Lunch at Samy’s

Food has always been a big thing in my family. From as early as I can remember, Sunday lunches were always sacred family time for my grandparents, parents, brothers and me. We would either go to a restaurant together, take away from a restaurant back to my grandparents’ place or cook ourselves. When we did go out, or da pao’ed, the three restaurants I looked forward to were Mooi Chin (a Cantonese restaurant situated in the basement of Funan Centre before it was renovated), Rendesvous Restaurant (Chinese-style nasi padang) and Samy’s Curry which, from time immemorial, has been at Dempsey Road (even when it was the home of the old Civil Service Club). Despite the fact that the Dempsey area has been overhauled and is now an F&B and entertainment hotspot, Samy’s Curry has remained and its business continues to thrive.

Rustic would be the word I’d use to describe the restaurant’s locale, although I suspect that on a very hot day, the South Indian cuisine combined with the weather would likely make the dining experience uncomfortable. This, however, has not stopped people from flocking there for lunch for years, and it is quite surprising to see just how many caucasians fancy Samy’s. The reason it surprises me is because Samy’s food can, depending on the dishes one orders, be exceptionally spicy, something which generally does not sit well with the Western palate.

The first thing which strikes you when you dine as Samy’s is that there are no plates. Instead, one dines off a banana leaf (which, if you are interested in buying, may be found in Tekka market!). I’m not sure if the food is served on the banana leaf as a matter of tradition or because the leaf actually adds something to the flavour. It really doesn’t matter; I wouldn’t have it any other way – it just wouldn’t be Samy’s Curry.


Pictured above is the briyani rice I ordered together with papadum (thin, crispy crackers which I cannot get enough of) and dal. The rice was fluffy, the papadum was awesome (I ordered – and finished – a bowl of it), and the dal was flavourful.

Below is one of their specialties, which is their spicy chicken massala. This is very spicy and not for the faint of heart. It is also the very first dish I order when I sit down.

We also ordered the chicken liver curry (excellent), mutton curry (average), the sotong with black sauce (my dad’s favourite) and the prawn curry. Now let me say that the prawn curry is excellent but the prawn itself is, in terms of freshness, inconsistent. This can be irritating because the prawn isn’t cheap. That being said, I’ve learned to live and let live because the gravy is simply to die for. The other dish to keep an eye out for is the fish roe, which we were unable to order as it was out of stock.

I really don’t have much to say about Samy’s Curry. Not because it is poor, mind you but because I eat it so often that I consider it comfort food and can’t go two weeks without it. I can safely say I will continue eating at Samy’s curry until I die or the restaurant closes down. It is one of my favourite restaurants on this island. If you do decide to go down, I hear the fish head curry is also pretty decent and I’ve always observed many customers ordering it.

Here are some of the other photos I took during lunch.

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All photos were taken with a Canon 28mm prime lens. Post-production, where necessary, was performed with Adobe Lightroom 5.