Sunday, October 04, 2015

New Ubin Seafood - Your Unlikely Tze Char Place @ Sin Ming Estate [Mainland Singapore]

I am no stranger to Sin Ming industrial estate.

Filled with many auto workshops, my annual visitation was in fact to the nearby housing estate known as Gor-Ba-Keng (五百間) to pay lunar new year respects to our family's elderly grandaunts and granduncles who lived there.

Hence, i was mildly amused to find a food gem hidden in the cluster of low rise industrial buildings; one that i heard of quite a few years back yet without the notion that it was so incredibly near to my relatives' flats!

Originating from Ubin Island (as the name suggests) in 1986, the restaurant was forced to move to mainland Singapore in 1992 and eventually settled at Sin Ming. Interestingly, aside from local tze char fare, you may also find South Indian, Western and other Asian food on its menu.

Unlike our typical kopitiams (coffee shops), this is a full fledged restaurant with both indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating. Reservation is strongly encouraged, especially on weekends.

Decoration was eclectic; showcasing modern (by that, i mean common kopitiam setting), traditional and contemporary, resulting in a mishmash of emotions from me, for better or for worse.

The most eye-catching piece had to be the chalkboard (known as the Great Wall of Ubin) that gave a visually fun breakdown of some of the food items available for ordering!

Another decor worth noting required you to look at the ceiling right above; I have no idea how they secured the egg trays to the ceiling although my only hope was that they don't drop when i am having my meal.

Air-conditioned section - necessary when i am with my two sisters and the kids. All of them could not withstand dining in a hot and stuffy place.

Frankly, i think the restaurant could do with a better, revamped menu!

The words had faded and there were too many dishes listed; in a manner that was overwhelming for someone who was already on the verge of starving to death!

Anyway, orders were eventually made (while the kids remained focused on the iphone and ipad screens) and the following was what we had.

Braised Beancurd with Golden Mushrooms
Nothing to rave about in my opinion - since i am dining with my family, there are three dishes that would definitely appear on the table; soup, vegetables and tofu. If it is my call, i would eliminate all three and go with solely meat!

New Zealand Oysters (10s)
Joyce read on the web that there was a promotion for the oysters and got them. According to her, they were fresh, crunchy but a bit small. Well, no complaint since they were on promotional pricing!

Brinjal Delight
A chef recommendation - this plate of caramelised eggplant couldn't be find anywhere else and it was amazingly addictive! Sweet, spicy with a sour aftertaste; this was almost like stir fried sambal brinjal in crispy chip form!

Crab Bee Hoon
With the escalating crab prices, the 3 for 2 promotion at New Ubin Seafood was an indication for us to indulge after a long hiatus! The first style was crab bee hoon, as required under the teo's family must-order for a soup dish.

We generally agreed that there was a lack of seafood essence and it tasted milkier than what we remembered of this dish (mostly from Mellben seafood and Uncle Leong by the way). Thankfully, it was served hot and would do as plain soup.

Garlic Baked Crab
I have had high hopes for this; the spicy pungency of garlic can improve the flavour of a dish and i was betting this might just become the new "baby" in the tze char scene.

Sadly, it was not to be despite being another chef recommendation. The garlic infusion was too faint and this crab would have died with more pride if it were steamed instead.

Even though i am no expert when it comes to cooking, i thought mashing the garlic beforehand would result in a deeper immersion.

Chilli Crab
Would i be third time lucky with the chilli crab after the two aforementioned crab dishes? Some of you might have recalled i am particular with chilli crab as nothing beats the one that my mom can whip up!

And lucky we were! It was similar to my mom, a tangy tomato sauce rendition enhanced by a lingering spiciness and best of all, full of eggs!

Never miss out the man tou (buns) at a dollar each.

Pillow soft on the inside, golden crispy on the outside, sweet - perfect traits for a bun that's to be dipped in the chilli crab sauce! Absolute satisfaction!

US Black Angus Ribeye Steak
I am a big steak fan but i have never paid above S$40 for a slab of steak! However, friends who had been to New Ubin Seafood never stopped babbling about how good the steak was!

They were darn right; about 500 grams, the "medium" steak was literally melt in the mouth type with a juicy flavor that didn't even need the saucer of sea salt by its side! Hmmm, i wonder if i could get the same thing from a quality butcher and firing up the grill myself.

Accompanying the steak was a plate of "fried rice caramelised with beef drippings" - this was like THE dish that cardiologist will warn you against! Its savouriness was unmatched with an intense meat flavour that encapsulated all the grains; this was like attaining another level of deliciousness once thought impossible.

Durian Pengat
Another recommendation - when it comes to durian products, i often lament that nothing beats the real fruit. To be fair for the "durian pengat" category, this wasn't as good (too thin a texture) as ellenborough market café.


