Friday, July 31, 2015

Chong Pang Bedok 511 Main Branch - Pork Satay & Chicken Wings @ Bedok 85 Food Centre [Singapore]

My memory does fail me sometimes and i would neglect to check out my blog on food i might have tried out yet wasn't personally impressed with as in the case of the fried oyster at Whampoa Drive but in this instance at the famous bedok block 85 Fengshan food market, i was very sure i had sampled the too-healthy Lin Yuan Satay before and hence, opted for another stall with a name that left me puzzled.

Initially, i thought this was Chong Pang Satay. A closer look revealed it could be Bedok 511 Main Branch (which kind of threw me off a bit) or even Soon Lee Heng! So which was which?! I didn't ask although my suspicion told me the stall could have sourced the items from various reputable companies and what matters most was their skill in cooking the food for sale.

With just me and my mum, we were rather pessimistic on how much we can take and ordered only ten pork satay sticks and two BBQ chicken wings, in addition to the bak chor mee (soup)

Unlike Alex, i am no big fan of char-grilled chicken wings and two factors would determine my review of the cooked wings; first is definitely the marination which should preferably be honey-based and two, the texture of the skin. 

This texture was great; thin skin that had a slight crisp. Marination wise, it could benefit from a sweeter infusion although on the whole, i could not deny the fact that i did enjoy the smoky flavour. 

Now on the satay; this was actually my second visit to the stall and i must admit the first time i had the satays were much better. So much so that i commented to a friend that they were tastier than the accolades-filled Lin Yuan Satay.

Having said that, they were still good; just that the meat appeared to be tougher, likely the result of sitting in a tad too long on the grill. The chunks continued to be thick, the pork fats were generous and the marination was definitely acceptable.

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Location
85 Bedok North Street 4, Stall #01-06,
Fengshan Centre, aka Bedok 85 Hawker Centre 

Price
Pork Satay - S$0.60 (minimum 10 sticks)
Chicken Wing - S$1.30 (minimum 2 wings)

Additional Information
For review on Lin Yuan Satay, click here.
For review on Xing Ji Bak Chor mee, click here
For review on Bedok North 85 Fried Oyster, click here.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shuttle Train from JB Sentral to Singapore - A Convenient, Jam-Free to Cross the Causeway!

Nowadays, getting across the causeway to indulge in a day trip filled with shopping, dining etc given the stronger Singapore dollar can be a chore with transnational traffic jams that last for hours!

If you have read the news, you should have known of this new shuttle train service that transit between both checkpoints of Malaysia and Singapore, which was about a kilometer apart.

Today, i am going to share with you my experience of taking the shuttle although the journey was from JB Sentral back to Singapore; in my case, it was much easier and cheaper to take the CW buses from Kranji MRT Station all the way to Malaysia.

Recommendation: Buy your advance tickets (back to Singapore) once you arrive in Malaysia. The counter is located at this building with KFC, Starbucks, Rotiboy and quite a number of kiosks. 

One ticket per person cost RM 5.00. Why did i suggest buying first? Because they have run out of tickets before and having a confirmed timing does make you more focused on what you want to do without wasting your time and eventually missing your bus (it happened to me before).

Schedule as appended above for your information. I am generally agreeable with the first five advantages; for the six "avoid long queue", i beg to differ!

Arrived at 5pm, we went through the customs in batches for passport-chopping by the Malaysia side. The limited staff and counters would mean the wait wasn't exactly short.

Knowing which carriage to enter is important as there would be a mad rush to the Singapore custom when the train pulls into the Singapore's checkpoint. Note the head of the train, walk the opposite direction towards the tail end and find a seat. 

Train interior - bright definitely and comfortable i guess depends on your context but for a ride that takes about five minutes, i am not complaining except for the fact that we had to wait for scheduled departure timing and the air-conditioning didn't seem to work! 

Another key thing to note is that i am unsure if seat numbers are given and there were passengers who didn't manage to get a seat! Oh well, it's only five minutes anyway!

Fuzzy picture as i was stopped by a policewoman; as expected, no photography / videography allowed. For Singaporeans who are accustomed to using the self service terminal using their biometric, be prepared for a long wait as there were only three terminals! It might be faster to queue at the manned counters!

