Nasi Briyani

Dum Good Briyani
Dum Good Briyani

Throw a stone in Little India, and chances are it will land on someone’s plate of briyani. Yes, the neighbourhood is full of briyani shops, but there’s one that doesn’t give a hoot about the stiff competition. Blue Diamond just focuses on making good dum briyani.

The chicken briyani (S$6.50) comes with a large chunk of bird and an even greater mound of rice. Maybe it feels like eating like there’s no tomorrow. But the generosity isn’t just in the quantity but the fullness of flavour. Each moist grain is heavily spiced and the chicken totally smothered in a rich gravy. Interestingly, the mutton briyani has a different set and ratio of spices.

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Healthier briyani

You could say the writing's on the wall. Or in Bismillah Biryani Restaurant's case, it's on the canvas hanging in front of the shop which has a quote from a customer praising its signature dish.

So if any one is looking for Singapore's best and most authentic dum briyani, the search stops here.

Local nasi briyani is usually served with a curry gravy but owner-chef Syed Arif Salahuddin sees no need for that, preferring to prepare his dum briyani in the original style by cooking the meat, rice and spices all in one pot to give the dish its own natural flavours from the ingredients.

Singapore - Islamic Restaurant

Islamic Restaurant at 745 North Bridge Road in Singapore's Malay-Arab Quarter, near the Sultan Mosque has been serving probably the best briyani rice in town since 1921! The restaurant founder, M. Abdul Rahman, was personal chef to the Alsagoff family (the ones who built the Alsagoff Arab School in Sultan Road round the corner). The current restaurant is run by his descendants.

Islamic Restaurant's briyani rice is less oily than others I'd tried. The curried chicken is cooked will fall-off-the-bone tender, and the dish was served with a tangy cucumber pickle and a side-dish of lamb-eggplant dhal curry which was absolutely delicious!!

Islamic also offered mutton briyani - but I found the smell to be too robust for my taste. They also had a plethora of side dishes to choose from at the heated counter: tandoor items, curried hard-boiled eggs, a variety of curried vegetables & lentils, curried seafood. But I'd recommend you stick to the chicken briyani - it's what they do best.

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Nasi Briyani Or Biryani
MADAM Kamachi Govindasamy has hundreds of recipes stored in her head

Ask her, and the 83-year-old can recite any recipe, ranging from chicken curry and sambal beancurd to pizza and lasagne.

'No need to write down, lah,' she says good-naturedly. 'The way I remember is to keep cooking.'

And she does it three times a day.

related: 5 best affordable biryanis