Monday, April 5, 2010

Eating at a converted storeroom - Hai Liang Family Restaurant

There is nothing like Hunger and Seafood. By afternoon, I had pedaled half my guts out, thanks to our combined stupidity in allowing Teletubby who deliberately visits 鸟不生蛋狗不拉屎 (literally translated as "bird no lay egg, dog no shit", also otherwise known as 'ulu' in malay, or inaccessible in English) places when he travels, to take the lead in choosing the routes.

So we went to the eponymous Hai Liang Family Restaurant, the converted storeroom of the family home of the recently deceased last centenarian of Pulau Ubin. Now a thriving restaurant, we popped over for lunch after I bought a new pair of slippers at their provision shop. Facing a giant mousetrap at face level (what kind of rats do they have on the island?), I struggled to keep a straight face as I wondered if I should satisfy my fantasy of buying the inevitable local slippers with the unforgiving blue straps and white soles (I had been relating that fantasy to B1 just earlier as we sought shelter from the relentless rain and I was staring down at my useless sports shoes) when I chanced upon the more futuristic brown soled flip flops with poky bumps.

The Teletubby complained that he was hot, which was somewhat unbelievable, considering that rain continued to beat down on the white tarpaulin shelter that the family had set up to cover their guests as they guzzled down fresh seafood. He wanted to sit down in front of a fan under the dubious shelter of a big umbrella. The others were like, let's share with that family of three...

So we sat down to six dishes. Baby Kailan fried with garlic bits (it is very telling how carnivorous we were that HC and I did not take photos of that dish), Pork Ribs, Deep Fried Baby Squid, Prawn Balls, Fish Soup, and Mango Chicken (Interestingly they do not have the mainstay of all Chinese Restaurants in Singapore, Prawn Paste Chicken).

I consider that Mango Chicken to be the Pièce de résistance of the entire meal. It was served with julienned green mango, ala Thai style, which did an excellent job of masking the grease. Loved the dish. Fish soup came in a huge bowl, and was served first, Cantonese style. I supposed it was testament to good cooking that I was not too thirsty afterwards, (i.e. the cook did not cook as if MSG was the only condiment in the resturant) though I must say the ingredients were low in the bowl. I felt the rest of the dishes were comparable to the usual quality one gets in a decent Chinese restaurant, though B1 did say he liked the prawn balls (he said there was a bite-sized prawn bit in each ball). We couldn't be a fair judge of this seafood restaurant, because we did not order the more expensive Seafood items, like Chili Crabs. But I think that if a restaurant can deliver well on the cheaper, simpler dishes, he already rates high in my book. After all, simpler is harder to cook.

PS. All the images were taken from HC's camera. Mine were too blurry due to my eagerness to get at the dishes.

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