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Entree Kibbles

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Kok Sen Restaurant - A Michelin Bib Gourmand Establishment @ Keong Saik Road [Chinatown, Singapore]

Ever since my car was scrapped in 2016, the reduced convenience has resulted in me preferring to spend my weekends at home rather than going out. Hence, when my brother in law offered to drive us to Keong Saik Road for lunch after Kusu Island, i embraced the opportunity!

Known to be the next hip place after Tiong Bahru, i am glad to have so many models coming together for me to shoot this photo! In actual fact, the restaurant we wanted to patronize wouldn't be open for another 10 minutes and photo-taking is an effective way to keep the kids busy.

At noon, the restaurant pulled up its shutters. Frankly, i have no idea what this Kok Sen Restaurant served but my elder sister had dined there on two occasions with her colleagues and thought the food would be well-liked by my parents.

I only knew after my meal that this kopitiam-like establishment is a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant! To be totally honest, i don't really quite care but in the era of the social media; we apparently need this to create attention even though i still don't know how to do it. Haha.

According to Joyce, reservation is strongly recommended even though the eatery spreads across two different pre-war shop-houses and it wasn't that crowded when our group of 7 were there on a Sunday afternoon. p.s. the section we were allocated had, thankfully, air-conditioning.

Now, let's check out the food!

Claypot Yong Tau Foo - deep fried and then braised; this was said to be a must-order and it's apparent that almost every table in the restaurant had one.

Soaked in a pot of delicious, savoury broth, the pieces of yong tau foo were stuffed generously with fish-paste filling that tasted more like prawns! It's definitely worth its thumbs-up logo on the menu.

Golden Dragon Chicken - i thought the name sounded familiar and when this served-only-on-weekend dish appeared in front of me; i knew where i last had this novel dish. It's in Malaysia and i had it about ten years ago.

Good thing about the dish; it has no bones. However, instead of meat, you get a layer of fish paste underneath the lightly crisp roasted skin. As with the Malaysia's version, this was addictive and easy to over-indulge with the sweet dip.

Cereal Butter Squid - from the picture, i doubt you would even know the seafood was squid. Batter was too thick; resulting in weak crispiness and poor batter-squid ratio. I could hardly taste the squid and i think it's better to eat just the cereals, mixed with plain rice.

Deep Fried Grouper with Broccoli - i enjoyed the moist, juiciness of the deep fried grouper but there's an issue; it was on the bland side and it might be best to let the fish soak in the sauce a bit more before you dig into it. Do note that this is not on the menu. 

Big Prawns Hor Fun - in addition to the claypot yong tau foo, this was another popular dish ordered by many diners! Visually, it looked like our typical horfun yet there's something not quite right here.

Have you noticed it yet? Not the big prawns as it's not uncommon to find prawns in horfun. Give you a hint, it's the sauce. Don't you think the sauce resembles that of chilli crab?

In reality, the taste was a perfect fusion between a good plate of hor fun (that's surrounded with wok hei) and chilli crab (yes, it's pretty spicy)! I especially love the large amount of deep-fried shallots scattered over the dish! Prawns were of decent size and fresh; how i wish they were de-shelled beforehand.

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Literally stuffed. Would i be back again? Maybe only for the Big Prawns Hor Fun and Claypot Yong Tau Foo as they were the best out of the lot and overall pricing was a bit too steep for my wallet.

Location
30/32 Keong Saik Road,
Singapore 089137

Operating Days
Tuesdays to Sundays
(Closed on Mondays)

Map

As above.

Reservation (at least 6 persons)
Call 6223-2005

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Claypot Yong Tau Foo - S$23.00
Golden Dragon Chicken - S$32.00
Cereal Butter Squid - S$15.00
Deep Fried Grouper with Broccoli - S$19.00
Big Prawns Hor Fun -S$36.00
(Inclusive of GST)

Additional Information
Note, cash term only! Do bring enough cash with you!

