My uncle and aunt are lucky enough to stay literally approximately and at most two stones’ throw away (remember I said literally, in a very literal sense therefore it is only right for you to take my advice in the most literal way possible, am I clear?) from this rugged local eatery.
You get hot, you get sweaty and sticky and maybe a little bothered sitting there under the 50-year old fan, waiting for the delights of local cuisine to magically pop up in front of you to savour alongside the people who have known and loved the place since they were wee bits of human.
Don’t you worry. Sit there and enjoy that still breeze, the looks of rosy assuagement once folks of young and old get their garish orange platters of deliciousness. Stimulating the appetite and nourishing the heart, rekindling local flavours and embracing the all-Singaporean flavours and textures.
I can already hear all my friends.
Ew, eggplant! Or brinjal, or solanum melongena, whatever you call the slimy ghastly things.
Stop. See those brusque edges of golden wafer? An almost-burnt triumph, if you ask me. You hear the crackle and soft dup as you take a little bite. Just a little one, before you stuff your face with more and more. Really though, it’s 10 times more addictive than chocolate potato chips (which i had the chance to sample at Royce’s a few days back). A slight warmth and aroma permeates the dish, whetting your appetite and wetting your palate. Sweet, softly spicy, with burnt and caramelised bits dotting the perimeters of each juicy and fragrant slither of brinjal. It’s just so perfect, and one of the best parts of the meal each time I go with the fam.
You could call the fried rice normal, with the exception of the smoked duck. Tasted like duck alright, but it’s plain to see that that was perhaps added to give the otherwise plain-as-a-white-whistle dish a bump up from its sombre status. Only good when drenched in sauces like this beauty right here:
Looking at it tickles me silly.
Could it be?
Yes, chilli crab. I love it way too much for my own good. I might die in a grave with my hair sprayed with a chilli crab perfume with notes of perhaps oyster and uni.
The sweet, pungent river lies fluffed and plumped up around the king crab like its melting carpet of red sea gold. It has been stolen from its throne in Crab Land and plopped on this platter, with everything in tact, legs, claws, eyes and all. Take a bit of mantou (squares of fried white bread) and thoroughly soak each square inch in the thick orange gloop. This one is better or perhaps comparable to the one at Chin Huat. The sauce is less hot but more addictive, I find. Drip it over everything and anything and bathe in it while you’re at it. I mean it’s pretty simple when you’re an idiot like me and decide to wear white stripes in the soft moonlit outside, dressed in blue-highlighted lights up top. I may be an idiot but I try not to think too much about my level of intelligence when I’m going through bouts of painful pleasure.
Down to every plump and white flake.
I told you it’s painful pleasure. Salted egg yolk is one of the most divine things to ever exist and please the mundane nullity of mankind.
The bites are chewy, though of course are absolutely nothing if it were not for the lovely salted egg infusion, to provide a soft saltiness with miniature granules of pulpy yolk.
Diets begone. This wildly seductive creature shall come knocking at the doorstep of your dreams in the depths of the night and have you on your knees, begging for just a spoon. It gleams like a dark knight. Honestly I was really only expecting a nice spoon of hot and dark fried rice. What you see is what you get.
But my first taste of that heavenly rice fried in the glorious fat of poor piggies was so wonderfully sinful that I had to take a bit more.
And a bit more.
Each grain is bursting with such a woody, scented flavour. It screams and shouts the wonders of pork. I usually take fried or steamed fish over the former, but this was too good, too, too good. it’s just really good all right? There are even some crusty bits for the sake of painful pleasure and calorific content. The sort of thing which looks a mess when eating but nullifies all one’s worries, at the same time keeping your heart’s rate up because it’s right there in front of you and you can’t stop wondering at how such an ugly black thing could prove such al dente perfection in each fluffy bite.
I mentioned something about having some chilli perfume in my dead hair, didn’t I.
Well I should also like a light backdrop of fish head, thanks.
Damn right you see those gorgeous rings of caramelised onions. No one else bothered with them so I grabbed the lot. The meat is bold and tender and juicy. You are welcome to dismiss the plain wedges, though.
There’s something about heads of any kind of animal which I take a gross pleasure in tucking into, whether I’m at an upscale Thai restaurant or local hawker centre.
C-can I have the fish head?
Go right ahead, Alex (my uncle speaking).
Yes yes just take it I know you love it you may thank me later now eat please go on.
So I tucked in and gnawed away at the gooey eyes and crisp tails and liver and that really sweet spot right between the fish’s cheeks. It’s a small, grey ball of moist sea sweetness which gets me so high each time. If I did have a picture of it on here I’d probably be banned from accessing the Internet since little children might think it something else like drugs or poop and so the world carries on.
And if no one’s going to pick at the sweet and delicious crab roe hidden in the little crevices of its sharp interior features then can I also take the cra-
And so I did, and I was happy. I prefer wet and lumpy roe more than doing biology internal assessments for school but this was severely lacking here. The roe was stiff and quite resembled lifeless orange slabs. But dip in it the chilli and you’ll survive. And I tell you, it’s all pure adrenaline. The licking, the cutting of the fingers, the chilli dipping, the water breaks and hand washing in between.
Love it love it love it.
The place was so crowded I was scared the bolting waiters might crash and burn each time they took a new set of orders. Good food, noisy local atmosphere, hot and humid but altogether so strong at heart and stomach-pleasing.
New Ubin Seafood
27 Sin Ming Road
#01-174 Sector A Sin Ming Industrial Estate