Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 7 Sing

Today we are completely on our own, Ming and I. We are actually enjoying each other's company. He tells me about the Warhammer book he's reading (in the cab, in the subway, walking...he who has never read more than 10 novels in his life), music, jokes, technical things and I try to listen. I think we both know we are completely dependent on each other now that Hub has gone home and F is busy with her work. He, for my money and me, for security and street direction. Hey, isn't it supposed to the the other way around?

We went to Vivo City, the biggest mall in Singapore I'm told. Now, how big can a 'biggest mall' in Singapore be, since the island state is only 42km x 14 km at the widest points, giving only 690 sq km ("Size of a booger" said the Taiwan foreign minister in 2004)? I'd say Vivo City is a waste of time (but remember, that's my opinion so don't get all heated up). It is quite a big mall, full of shops but nothing I'd want to buy.

We saw Sushi Tei, and hurried in. Now I've never liked sushi on trains but I was ready to be impressed so we sat at the train bar. Having missed out on toro at the Tzukiji Market in Japan, it's been my quest ever since to eat toro, something that Jerry Steingarten made to sound like a gastronomic climax. Since the waitress said we could order sushi items that were not on the train, that's what I did.

Ikura topped chawan mushi S$7/RM17/US$5.30.

While the egg custard was excellent--so soft yet held together and flavor just nice--the ikura was fishy. But what do I expect, it's salmon eggs.

Otoro sushi S$8/RM19/US$6, clam sushi S$4/RM9.60/US$3, belly salmon S$2.80/RM7/US$2 and soft shell crab maki S$6/RM14/US$4.50.

When I saw otoro sushi on the menu for S$8, I snickered. So cheap! But when it came looking more like faded maguro, I wasn't snickering anymore. Now it looks like I'm paying too much for an ordinary piece of tuna. Ok, maybe it was between maguro and chu toro. (Maguro 101: maguro is bluefin tuna, prized by the Japanese. When Jap eat sushi and sashimi, they prefer maguro and not sake or salmon like the rest of us. The reason why maguro tastes so bland in KK (I dare not include other Malaysian cities) is because ordinary tuna is used, not the bluefin! The belly meat of the maguro is called toro and is the most prized and expensive part of the fish because of the fat and the small portion available. The toro is divided into chu toro and otoro, the most expensive being otoro. Superior otoro is nearly white in color.) I ate my piece of otoro. The earth didn't shake. The sky didn't fall. It was like the maguro I usually eat in KK (which means bland), more soft than buttery. And it was fishy! Ming turned to me, not sure if it was an Emperor's New Clothes Moment, and said "Kinda fishy huh?"

We went on to the salmon belly (looking at my bill now, there may have been a mistake because S$2.80 seems too cheap for salmon belly). Another disappointment. Ok, so it wasn't sashimi, but still it was sliced so thin I couldn't quite taste any difference between it and the regular salmon. The clam was crunchy-chewy and good. The soft shell crab sushi was quite good. But you know, the most surprising thing about the sushi at Sushi Tei Vivo City is that the sushi rice was rather hard, not in the cooked-too-hard-way, but rather chilled or overnight-rice-way. Can't be so , can it?


Ming had the beef udon, which he said was very good because the udon was fresh and very el dente.


I had the pork ramen, which was quite good and the portion so big I couldn't finish it.
All that for S$56.73/RM136/US$42.50, which I thought was not cheap because I didn't get the toro I thought I would get.

Ming met up with his classmate Chong (who flew in with his dad for a couple of days) and they found a pet shop (my kids love pet shops) and the Japanese thrift shop Daiso, where everything is just S$2, on the top floor of Vivo. In the pet shop, I saw an ugly dog, a Japanese Chin. It had a strange, funny face with pop-out eyes like the chihuahuas (which I've always found quite ugly too), a scrawny body and a spaced-out expression that tickled me. You know the Chinese saying "One mountain higher than the other"? In the bottom cage I was shocked silent when this pug turned around. It was a French bulldog, with protruding eyes far apart above each of its ears, mouth and nose all scrunched together, big stand-up ears and short little legs. It looked pissed and it was the ugliest dog I've ever seen, so ugly it shut me up. I backed off to see the baby snauchzer, one of my favorite dogs.

From Vivo, we headed for Raffles Hotel where Rei said I could find a cake ingredients shop. Rei, I walked around the outside of the whole hotel, asked the bellboys (wish I had taken a pic of the Indian doorman who was dressed in a colonial uniform) and yet couldn't find such a shop. Still, it has been a long time since I last went to Raffles Hotel (where I couldn't afford to stay so I settled for a DKNY shirt and a pair of flats) and the hotel, despite looking out of place and small now, still has its charm and a regal historic air.






"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

still not finished yet with sg?..

i learnt to nvr have any expectations when it comes to shopping centre sushi trains..

somehow the sushi tastes better and the sashimi tastes far less fishier..

