Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Fishing with Dad on Fish Stalker Fishing Charter Services (Marina South Pier)

It is always a good feeling to go fishing with the family (dad and brother) as we got to spend precious time together. This precious time seems little now that I have a family of my own. The quaint thing about fishing is that we usually don’t need to talk much during the trip but somehow that long pauses of silence and solace would often be peaceful. Much like how most guys spend time together. Just a no frills, no drama day out at sea and being able to soak in all of that is priceless.

In fact, I found out during this trip that this priceless time together did not even need to involve dad catching fish. It seemed that he was contented enough to sit around and spend time with his sons just by being around. Additionally, he was also super proud and happy when both I and my brother caught some good fishes.

Fishing wise wasn’t so good for the baiting folks during this trip. It seemed like the fish avoided live prawns at all cost! In fact, the fishes seemed to like artificial baits during this trip. Light jigs, slow fall jigs and even non-baited madai jigs worked wonders. In fact, there were a few occasions when big groupers took the non-baited madai jig that was at the bottom of the sea (but my rod was in the rod holder and I wasn’t doing anything!).

Contact for the fishing boat:
Fish Stalker Fishing Charter Services
+65 9750 8666, Facebook

Dad was beaming!
6.8kg on the scale
Biao nabbed one on slow fall jigging
The brother caught one too
Taken on 100g kurau jig!
Total catch was decent but full of groupers.

Boring groupers!
Fish stalker's electric cooler was very nice in preserving our catch. No blood or slime soaked icebox!

Video by the captain and put together by me in a quick montage.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Extra-large flower crabs from B&B Fishery Services

It’s been five years since I last blogged about the flower crabs I got from NTUC. I got them at $12/kg then but when I visited NTUC again, this has now went up to $18/kg so that’s $1/kg increase every year.

Not to fret though, I’ve recently found a new “lobang” or source for extra-large flower crabs (400g average per piece) which are fresh and meaty. They even clean the crabs and deliver them to you. Contact and cost is shared below at the end. I detail below on how I received them, how I cooked them and how meaty they were.

Crab check out

Good colour, no pincers dropping off!
Great brain juice retention. Not watery or milky.
Biggest was 473g a pop
The first thing I did when I received the individually packed flower crabs was to check for freshness and meatiness. All the crabs passed this test. To do this, you don’t have to press the crabs and all. That is what crude aunties do and this actually spoils (bruises) a fair bit of crab in the market.

The best way (in my opinion) to check crab is to do so by sight. Some tips below.
  • Crabs exposed to heat and that are not chilled appropriately will have very reddened shell hues. A little bit is fine.
  • Is the crab a bright blue or purple? Depending on where the crabs are caught, the colours will be a very deep blue or purple. If colour is faded, don’t buy.
  • When you pick up the crab, do the pincers and legs fall off immediately? If so, you can forget about those crabs. Likely been soaking in ice a long time. 
  • Does the crab smell bad? Fresh crabs still have a little smell but it would be light and pleasant. Crabs which smell really pungent is a no go.
  • When you pick up the crab and look at its body, do you see firm white flesh and a solid white colour or do you see slightly opaque shells with water collected on the inside? If you see the latter, don’t pick that crab.
  • Similarly, pick crabs which look meaty and are full. Some crabs are obviously very skinny and shells are pretty hollow. 
Anyway back to the flower crabs that I ordered. A cleaning service was also provided and I opted for just basic scrubbing since I wanted to preserve the head juice as much as I could. The weights of the crab were from 400g to 500g. That’s crazy right?

Cook out!

As B&B Fishery Services only does seafood on a demand basis, I got the flower crabs pretty last minute and couldn’t stock up on basic ingredients. Not to fret though because if the crabs were fresh and meaty, salt is really the only thing you need. I really respect that on demand basis model because it’s hard work to confirm/inspect supply before you deliver to customers. Compared to the many online fishmonger delivery services out there (that get the seafood stock and then sell), this was much harder to do.

So for the cook out, I tried two styles – steam with salt and salt baked. Very basic methods and I wasn’t disappointed at all. The crabs were so meaty that I couldn’t stop eating. Note that the crabs I ordered were all male but they had adequate “head juice” that flavoured the flesh. Very good and fresh head juice as well.

Of the four crabs for this test, one of them was slightly watery and I gave B&B Fishery Services some feedback on that. They mentioned they will do something about it so that’s something that is being taken care of. I was pretty impressed with the way they went about this because flower crabs being watery is something pretty common – a crab can be fresh but might be moulting/having water fresh just because of the moon phase and seasons.

Ok less text, more photos (and videos):

Salt baked! 200 degrees for 15 minutes.
Very juicy and firm!
Meat is full!
Steamed with salt only.
Best! Full claws!
I tried to take photos at first but soon I was just busy having my crabs with both hands.


You can view their products at https://www.facebook.com/BBFisheryServices/ or you can call/WhatsApp them at 8833 8913.

Note by author: This is not a paid post in any way. I may have helped B&B Fishery Services share a few posts but my crabs are paid for and the tasting is in no way exaggerated (I take pride in my reviews). Also take note that the prices of the crabs do change according to supply and demand. I bought my crabs at $19/kg including delivery and cleaning service.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Digging for clams in Singapore with Mediacorp's 'On The Red Dot: Singapore Snapshots'

It has really been a long time since I did clam digging in Singapore and when Mediacorp asked me if I was keen to bring them for a little scene on national television, I was a little hesitant because I always like to ensure results. That was not possible though as we found out pollution and perhaps “over-clamming” have taken their toll on the clam populations. The episode still went on though and you can watch it using the below links (it was first televised on Channel 5 and Channel NewsAsia.

'On The Red Dot: Singapore Snapshots'. (Click)

One thing that wasn't aired was how clam digging used to a free family hobby as we were growing up. We would simply all go down to the beach and get ankle deep in fresh mud. It was a way of life and how we used to pass time together. It wasn't ground-breaking or massive in terms of livelihood but it was probably one the last definitions of what it felt to be "kampung-ish" in the prehistoric sleeping fishing village that was known as Singapore (taking a leaf out of the government's branding campaign).