AND THE WINNERS ARE...

No. 3: Epok Epok Central

Mr Lokman Kassim has helped his mother make curry puffs by hand at the stall since he was a child.
Mr Lokman Kassim has helped his mother make curry puffs by hand at the stall since he was a child.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Where: Eunos Crescent Market & Food Centre, Block 4A Eunos Crescent, 01-09, open: 7am to 7pm (Tuesday to Friday), 7am to 4pm (weekend), closed on Monday. The stall is likely to close a few days before Hari Raya Puasa

Verdict: While the epok epok's small size does not look enticing, the judges are won over by how good the filling and crisp pastry are. Oon says: "The old-fashioned fried pastry is paired with a tasty filling that gets its sweetness from onions." Low adds: "The taste that stays with you is from the pastry, not the filling."

Score: 69/100

 
 

This stall started out as a pushcart selling epok epok in Geylang almost 30 years ago.

And when the Eunos Crescent Market & Food Centre was built to legalise the hawker trade, Madam Bayah Ahmad, 78, was one of the pioneer stalls there.

Now it is her son Lokman Kassim, 42, who helps to run the stall.

The eighth of 10 children, Mr Lokman has honed his craft since his childhood, when he helped his mother make curry puffs by hand at the stall.

It specialises in epok epok, or Malay-style curry puffs, small, deep-fried pastries filled with potatoes or sardines. Besides epok epok, the stall also sells nasi lemak.

On what makes his puffs crispy, Mr Lokman says: "The dough has to be rolled thin and we have to make sure the curry puffs are cooked at the right temperature. If the oil is too hot, the dough will be crispy, but the filling is uncooked."

While the recipe has stayed the same over the years, he does not rule out creating new flavours for younger customers.

He says: "We would love to try using mushroom or chicken in our epok epok. But with the high demand, there's no time to try.

"And if we have the capacity, I wouldn't mind opening another outlet."

Civil servant Nurul Aini, 32, who goes to Epok Epok Central at least once a month, says: "I normally buy at least five epok epok at a time. It is small enough to eat a few at a go, and I like that the filling has a lot of onions."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'No. 3: Epok Epok Central'. Print Edition | Subscribe