Overall verdict - my family had a good time at Ubin New Seafood; be it service or food. For the latter, there were some disappointments although to pay S$76 for 3 crabs was just too irresistible! 

Block 27, #01-174,
Sin Ming Industrial Estate Sector A

Call 6466-9558
SMS 9740-6870

As above (red star on upper left of the picture).

For Motorists
Parking is available. At night, you may also try your luck parking at the entrance of some of the workshops' entrance. Just be mindful not to damage anything and be considerate! 


Braised Beancurd with Golden Mushrooms (M) - S$16
New Zealand Oysters (10s) - S$25
Brinjal Delight (L) - S$18 
Crab Bee Hoon, Garlic Baked Crab, Chilli Crab - S$76
Deep Fried Man Tou (10s) - S$10
US Black Angus Ribeye Steak - S$60
Durian Pengat - S$5
[Subject to GST Only]

Additional Information
More reservation info as appended above. Note the BYO policy for wine / liquor - no corkage fee would be imposed. 

Please also keep in mind that certain items need to pre-order and there are some that could be sold out by the time you arrive! The next time, i die die must have the foie-gras satay and foie gras egg special! 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Waxing - A Warm Alternative to Threading @ Esware Beaute [Near West Coast Plaza]

First and foremost, take a look at the above and guess what it is.

A close-up photograph would assist you in this guessing game. Some thought it was a piece of keropok / chips while others guess it could be my favourite durian; albeit in its frozen, dried form.

The original state of the material came from this container. Just in case you have in mind that this was white chocolate fondue; you could not be further away from the truth. 

In reality, it was a waste product after a popular hair removal procedure known as waxing! Threading has been the norm to get rid of my facial hair since last year and the lady, who sees me every fortnight, had been encouraging me to try out waxing! 

I was hesitant; given the numerous horror stories from friends who warned that the pain was indescribable and i could not imagine the suffering for the delicate area above my lip if i were to proceed! 

However, i am an adventurous person and since i have not heard of anyone dying from waxing, i figured it might be worth a try yesterday. Personally, i found it to be more painful than threading although it was comforting to have the warm liquid on the skin. 

The pain obviously came from tearing the hardened wax off the skin and as expected, it was unbearable for the upper lip! I had to do it a couple more times as a few strands of the facial hair stubbornly refused to be removed!

Quite fun if you ask me and it's kind of disgusting to see the strands of facial hair stuck to the wax. 

One piece almost seemed like pork skin which wasn't cleaned properly! The service staff were amused when i purposely requested to keep them! Weird meh? My very first time waxing mah....


Esware Beaute
Block 725, Clementi West Street 2, 
#01-200 [Near West Coast Plaza]

S$15 a session

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Mini Express Train Ride For The Kids @ Westgate Shopping Centre [Smiley World Choo Choo Train]

I am a practical uncle to my niece and nephew; free attractions are big draws given i am pretty much a spendthrift myself and i thought it would be sufficient to just stop at the free of cost Westgate Wonderland Outdoor Playground.

It would have been, until the moment their eyes caught sight of this utter cute little train chugging towards their direction! 

As expected, they insisted on taking the ride and i rolled my eyes towards the direction of my younger sister, who is always sympathetic towards their demands. Before long, both kids were happily waiting in queue with their "tickets".

The pricing was standardised at S$6 per person (kids below 90 centimeters in height can have one adult companion for free) but you can choose your preferred seating so long they have yet to be booked. 

Note the safety rules; impress these guidelines onto your kids so that they don't inconvenience / endanger anyone, especially when you are not escorting them. 

Time to board - the engine design reminded me of the one that appeared in Harry Potter movies; except this was much smaller. 

Kids in the 2nd wagon! 

Being the kind, protective, concerned (and stingy) uncle that i really am, i literally walked next to their compartment as the train slowly made its routine route for the ride. 

Not to mention the kids; even my fingers were itching to check out the little knobs and buttons at the engine box! Guess the little boy in me never really dies.

Experienced driver and travelling at a i-walk-much-faster-than-taking-the-choo-choo speed; there's really nothing to worry about so long the children don't go around fumbling with the latches. 

Despite having no train tracks and with a sound effect to emulate the "choo-choo" of a steam locomotive, Jerald and Jovyn were totally immersed in the experience. 

The standard route would also cover an area in the air-conditioned section on level one of the shopping mall even though i wonder if there would be changes when there's a big shopping crowd. 

From a business viewpoint, it's advantageous to showcase yourself to everyone in the mall, specifically the kids, who would then request / insist / demand for a ride on the choo choo train.

Want to estimate how long did the ride last? Less than 10 minutes! 
Really express le.


3, Gateway Drive, 
Courtyard (Open Air) on Level One,
Westgate Mall, (Next to Jurong East MRT)

Operation Hours
10am to 10pm (daily)

S$6 a ride

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