Monday, April 12, 2021

Four Reasons Not to Visit Orchid Live Seafood at HomeTeamNS Khatib

I've always wanted to try Orchid Live Seafood after seeing various social media sponsored posts and influencer sponsored posts about how good this place is. Saw too many lobster porridge and this "steven chicken" advertisements haha. As someone who loves cooking crustaceans and seafood, especially in seafood broth, I was really looking forward to it. Finally, the day came to celebrate a birthday so we booked the place thinking that we can indulge since it was a special occasion. Initially, the food was kind of average but as we ate, each dish really got worse and really underwhelming for the high price that we paid. Can see why their place is only half filled on a Sunday evening. Below are some reasons NOT to eat there because of the food. Service was average, nothing to complain about.

1. Pushy servers; micro mini lobsters in the default lobster porridge

There were about 7 or 8 mini lobsters so you can really have a sense of how small they were since total was about 1kg of lobsters.
Very "normal" broth. Don't see why everyone is raving about it.

The servers kept pushing their big Australian lobsters to us which was 1 for 1. Per lobster is $288. We were not keen though as we wanted to eat other dishes and saw the lobster porridge as a side dish. Besides, not everyone ate lobster. So we went with the "1kg lobster, lobster porridge" thinking it would suffice since there were only 4 of us. We were somewhat shocked though when the porridge came because the lobsters were micro mini super tiny! In fact, you can see from my picture that they were spoon sized. I can understand trying to perhaps save abit of cost by using such lobsters but for a dish which cost $100/kg, this wasn't really what I was expecting. We were also disappointed that the porridge was average at best or maybe we were too picky since we do eat quite abit of seafood broth porridge and soup at home. The only ingredient were the lobsters, lumpy bits of rice, a little hint of chinese wine and too much ginger. It can't even be compared to the novel seafood broth/lobster broth soup at kopitiams which are much nicer... Massive disappointment. We didn't even finish the porridge.

2. Stuff not available on menu or very small

Didn't impress the parents at all...

We wanted some noodles... no noodles during weekends. We wanted some crabs which were 1kg and above... sorry, biggest 800g... When we settled on Teochew cold crabs and it eventually came, it was so tiny like about 400g which really didn't justify the price since we are paying lots for just shell.

3. Black pepper beef disaster & steven chicken

The worse stir fried beef I have eaten in my life.

Never in my life had I had such underwhelming black pepper beef at a zhi char stall. The presentation was awful, the size of the meat felt like beef trimmings. Strange chewy texture for some pieces yet too soft and too springy for some. Lumps of corn flour everywhere. This was definitely bad corn flour coating and fire skills which is sad because for a chinese kitchen, these are very basic things. Steven chicken was highly recommended by the server and it wasn't too bad. About above average I would say. It's actually just butterfly-ed chicken drum in tangy sauce. Except for the preparation work, most zhi char stalls can replicate the taste.

4. White pepper or black pepper crab?

Head was removed so you can have a better look at the dish.

So the backstory to the crabs was interesting. Upon realising we wanted big crabs, the server came to us halfway during our meal and told us there was a 1.1kg one that just arrived so we thought ok let's try the white pepper crab. Finally, something worth indulging in! At this point of time, we were feeling quite meh by the dishes already - my parents were complaining the lobsters and crabs were too tiny. So I thought crab should be ok one, most zhi char stalls won't get it wrong. But big shock again... the white pepper crab... was kinda black? So we clarified with the server and they mentioned it was indeed white pepper. It was apparent though that the pepper ratio was quite off and the fragrant smelling white pepper aroma didn't come across well. The crabs were also a tad over-fried with some kind of coating (likely corn flour) and weren't juicy. A pity because it was a good crab.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fishing with Sam Law Penjuru 2020 (Update/Archive)

Beautiful coral trouts and fingermark snappers.
Two of my fishing idols. Matt and Biao.

Good time with usual kakis.

Beautiful coral trout by Boon. His first local one.

