Thursday, October 31, 2019

Zai Shun Curry Fish Head (Michelin Bib Gourmand) - Seriously, It's Not About The Curry Fish Head @ Yuhua Village [Jurong East, Singapore] #zaishuncurryfishhead

Craziness runs in my blood but i am still surprised that i agreed to the Great Kon's suggestion to travel all the way to Yuhua Village for get-together lunch on a weekend! 

He had, in fact, mentioned Zai Shun a few times over the past few years, before it was even awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand but strangely; i kept thinking the eatery was in Bukit Batok when it was actually located within the Jurong East precinct.

Despite being a one-stall coffeeshop (other than the drink stall), the place was filled with hungry diners! Many people were standing next to tables with near-finished dishes so that they could take over once the existing group stands up; it's also common to share tables with total strangers.

Its Michelin accolades! We got a table in no time; our skills were honed by years of training living in Singapore where locals swarmed the hawker centres and it can be insanely hard to secure a table just to have your meals.

Kon, the regular, helped to queue and order the food. The signature dish to order is NOT the curry fish head; almost every table had a steamed fish and it's important to lock in the fish you want before the stall runs out of fishes! 

Next step after the fish; go for the individual dishes that were displayed the tze char style where you tell the server what you want. Apparently, there were a few popular dishes and the one we really want (har cheong chicken wings) was already sold out. 

Nevertheless, we still managed to get our hands on two dishes! 

Vegetables - ordered simply because the Great Kon believes the old school food philosophy that we need to have some greenery to balance the meal. p.s. it's okay tasting. 

Salted Egg Bitter-gourd Omelette - you can guess what the popular dishes are by looking at what the other tables have and the bitter-gourd omelette is clearly a favourite! It's a strange combination of saltiness and bitterness and i do find the overall taste palatable despite not loving bitter-gourd for my entire life! 

Braised Pork with Yam - said to be a hakka dish, i am more accustomed to the usual Hokkien style braised pork with thicker cuts that my dialect group would eat with steamed buns. 

While this wasn't as sweet as the Hokkien version, it wins us over with its tender meat and a layer of fat that's soft and almost melty! Kon literally cleaned up his bowl of white rice by drenching it with the braised sauce! Remember to eat it with a slice of yam! 

Steamed Red Grouper - the arrival of the star for the lunch! p.s. the Kon said this fish was chosen purely because its eyes were bright and clear; a criterion for fresh fish in the wet markets. 

The freshness was definitely there and in the words of the Great Kon, the fishes at Zai Shun were always steamed to perfection. No doubt about his words as you would know once your teeth sink into the soft, yummy fish meat!  

I regret not bringing my mom along for this meal as she would have appreciated the fish a lot more than I do! Oh well, i can't bring her anyway as it was "vegetarian" day that day.

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Address
253 Jurong East Street 24, #01-205, 
Singapore 600253

Map

As above. 

Operating Hours
7.00 am to 3.00 pm
(Closed on Wednesdays) 

Prices
Frankly, we can't make out the pricing for each dish from the handwritten receipt but we figured the fish was S$45.00, rice was S$0.50 a bowl. Total paid was S$70.50 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Day One in Hong Kong!



In the past, it was always that iconic shot of the control tower of Changi International Airport but nowadays, chances are you would find the world's tallest indoor waterfall (Rain Vortex) being shared; i wouldn't be surprised if it goes into the top 10 most instagrammable spot in the near future!

Anyway, it's time to catch up on my Hong Kong trip; even though it was more than 3 months since my visit in July, i was hesitant to blog given the ongoing protests. However, i always feel a need to document my journey and memory gets fuzzier as each day goes by.

So, let's start with, finally, day one of my seven days in Hong Kong; by sitting comfortably in the Airbus A320 that's owned by Jetstar. I am no good with planes and had to take a picture of the onboard safety information card just so i am aware of the plane model.

Former icon of Changi International Airport; the control tower.

One plane landed and another plane just took off from the runway; do you know that according to Wikipedia, Changi Airport is "the world's sixth-busiest airport by international passenger traffic annually (61,574,000)".

Our turn in the sky!

Bird's eye view of Hong Kong from the plane; the pearl of the orient has a unique skyline with mountains and hills that's dotted with soaring skyscrapers. Singapore's slowly going towards that direction (given the rumoured 10 million population) although the density in Hong Kong is just plain insane.

Landed in Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok International Airport in rather unfavourable weather conditions (overcast sky, wet runway etc); was praying the weather would be better in the next few days!

Airport's control tower.

Don't you just love the wide passage ways in reputable airports? I love it when the passage seems to stretch forever; thank god for the invention of travelators though.

Chek Lap Kok International Airport is huge enough to command a train network that helps to connect all the necessary nodes; including ferries to mainland / macau.

Turned out the train was quite similar to the skytrains we have at Changi International Airport that traverses Terminals 1, 2 and 3. My understanding that the humongous Terminal 5 would have a 'real' train network with the older terminals.

On our way to clear immigration.

