Monday, August 20, 2007

Review: Jumbo Seafood at UDMC

Having grown up on the West Coast of Singapore all my life, I have never been extremely at ease driving or staying in the East Coast. Singapore is so small that you would not think which side you're on makes a difference at all, but it does. I recently went to the East Coast for a great seafood dinner with my colleagues and I was, like everytime I go there, surprised by the space, the tranquility and the leisure of the place. To be fair, it has changed quite a lot.

We went to the East Coast Park, which is a lovely green belt, landscaped with a new outdoor restaurant area and a cable-surfing pool. It was a lovely, cool, windy night to be out and we were all in great spirits as we'd been promised a seafood treat. It was indeed a feast.

The stir fried beef and two kinds of vegetables came first. We were all there for the seafood primarily but the other dishes at Jumbo Seafood can definitely hold their own.

We had a simple stir fried vegetable, followed by a sambal kang kong and the beef was just marinated then stir fried with shallots and spring onions.

These were followed by a large plate of mee goreng, which was alright but lacked flavour. Probably the only dish on the table left unfinished at the end of the meal.

This was followed by two dishes that I really enjoyed- the first was a dish of bamboo clams. Although I'm told these are really popular in Singapore, I've only ever had them once, perhaps because they are a very pricey dish. The way it was done here though, steamed, with simple light soya sauce, chilli, vermicelli, spring onion and garlic, really brought out the fragrance and tenderness of the clams. We each got one, but I could have eaten the whole dish!

The second dish was rather interesting, I've never had it before. This was fishcake, wrapped in a dried tofu shell and deep fried, then sprinkled with sesame seeds. It was the most brilliant unhealthy way of eating both fish cake and tofu and I entirely enjoyed it. The crunchiness of the tofu skin made a really good counterpoint to the soft flesh of the fish cake.

After these two dishes, we really got into the seafood, ie. fish and crabs portion of the meal. The first dish was the proverbial, but still very good, very soft and smooth, steamed fish. This was neither a garoupa or a soon hock, I think it was some type of seabass.

Afterward, we had three types of crabs, the butter crab and the chilli crab and the usual black pepper crab. Most tourists come here to eat crabs and you can see why, the flesh is succulent and the crabs are really big.

All three kinds were really good but I'm pretty old fashioned, I like my crabs just plain steamed with ginger or the butter crab, I usually find the black pepper crab a little hot for my taste! (Although the black pepper crab is Singapore's most well known and I think most well loved).

The chilli crab is not really hot but it comes with a sort of gooey curry sauce, into which some of the crab juices (and meat) has dribbled out, for which the restaurant gives you a plate of fried man tou or chinese bread dumplings, to dip in the sauce. Utterly sinful and totally yummy. I'm not a huge fan of the chilli crab, I usually like to taste my crab and its flavours without the chilli stinging the roof of my mouth, but I am a fan of the dipping gravy.

The restaurant was packed. If you want to go, make a reservation and get the table that's right on the outside, nearest to the water and the open sea breeze. I like this set up, I don't think it's the cheapest but it's clean and brightly lit, while maintaining the high standards for the freshness and quality of their seafood.

It's a sign of the booming economy that this place is filled pretty much any night of the week so if you intend to visit, plan ahead! It's a fun, communal experience, while not the most snobby of dining places, when approached with the right attitude, it is a hugely satisfying dinner.

Jumbo Seafood Pte Ltd
Blk 1206 East Coast Parkway #01-08
UDMC Seafood Centre Singapore 449883

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