Thursday, October 31, 2013

Renggis Island - Final Stop of the Full Day Snorkeling Trip @ Tioman Island [Malaysia]

Renggis Island and Coral Island were often grouped as the two islands to visit for a typical snorkeling package for most, if not all resorts in Tioman Island. 

What i didn't expect was that Renggis Island is amazingly small and should be more appropriately known as a sizable outcrop with a green canopy rather than an island. 

When it comes to snorkeling, whether an island is big or small is inconsequential! What's more important are the variety of marine life, the quantity of them and the beauty of the scenery that greets you as you plunge into the water.
 
As far as underwater scenery is concerned, Renggis Island doesn't have much to offer as you could probably attest from the many photographs above. It was not too bad although i personally would prefer Teluk Genting in Coral Island

Variety was one of the better ones where i can see fishes of various sizes and different colours. In my case, catching sight of a clownfish while snorkeling would be a bonus! 

A lot of sea urchins with eyes that should belong to a sci-fi movie! Given the depth of the seawater, my legs were thankfully not long enough to step on one. See! Here's one of many benefits for not being tall! 

Quantity wise, i rest my case. 

Damn, this resort is so near to Renggis Island! If we stayed here, i can bet with you we would be as dark as charcoal when we return to Singapore! Anyone can tell me what resort is this?!

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To check out the rest of my full day snorkeling trip, click the following;

Want to know what to bring on a snorkeling trip?
Click HERE

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A for Arbite for Dinner @ 28 Aliwal Street (Near Arab Street and Beach Road)

While everyone knows that A for Apple, B for Boy, C for Cat, D for... , you get the picture, there were three secondary school buddies who decided to change our childhood learning by insisting A is for Arbite! 

What the hell is Arbite? It is supposed to be a German / Danish word for work although in my shallow opinion, it could have bloody meant i bite! Nothing violent, just a simple way of expressing my love for food.

Anyway, Arbite was the Great Kon's second latest recommendation (his latest was Mad for Garlic which i shall blog in a separate post)! And if i recommend correctly, this visit was his fourth! Or was it fifth?!

p.s. upon some clarification, i have to make a correction here; it was the newly minted Mrs Kon (previously known as Vanessa Tan) who was the first to check out and recommend Arbite!

Lobster Cake
This was okay. As usual, i am biased against potato croquette kind of food and this was similar given the heavy weightage of potato with hardly any surprising element. 

Escargot
Deviating from the normal way of land snails served in shells, each escargot was actually placed on top of button mushroom cup and then cooked with garlic butter! For mushroom lovers, you would definitely enjoy the buttery, earthly taste of fungi even though as far as escargots were concerned, their flavour was sadly masked by the mushrooms. 

Lobster Thermidor
A rich concoction making up of Maine lobster (pieces, not whole), crabmeat, mushrooms, cream, mustard, brand and parmesan cheese, it was an incredibly potent dip that was exceptionally buttery, savoury! 

There was only one problem; i required more slices of bread!!!

Pan-fried Scallops
Most pan-fried scallops i had a crunchy texture but the ones here were unimaginably soft and juicy! Not only that, the combination of prune and balsamic puree and crispy parma ham made me wondered why other restaurants are not doing it the yummy way Arbite does! 

Kimchi Aglio Olio
It must be all the running man shows that enticed us to make an order for this Korean inspired pasta. Weirdly, instead of getting whole leaves of fermented cabbage, we were given unhealthy braised pork belly! 

The spiciness reminded me of kimchi instant noodles, which i can easily cook myself in the comfort of my own kitchen and the pork belly was too dry for my liking. 

Beef Onglet Tataki
Despite having a presentation similar to the content of some canned dog food, this was simply delicious with a juiciness and tenderness that could have beaten a big slab of quality steak!

Jar of Duck
This was more than just duck. In addition to duck rillettes (some sort of pate) and duck breast meat, that tiny glass jar also contained luxurious items like foie gras, black truffles and, roasted grapes (i have never heard of grapes being roasted)!

Two more photographs to whet your appetite and give you a clearer picture on what's inside the jar!

The flavour might be a bit overwhelming if you eat it on its own; do use the crackers which can be replenished upon request! One way i can describe the taste was akin to tuna without the fishiness yet slightly vinegarish added with a nice punch of pungency (thanks to the truffle oil). 