Similan Island No 8 - Climbing Sail Rock and Snorkeling at Donald Duck Bay @ Phang Nga Province (Near Phuket) [Thailand]

We have come to the last stop of our Similan Islands' tour although i would like to add that it's definitely not the final one; i am deliberating between coming out with a separate post for the tour from start to end or subsuming everything into the detailed day 4 posting.

Anyway, it's arrival at Similan Island No 8. Aside from being the largest in the cluster, No 8 (known as Similan Island) also houses its iconic landmark; the Sail Rock

Frankly, it looked vaguely like the sail of a boat at this angle but my creativity-choked mind was thinking more of an alien-faced rock. As you can see from the above photo, visitors can climb up even thought the thought of no safety barrier can be nerve-wrecking for a person with acrophobia! 

There's a path going into the island; let's check it out.

A few photo spots for you to confirm with all your family and friends that you have been to Similan Islands! Well, i prefer to show the scenery rather than these boring, man-made structures. 

Directional signs - there didn't seem to be any hotels / resorts within the Similan Islands clusters which i thought is a pity even though i also think it's a hard pill to swallow to conserve the nature. 

Hm..... this doesn't look much like a restaurant as indicated on the signs; more like a provision / drink shop. Our drinks were already covered in the speedboat as part of the Seastar Andaman tour and we didn't see the need to pay extra for sugared drinks.

Price-list of drinks for your reference.

Local houses, i presume, with a large, algae-filled pond; yes, very unlike the beautiful environment that borders the island. 

Nothing much for us to do except to take on the climb up to Sail Rock! To be frank, i didn't know what to expect and assumed it would be quite an easy hike since many people were proceeding towards the direction of the view point.

Climb was relatively easy for me although it's fraught with glaring safety concerns; i am amazed we have yet to hear of stories of visitors falling down the edge or having their foot stuck in between rocks! To read more, check out my post on the nerve-wrecking climb up Sail Rock.

Now that we were done with the activities within the island, it's time for us to check out the underwater scenery at Donald Duck bay! 

Note to avoid the center area; reserved for the speedboats, it's dangerous for you to swim / snorkel in that area. Anyway, the lack of any rocks in the middle (to facilitate the movement of the boats) also means snorkeling would not be as good.

As an amateur yet enthusiastic photographer, i am always keen to cover as many angles as i could. However, i also enjoy snorkeling and with limited time, it's also a dilemma on which should take precedence. 

Answer is obvious; snorkeling! Water was generally clear but i didn't feel that there were a lot of fishes. Similan Islands were badly affected by the 2004 tsunami and i understand recovery for the ecosystem is slow. 

In addition to spotting a puffer fish, i also found a sea urchin in one of the rock crevices! 

Dad enjoying the snorkeling; i had a hard time persuading him to join me on this trip to Phuket as he is more a mountain than a sea person. Pity he still prefers the mountains over the seas whereas his dear son is okay with either, so long it's a vacation! 

The snorkeling took place on the left side of the Donald Duck Bay and with just 13 minutes to go before departure, i was adamant on rushing to the right side! Why?

Not so much on the snorkeling as the limited time wouldn't have provided me with the required bandwidth to swim out towards the secluded areas where more marine life congregates. 

It's to show you the reason behind Donald Duck Bay! Look out for the rock that the red arrow is pointing towards; that's the Donald Duck Rock although i believe that a long time ago, people would have just called it the duck beak rock. 

Woah, was he going to climb up?! 

Anyway, time to leave; visitors hiding from the sun. I can't really relax by the beach like that and even though there's a high risk of sunburn, i would still like to frolic in the water, under the hot sun! 

Eh, just a random last pic.

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Location
Similan Islands No 8, 
Phang Nga Province (Near Phuket), 
Thailand

Map of Island
As above.

Purchase of Day Trip Package 
The Similan Island day trip package by Seastar Andaman was purchased from At Akarin tour counter near Swissotel Resort (Patong Beach) at a discounted pricing of 2,500 baht; pricing online was 3,800 baht!


What else i did on my Phuket trip

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