After a day of meetings and discussions, I brought my associates, Nigel from UK and Kim from Korea, for seafood dinner. A trip to Singapore is not complete without a visit to UDMC Seafood Centre where they can dine under the stars while looking out into the sea. With promises of seafood like crabs cooked in anyway imaginable –steamed or cooked in chilli, curry, black pepper, white pepper, butter, ginger or spring onion, they were in a hurry to get there.
Jumbo Seafood is my favourite restaurant. I can order with my eyes closed. The signature dish, chilli crab eaten with fried man tou, is to-die-for! We also ordered crispy baby squid in tangy sweet sauce, steamed fish and seafood fried rice.
While waiting for the food to arrive, I insisted they try some satay and Tiger Beer. When the squid was served, they were initially intrigued by the miniature size, but were soon nodding in approval after biting into the crunchy little morsels bursting with flavours.
The Chilli Crab proved to be a winner! Being the gracious host, I handed each guy a huge claw to tackle. The taste of sweet succulent flesh enhanced by the spicy tangy sauce quickly won them over though they wished there were bibs to prevent their shirts from getting stained. It’s inevitable, I told them. Using your hands and getting messy is part of the joy of eating here.
Even the seafood fried rice, cooked with generous helpings of fresh scallop and prawns, was very well received. Fragrant, fluffy and not too oily, it complemented the steamed garoupa very nicely. We managed to polish up everything on the plates.
While driving home, I was pleased that my guests enjoyed the dinner. It also got me thinking that restaurants like Jumbo have the right business formula that hasn’t changed for decades. It had obviously worked very well for them as the outlets are packed with locals and tourists every single night.
I remember during our brain-storming session, Nigel had said “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Well said!