Oh, by the way, roasted grapes tasted so good! 

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Location
28 Aliwal Street, #01-01 
[Finding a carpark lot is frustrating, so please consider parking your car at Sultan Plaza or Keypoint and use both your legs to walk over]

Map
As above

Number to Call for Reservation
8321 2252

Website

Price
Lobster Cake - S$6.00
Escargot - S$5.00
Lobster Thermidor - S$12.00
Pan-fried Scallops - S$8.00
Kimchi Aglio Olio - S$21.90
Beef Onglet Tataki - S$6.00
Jar of Duck - S$19.50
[Subject to GST and Service Charge]

Menu
As above

Additional Information
Kindly keep in mind that portions were not big and multiple requests for the same dish are highly probable! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pantai Paya Seafood Restaurant @ Kampong Paya [Tioman Island]

I can honestly tell you what was in my mind when i saw the above dining outfit when i disembarked from the ferry at Kampong Paya; "there is no way i am going to eat there"!

Rundown would be the best compliment i can give to the place and i always associate rundown with bad hygiene, just like many people. However, except for this deceiving picture i attached below, the place was usually crowded with hungry diners during mealtimes! 

So, both Alex and I deemed that it was necessary to dispel our fear of a possible diarrhea laden trip back to Singapore and order a few dishes on our last day in the village. 

Fu Rong Egg
I would at most classify this as an omelette you can get from egg counter in the resort's buffet breakfast. A big disappointment as i was expecting a strong tasting egg with a rich coating of wok hei.

Deep Fried Calamari in Salted Egg
That delectable aroma was so enticing yet the taste betrayed its intention; neither did it exude that savouriness signature of salted egg yolk nor did it manage to include that fragrant sweetness that would have made me like it a bit more. 

Steamed Fish
I am not a person who would go for steamed fish when i am outside the house but the owner of the restaurant was marveling about this 1.2 kilogram fish freshly caught from the sea and our dear Alex decided to place the order for it.

That's our dear Alex to you. He didn't seem to care that it was a big fish and there were just the two of us; one who has a small stomach (him) and the other one who has been trying to lose weight (me).

To give the poor fish the benefit, it was easily the freshest i have ever had and the meat was so chunky! As the saying goes, steaming the fish is the best way to gauge its freshness and this was definitely well worth the monies.

If only my mom was there to help me clean up the fish!

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Location
Kampong Paya [from the jetty, turn right]

Price
Fu Rong Egg - RM8.00
Deep Fried Calamari - RM15.00
Steamed Fish - RM70.00

Menu
As above.

Additional Information
Ask for the wifi password! 

There was a half built structure right in front of the restaurant. I sure hope this would be its extension overlooking the splendid ocean! 


Monday, October 28, 2013

Tioman Island Marine Park (Tetek) - Full Day Snorkeling Trip Part 3

My mom always says it's not good to swim with a full stomach - despite knowing this; it didn't stop me from jumping into the inviting water when the speedboat brought us to the third snorkeling site after lunch! 

At least i didn't attempt to do what the guys did above; they dived directly from the jetty whereas i slowly climbed down to where the steps met the water and plunged with a less dramatic splash. 

Some background information of the marine park - it is located close to Tetek Village, the main gateway (as far as air travel is concerned) of Tioman Island and unlike most places on the island, it has retaining walls erected on some sections of the sandy beach.

Before i start with the underwater world, maybe i should just pre-warned you about the definition of marine park; it doesn't necessarily mean you are in a natural enclave where fishes swim without a care for the world and corals thrive like cockroaches. 

Water visibility was clear for close to three, four meters but i didn't get to see much corals. In fact, there were artificial reefs installed on the seabed that would take a long while before you get to see colours other than grey.

Strangely, the lack of corals didn't appear to affect the quantity of fishes as the marine park was simply teeming with them! And i am not even referring to those smaller, common yellow-black striped ones!

See!!!! I didn't even remember having so many fishes of such size surrounding me in other snorkeling sites! Hm...... highly suspicious... were those yellow-tipped fishes specially caged up in the marine park? 

Whatever the case, the danger of stepping onto a coral and risk injuring yourself (and the coral) was basically non-existent. 

And that's when people started relaxing and treated the marine park more like a humongous swimming pool!

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