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Verdict
Yes, i would definitely use the service again as i don't have to endure the traffic jam at the vehicular causeway which can be rather tiring when you don't have a seat! I would pray that the air-conditioning god works his/her magic...

p.s. After you exit the complex, walk over to the old Woodlands Town Centre for the cheap cheng tng and lip smacking good seafood soup

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ah Hock Fried Oyster Hougang (阿福蠔煎后港) @ Whampoa Drive Block 90 Food Centre [Balestier]

Mention fried oyster and you would find people with differing views on what constitute a good plate of fried oyster; you have some who prefer a crispier texture, others who like more starch and a few who would rather eliminate the oysters for eggs. 

I do have my preference, just like the rest of you. And this brings us to the stall i am going to touch on today; Ah Hock Fried Oyster which used to be located at Lim Tua Tow market (Hougang) and boasts a history starting from 1927!

From the numerous accolades on the signboard, i must say my interest was piqued and after pondering for a while, i opted for an S$8 plate which should be sufficient for four persons. 

Now, let's continue with the preferences i mentioned earlier. From the look of the fried oyster, i already have that presumption i am not going to like it; reason being the lack of crisp. Yes, i am a crispy person when it comes to fried oyster and this was a tad too soggy, too oily in my opinion.

In addition, i dislike it when owners are over-generous with the starch. Although i wasn't overwhelmed by the taste (as in the case from many stalls), it was still a bit salty for my liking.

The oysters were really huge but again, i am those who would rather eliminate oyster meat for eggs. Having said that, the essence of oyster must be there in order to differentiate it from our typical furong egg! 

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This is just me with my weird preferences. I am blogging about this just so i can refer to this review again in the future and tell myself not to order despite the long queue.

Location
Block 90, Whampoa Drive Makan Place,
#01-54. [Near Sindy Durians!]

Operating Hours
12.30 pm to 11.00 pm
[Closed on Wednesdays]

Price
S$8 a plate; minimum S$5

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teluk Kekek - Part 2 of Our Morning Snorkeling Session @ Pulau Perhentian Islands [Malaysia]

From Shark Point, Teluk Kekek was merely a few minutes away and while i was still recovering from a slight bout of nausea, it's already time to jump into the water!

In spite of the depth, water clarity at this snorkelling spot was the best so far and this was obvious from the first few photographs taken from my underwater camera.

'Structural wise', Teluk Kekek was blessed with a wide variety of corals, at least from snorkelling standards. Those hardcover divers might beg to differ, i believe.

Chanced upon different clusters of sea anemones; no thanks to the movie, Finding Nemo, i was on the lookout for any cute clownfish that might happen to just peek in between the tentacles! 

Got one; albeit a small one. 

The usual sea urchins! Have i mentioned before that a starfish has never been spotted in ALL my snorkelling expeditions so far?! Aside from seeing a few at human-built aquariums (like SEA Aquarium), the only time i got to hold one was at located-in-Singapore Chek Jawa!

Eyes of the sea urchin; very alien like right?! Sea urchins are a delicacy in Japanese cuisine; known as "uni", the way to extract its meat was, in my opinion, similar to cracking open a durian!

Fishes, there were spordic displays of them; nothing impressive enough to make my jaw drop. Surprisingly, i managed to get a much wider variety of marine life near our choice of accommodation; Perhentian Island Resort.

I did notice something unique; these bristle-like stuff on the rocks. At first look, don't you think that they are like miniature toilet brush?!

Could not pinpoint a name to the above although i am pretty sure i have seen the feathery-like item on television many times! 

View of the bay - as expected, i have the tendency to leave the others behind and swim at my leisure towards the shore. My land nemesis is the snake and judging from the closeness of the trees to the sea, i am as worried that a snake would fall into the water! 

There's one practical reason for my behaviour; the nearer we are to shore, the shallower the sea. This bodes well for a person like myself whose height isn't even 'average' by Asian man standard and, the fact that i am quite a lousy swimmer. 

I am not the only one apparently even though i got a feel that those persons standing on top of the rocks were just weak swimmers who required occasional rest on stable ground. 

One noticeable fixture under the sea at Teluk Kekek was the numerous appearances of huge calcified boulders! Many photos for your reference as there's only so much i can write on snorkeling!

However, i must say the underwater experience for landscape beauty at Teluk Kekek was the most spectacular among the five snorkelling spots we were brought to for our snorkelling packages!

Anyway, we spent a long time at this location and had to rush to our last spot, which wasn't exactly for the purpose of snorkelling. 

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For my summarised itinerary of my trip to Perhentian Islands from Singapore, click here

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