The season for tze char comes around again as birthdays swing by in my family. We recently had crabs last week at the New Ubin Seafood Restaurant somewhere opposite Whitley secondary school – their baked garlic flower crab was amazing, if a bit salty. This week we’ll be visiting some other seafood restaurants – failed to secure a place at Palm beach (1 Fullerton) due to our tardiness in making a reservation. The next two options with great views are Seafood Paradise at the Singapore Flyer or No Signboard at the Esplanade. My dad is turning 60, so of course we’ll have to have something better than normal.

Just thinking about what to order is so exciting. my favourite fish is the soon hock (or marbled goby), for various reasons. One, it tastes amazing steamed hong kong style with the slightly sweet soy sauce and doused with shredded scallions and stuff. Two, here’s a bit of trivia for you:

The Marbled Goby is the biggest species of gobies and is one of the best tasting freshwater fishes, often served in restaurants. Although they are mainly predatory fish, they are quite lazy in chasing prey. They typically wait for unsuspecting prey to swim near their hiding place and strike when they get close enough. Their colour and pattern serves as very good camouflage for this purpose, especially in stream banks and rocky banks.

They can be found in reservoir banks hiding between rocks or under the cover of a jetty. They can also be found in shallow streams hiding along side of the bank where overgrown vegetation provides cover for safety and ambushing prey.

They may also be caught using traps; one of the known methods is to place a segment of pipe with some bait in it. The bait will lure the fish into the pipe, after which the goby will remain there. Live goldfish is commonly used and has been proven to be a very effective bait.

Lol. liangze says it’s a fish after my own heart. Amazing how its flesh can taste so sweet even though it idles around all day waiting for its prey to swim into its mouth.

Just tonight we had dinner at a coffee shop in yishun – with my cousin supplying the fish and the prawns cause he’s a seafood importer (works under one of the kelongs at changi) and the tze char stall cooking the catch for us. He says every chinese new year (chu er) the boss allows him to go fishing in the kelong, and the fish are very easy to catch, all weighing more than 1 kg. One guy even pulled up a fish that was 50kg – which is the typical size of a deep sea fish (I remarked) and he said the kelong’s jetty is so far out it is practically deep sea fishing. Only without a rod, with a reel. Amazing. He invited me to go along next year’s chu er. Exciting!

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