Arrival Hall - with about twenty of us in the entourage, we opted for the airport express even though i did feel that it's quite a hassle and it's not as if our hotel for the next few days is that far from the airport. Oh well, as with democracy, majority wins.

Promotional price if you travel in groups of between 2 and 4! By the time we saw this poster, we had already purchased our tickets from the self-serviced machine.

Rather comfortable airport express unlike Bangkok's Airport Rail Link which is almost as good as taking our usual MRT trains; one way, the latter was way squeezier.

Sights along the train ride.

Anyone knows the purpose of these many blocks of wood sticking out of the water? It can't be that they would serve as perches for birds?

Appearance of the housing blocks; with a plane in the middle!

Now at Tsing Yi station of the airport express. I mentioned it was a hassle earlier to take the airport express to our hotel right? This is just the first interchange.

Circle K - the equivalence of 7-11 in Singapore. Of course Singapore has more just 7-11; there's still our homegrown Cheers which is under NTUC Fairprice.

Taking the Tung Chung Line to cross the Rambler Channel.

Not exactly an auspicious sign for new tourists of Chinese ethnicity; the Tsuen Wan Chinese Permanent Cemetery! I am not that superstitious though and i wonder if i would have sufficient time to check out the cemeteries in Hong Kong!

Second interchange at Lai King station where we had to transfer once again; this time along Tsuen Wan Line. By this time, more than 30 minutes have passed.

Sponsored, obviously, by Rado, which cost a minimum of S$1,000. I am as happy wearing my free step tracker from HPB; money saved would have better use in travelling.

Taking the MTR in Hong Kong is quite simple and the navigation is almost like Singapore. But hor, why they have three stations operating concurrently as interchanges in the same line?

Exit B of Tai Wo Hau Station.

Staircase; thankfully our luggage was quite light given that it's only the start of our trip. While we can complain about living in Singapore, it's good to travel out of the city state occasionally. It's times like this that you would feel that amenities in Singapore were comparatively better.

Non-sheltered walkway to the hotel! This so reminded me of the time we went to Bangkok in 2015 and had to walk a long way from Phaya Thai interchange station to Lemontea Hotel (Pratunam area)

Gosh, a spiral staircase; at least it's sheltered.

It took us an hour by train plus walk to arrive at Panda Hotel; it was indeed exhausting and the bed did look tempting at that point of time. Please do click here for my review of the 4-star hotel.

The stay was actually enjoyable (with rooms that weren't that tiny and it has a decent pool and gym) and Panda Hotel also its on top of a small shopping mall. Only issues were that it was quite a distance from the train station and the vicinity it's in is further from the popular city centre.

4 o'clock and we had yet to have lunch! First meal in Hong KongGrilled Japanese Salt Chicken from KFC; that's a dampener but it's the only place acceptable by both Alex and i!

Taking a walk around the hotel as we needed to digest the food; the mini buses that served as public transportation for the local populace. A thought in my mind; isn't it cheaper to operate bigger buses?

Palmiers from Kee Wah Bakery; a colleague brought some to our office before and i fell in love with it. Had to get a box to munch while we strolled.

Wing Wah Cake Shop with its noticeable signboard - i didn't know how many branches there are in Hong Kong and since i am already near; i thought i might as well get the things that mom asked me to buy.

Purchased two boxes of their signature nuts mooncake (with jinhua ham); not exactly light! I contemplated getting their more traditional mooncakes but gave up the thought as my home-baked mooncakes are legit good, and cheaper.

Tsuen Wan Market - i made a mental note to drop by to check it out but that note never materialised. Nevertheless, i did manage to explore another wet market opposite our second hotel for the trip; Dorsett Mongkok Hotel.

Housing, a long standing issue raised many times in the ongoing protests; many locals just couldn't afford owning a flat even though on average, their pay could be better than ours. Well, each country has its own system and i don't think it's fair for us to comment given the different social, economic, political landscape.

Alex loving his second takeaway from fast food restaurant; the sea salt soft serve from McDonald's. He is not as adventurous when it comes to food and would be happy with fast food.

A vegetable store that's not that different from what we have in the suburban towns in Singapore; Chong Pang market has at least two similar stores.

Glass jars of herbal wine on display! The most eye-catching one is the one filled with snakes; gosh, it gave me the jitters as i am dead afraid of snakes! However, another jar is more interesting.

It's filled with literally hundreds of baby mice; known as pinkies, the wine is said to benefit those with rheumatism, sore waist, post pregnancy migraine and dizziness etc.

My elder sister found Hong Kong food to be pricey and shared with me a way to save money; get the pineapple bun (known as polo bun). At just HKD$7 (approximately a dollar plus), the serving is huge and it's tasty enough as a tummy filler. From the look of the polo bun, she has a valid point!


The tired bug hit us soon after and amazingly; we got back to the Panda Hotel at about 7.00 pm and shortly fell asleep on our beds! That's a feat given that i always made full use of my vacation... 


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Postings for the Day
  1. Panda Hotel @ Tsuen Wan
  2. Grilled Japanese Salt Chicken from KFC

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