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

haha, am i boring u?! i'm stretching my sg posts until next week bc i'll be going to penang 2 days for the laksa :)*slurrp!*

Precious Pea said...

Wow...seems like you have been having a good trip in Singapore. The food you had looks good although some might not taste as good as it looks. :) Enjoy your trip to Penang.

Ro said...

Hey Terri, nice to hear that you are coming to Penang.
There are a few laksa stalls that you can try.
1. the stall beside Air Itam market - environment wise is not so pleasing, but every time I eat there, I can't resist eating the 2nd bowl. :)
2. the coffee shop along Penang Road, where the famous Cendol is.
3. the coffee shop behind KFC in Farlim.

wmw said...

One trip after another? So nice! Have fun in Penang!

Rei said...

Aw~~ Terri, you missed the shop. :( It was behind the hotel, in 1 of those shophouses. So now you know bellboys at Raffles Hotel don't bake. :p

bryan said...

Hi Terri, sad to hear you had a bad experience with the Sushi Tei at Vivo. I've only been to the one at Ngee Ann and Paragon and have always had a positive experience. Admittedly I don't have a discerning palate, but my gf who does has always enjoyed the food there.

At Raffles there's a Western place done up somewhat like a 60's diner, it's quite good. Seah Street, I think its called.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

pp: i put on 1.4 kg in 9 trying to loose it b4 i go to penang.maybe i shd drink some red dragon fruit juice bc tt's what made me sick.

ro: u a penangite?! great, tell me more places to eat! yes, i love tt place on penang rd, everything's good there!

wmw: thanx to airasia :)

rei: among the row of shops?? i did look out for it! what's d name?it was a hot himid day n ming had a friend with him otherwise i would walk another round around raffles!

bryan: yes, i shd've eaten at ngee ann's sushi tei bc i was there many times,waiting for a cab. seah st eh? another on my list;thanx. btw, happy belated birthday!

Linda said...

I do agree with you, Vivo city is a waste of time. I go there just to eat Ayam Cobek (Indonesian food) at Food Republic.

After eating sushi at Makoto Sydney, sushi anywhere never be the same.

Penang, omg. Not exaggerate, I gained 3 kgs in 3 days the last time I was there. I ate at least 5 times a day. Penang is a food heaven.

ro said...

yes, I'm a Penangite.
hehe, what food are you interested in? these are the stalls that are famous.

Char Koay Teow :
- Lorong Selamat - you can easily recognize the stall, the aunty is wearing a goggle like glasses, and normally there's long queue. Note: the aunty is very "chuen" at times.
- Ah Leng Char Koay Teow , in front of Kafe Khoon Hiang in Jalan Dato Keramat Road.

Seafood :
- Bali Hai (night)- along Gurney Drive, a bit pricey, but taste is value for money

Hokkien Mee (Prawn Mee) :
- Sungai Tiram , 5 minutes drive from the Penang Airport

a lot more .... how to tell all in this post. hahaha..

oh ya, if you are a fan of Freshly grind almond tea, go to Campbell street at night, dip the Yau Char Kui in it.. hmmm.. :)

If you like Ang Koo Kuih, try the green or red mini Ang Koo from Eaton near Lam Wah Ee Hospital. My cousin in KL craves for it, will buy few packs back home every trip to Pg.

A few popular hawker centers that serve variety of famous Penang food :
1. New World Park along Burmah road
2. Northam Food Court(night) opposite Northam Hotel,
3. New Lane, along Macalister Road(night), there are variety of famous Penang food.
4. Red something(forgot the name), along Penang Road, opposite Cititel Hotel.
5. Gurney Drive foodcourt (night)
6. Dim Sum House (morning) - along Anson Road...
bla bla bla.... :)

Agnes said...

Wah you went to Singapore for so long... I went there 2 years ago and only stayed there for like 4-5 days... Its a rushing trip just to see my sick uncle there. I really wished to go back there again and try more of their FOOD :PP.

Singapore sure has alot of food there and I was missing their Fried Fish Slices in Soup served with rice which was really awesome... You should try it on your next trip but then I forgot the name of the place... Argh :0....

For the past few weeks I missed your blog!!! And I was like "Terri didn't update her blog!!!"

Hahaha I'm being funny :S

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

linda: yes, i find sashimi in Oz very fresh too, 2nd after Japan. 3 kgs in 3 days? no way! u r scaring me bc i need to loose 1.5 kg by next thurs.

ro: oh tq tq *hugs*, i'm making a list. again :) what is 'chuen' btw, i better know beforehand so i can tell her what u said:)

agnes: we stayed to finish up some 'business' n if not for the free accomodation, i'd not be able to afford to stay so long.

ro said...

she's not friendly, "chuen" as in cantonese : 寸

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