There are 2 places in Singapore that I'd recommend my out-of-town friends to visit; Little India and Arab Street/Kampong Glam. These heritage constituencies are little pockets of old Singapore that have resisted gentrification and retained their unique charm, so they stand out from the other cookie-cutter aspects of our legoland of a metropolis. It helps that the food in these ethnic enclaves are fantastic. You can't walk 100 meters without hitting up a must-try restaurant.
Most will know the Race Course Road stretch of Little India as a "golden mile" of sorts for culinary treasures. Here's where the flagships of the famed Banana Leaf Apollo, Gayatri, and Muthu's Curry restaurants are based. While the aforementioned "big-three" mostly specialise in South Indian cuisine, there are a few which do Northern fare pretty well. Like Jaggi's Northern Indian Cuisine, a casual canteen-style, self-serviced joint that's propagated with Indians, both of the local and foreign ilk, so you know it's authentic.
Turnover at the popular eatery is high, so it's easy to get a table, even during peak dining hours and if dining in a large group. The food at Jaggi's is hearty, but still elegant. Best of all, prices are kept cheap; this gut-busting dinner for 2, with drinks, cost just over 30 buckaroos.
The Chicken Tikka Masala ($7.20) was fiery and bold, with succulent chunks of boneless chicken drenched in a thick tomato-spiked curry.
Butter Chicken ($7.20), a favourite of the Hubs ever since his British university days, was creamy and rich.
The Chicken Tikka ($6.50) was flavourful, having been steeped thoroughly in tandoori spices, and aromatic with the smoky char of the oven. That said, it was a teensy weensy bit on the dry side.
The Tandoori Fish ($6) was beautifully balanced and lusciously moist, and the lime wedge helped cut through its slight fishy accents.
A must-try, the Gobi Masala ($2.50) was nuanced, the melange of spices highlighting the delicate sweetness of the cauliflower.
The Naans here were excellent, and freshly made upon order. The Garlic Naan ($1.80) and Plain Naan ($1.50) had a lovely crisp on the outer layer, with an underlying thick chewy texture.
Jaggi's Northern Indian Cuisine
37 Chander Road
Tel: 6296 6141
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner;
Sundays from 10.30am to 10.30pm