Law with his usual ang gao luck! So smirky :p

It's been awhile since we went fishing from Sam Law and he is still as sharp as ever! Two trips with him yielded much food for the table for us with big tusk fish and coral trouts taking home all the glory. I always believe that if you want to "judge" or see if a particular fishing captain knows his stuff, always look at how he does bottom fishing. 

Red and green fish are more valuable than pelagics like sagai. Best of all? Sam doesn't need to go to Raffles Lighthouse to get good fish and recently told me "if you want me to bring you catch sagai, I will cancel your booking".

What a captain. Go green or red or go home!

Sam Law's contact can be found at https://baktao.blogspot.com/2019/11/7-recommended-fishing-charters-in.html

Fishing with Jeff Tsen, Prince of Peace Boat November 2020

Fishing after the circuit breaker was awesome. It seemed that everywhere we went, we would have good catches. All good things come to an end though and the fishing in the past few months has been dreary. The bad and unpredictable weather made it worse. So today really put a smile in my heart since everyone managed to get some fun even though it was mostly escapee fish that we caught. These fish really were strong and healthy! Strong and healthy was good because there are growing rumours of one of the fish farms "dumping all their sick fish". That particular farm has all its nets raised and has totally no fish left. And you wonder why boats go there everyday to fish... sick fish.

Some tips for catching escapee/farmed fish:
  1. Bouncing your rig around and searching for them helps. Cast out and comb the area for them.
  2. Some of the fish tap on the bait lightly and some of them eat the bait and stay put. Sensitivity is key here. Set the hook well.
  3. "Dead" bait like tamban and squid do work since these fish are not wild fish and they're used to such feed at the farm.
Clearing the sea of invasive species lol
Landed a pesky invasive species hybrid grouper that had no chance once it took the bait right below me. Would have definitely given me problems if it took the tenya further out. This tenya has nothing to do with me... Jeff found it at the bottom of the sea so I just happened to use it for fun.

Some of the mangrove jacks were very plump and healthy:

Great day out at sea machiam public sea paypond lol:
Healthy mangrove jacks

Video compilation to document the trip:


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Singapore Fishing Charter Question and Answers

Quite a bit of Emails regarding this blog post. Put some of my replies here in case more folks read this.

Q: The mentioned fishing charters are fully booked. Do you have any more recommendations?

A: I don't have any more recommendations because I only put down charters which I have fished before or fished regularly at. Try to book early in advance.

Q: There are many charter companies out there when I Google, is it a must to take a trip with them?

A: No, it is not. These charter companies usually charge a higher fee but they make up for it in things like service and they may include fishing guides (note that they usually don't pay their share). You can go straight to the charter captains to arrange a trip directly.

Q: Are there any seasons to book the fishing charters? Any monsoon?

A: Charters are all year round in Singapore because our monsoon is mild and there are plenty of inshore options. There used to be predictable seasons for certain fishes but these days due to climate change, it's not that simple anymore.

Q: Do fishing charters provide equipment?

A: Call and ask. Some do at a fee but most do not. The fishing charter scene in Singapore is not that professional yet. 

Q: What does the fishing charter provide?

A: Call and ask. Minimally, they usually provide ice and bait. Some provide drinking water and some provide food. Same for toilet.

Q: Which fishing charter guarantee fishes?

A: Truthfully speaking, none can! It is fishing... However, going with the best charters usually makes it easier to get good fishes.

Q: Is jigging and luring available in Singapore fishing charter?

A: Absolutely. Most charters now recognise these methods and will be more than happy to let you have a go.

Q: What are the fishing charter timing? Is there an evening charter?

A: Evening charters are common overseas where they take you out fishing in 6 hour blocks e.g. Morning, Afternoon, Evening. But in Singapore, it's usually restricted to day fishing 8am to 5pm and night fishing 8pm to 6am. Some charters may do short trips... you can check with them. 

Q: What bait do I use?

A: Most fishing charters in Singapore will use live prawns. I definitely recommend sticking with that and not bringing your own bait.