Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yishun’s Bottle Tree Park

On a beautiful day, the KL shopping kakis decided to meet up and do something different for a change. They didn’t manage to travel to Malaysia for holiday this year, a pity, due to differences in schedule. Therefore, they decided to find retreat in Singapore instead. A relaxing place with never-done before activities…

This bottle-shaped tree is aptly known as Bottle Tree. It is native to Australia and cost the park owner quite a fortune to fly them from Australia, so that they can be transplanted in Singapore…

The dilemma is that we have basically done everything that we could do in Singapore. There are only that many songs to sing in Karaoke, that many shopping centres we can shopped in, that many movies we can watch, that many one for one buffets we can enjoy…

So, after a brain storming session, we decided to do something “outdoorsy”, something close to natural, something which we have heard a lot, but never tried before.
We decided to …

…go Prawn-Fishing ~! I first got know of prawn fishing activities from this nasty “Ah Beng” intern. Don’t know why, but he always bring the gang of intern to go prawn fishing in the middle of night. I always wondered then whether it is really “fun”.

We reached there at about 1 pm. There were few groups of people already fishing. Each of them occupied certain area of the pond, patiently waiting for prawns to hook. Seriously, it doesn’t looked like it was a difficult task. Every few minutes, there will always be a prawn hooked up somewhere.
Prawn fishing charges hourly. I remembered we paid about $13 dollars each for 1 hour worth of fishing time. Rods and baits are provided. It looked easy enough, but strangely experience does play an important part.

The uncle-in-charge was a very nice guy. At Bottle Tree Park, there is no such things as “to prevent people catching too much prawns”. Somehow, I got to a slow start. Prawns just avoided my bait. Uncle though busy with other chores, still managed to keep an eye on me. After 15 mins without a hook-on, he came back and check my rod. Eventually, he decided to change a new rod for me and even directs me to a good fishing spot.

He said “Let’s get you another rod, if not you will be bored and not be able to enjoy fishing with your friend.” I was so impressed with their service standard.

True enough, less than two minutes after his coaching, I caught my very first prawn. It was a female prawn with roe. Somewhat, I pity it a lot and did not want to eat it. Thus, I secretly missed the net when trying to put it into the net. Big sister caught eye of it and I was scolded for wasting time and money. Well, as long as my conscientious felt better (briefly) then. 

Here’s some inside tips about prawn fishing. The bait used is actually chicken heart. Usually, you only need a small piece at the tip of the hook. Uncle says the heart will expand when comes in contact with water, so don’t be greedy and use a big piece. Also, prawn had a small mouth, so if it is too big, you might not be able to hook it.

Then when fishing, try to place your line near ventilators, Uncle said that prawns usually congregated there for more air. The next thing to take note is to be able to spot the slight, very gentle tugging. When the prawn is eating the bait, it would tug the line. 
While you might not agree, but sometimes it pays to be the “weaker sex”. Even with uncle’s tutorage, I did not fare too well, only managed to catch about 3 prawns. (I thought I have committed enough sins…) Mindy caught slightly more than me but still lost to the winner - Jade who caught more than a dozen of them. She practically got prawns up her hook every few minutes. I guessed she is their cup of tea.

Maybe our laughable awkward action caught eye of those experienced fisher, one of them actually gave all of his catch, about 20 of them, to us. I jokingly exclaimed that Jade is not only good at catching prawns, but also caught attention from some men. LOL.  

The good thing about bottle tree park is that they have an electrical grill near the pond, for people to grill prawns on the spot.

The thing about prawn fishing is that it is rather cruel spots. Called me a hypocrite, although I am a meat-eater, but I can’t bear to kill them myself. In the end, Mindy and Jade had to wash, cut off their long claws, skewed them for me to cook them. Mindy joked that if we were back to prehistoric times, Jade will be the hunter, she will be the processor and I will be the chef.

Nope I did not felt better after hearing it. I was really bad.

It was interesting, but somewhat cruel activity. I think I still prefer to delude myself with packed meat and dead seafood.

To those prawns that I have cooked that day, may your souls rest in peace and be born a better being.


For those who are not that sentimental, please do visit Bottle Tree Park. It is a relaxing place with many back-to-natural activities for one to rub off those city-stresses.

Visit their website for more details:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Good Luck Birthday Noodles

Celebrating one’s Birthday with a Birthday cake has become a common practise that people forget it was originally a western tradition. Traditionally, Chinese would celebrate one’s lunar birthday with a bowl of noodles cooked in broth called mian xian “面线". The supposedly long noodles symbolised longevity and Chinese would add a pair of hard-boiled eggs for good luck.

My mum cooked me a bowl of mian xian on my lunar birthday. A simple pig liver and minced meat noodles soup, with of course a pair of hard boil eggs for good luck. A simple dish, but filled with so much love and well-wishes.

Immediately, one felt much better smelling the appetising sesame seed oil fragrance. To be eaten while it is hot, I sweat as I gulped down the noodles – a sign of purifying. Hmm…I wondered if one’s bad luck would be expel from body through the sweat. I certainly hope it was!

山穷水尽疑无路 柳岸花明又一村。。。