bean Chicken ($2) fared well as well. Having been served from a fresh batch, the chunks of chicken were moist and juicy. Definitely, a good second choice if the pork chops alone aren’t enough meat for you.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed my meal at Yuguo Curry Rice and would highly recommend it to those looking for an affordable and comforting plate of Hainanese curry rice with generous portions.
I’ve loved this dish since young but I’ve stopped eating it over the years due to my regular joints having fallen in standard. With this, I’m glad to have found a new place that I can keep returning to — hopefully for a long, long time.
Expected damage: $3 – $4 per person