Reef Seafood and Sushi

Reef Seafood and Sushi

When Singapore’s Underwater Seaworld first opened in Sentosa back in the early 90s, my mum took the kids (my sisters and I) and our oft-babysitting grandaunt to visit the new attraction. I pressed my hands and face as close to the glasswall as possible to watch in wonder as the various jewelled fish swam by. If this was what the Little Mermaid’s world was like, I wanted to be a part of it! There was a wonder and desire to learn more about all these creatures that seemed to be living the enchanted life.

That’s until my grandaunt started quipping excitedly in Teochew (our Chinese dialect).

“Look at that fish!”, she pointed a large diamond disc of silver, shimmering away.

“That one… good for steaming with ginger.”

My face turned to horror as she continued to point at each fish while excitedly describing how each could be prepared to optimum flavour for the dinner table. Fried, steamed, sliced, stewed… she didn’t neglect the molluscs or sea cucumber turds at the bottom of the tank from the menu either.

Where I saw beauty and magic in that fish tank, my grandaunt saw sustenance and culinary flavour to live another day. It was in that moment that I realised that almost nothing is sacred nor ‘excused’ from the dinner table, particularly in Chinese culture. In fact, the more alive it was, the fresher and more appealing to the palate.

Reef Seafood and Sushi

To be honest, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Seafood was a staple protein growing up in Southeast Asia. Any homemaker worth her salt would be able to select the freshest fish and bargain for it at the most reasonable price. In fact, one of my fondest childhood memories was of being woken extra early and gingerly tip-toeing around greyish water in my pyjamas as my mother spoke to the fishmonger in Teochew about how best to prepare his special fish of the day and poked it with a finger to test its freshness.

Today that experience is becoming increasingly rare, as modern lamentations have been that such places are unsanitary and smelly. But my upbringing has given me a bias against seafood from supermarkets. Not only do I generally question supermarket seafood freshness, but I find the slabs of processed seafood, unidentifiable save the printed label on the packet rather disconcerting. Give me a gutted whole fish anyday!

However there are two exceptions to this rule for me: fish and chips, and sushi/sashimi. And Reef Seafood and Sushi at Gasworks offers both. The SO went with the chirashi don set and I had the fish of the day with chips.

Reef Seafood and Sushi - Chirashi Don Set. AUD$21.90

Chirashi Don Set. AUD$21.90

Reef Seafood and Sushi

While the SO enjoyed the fresh selection of seafood in the chirashi don set, he lamented that it still didn’t match up to our favourite chirashi don on the Gold Coast by way of variety or aesthetic arrangement. On those fronts, we weren’t wowed.

Reef Seafood and Sushi - Fish of the Day. AUD$15.90

Reef Seafood and Sushi – Fish of the Day. AUD$15.90

The fish and chips on the other hand, fared better by our assessment. Rather than the more commonly available battered, crumbed or grilled fish fillets, Reef Seafood and Sushi coat their fresh fish in panko crumbs. If you’re not familiar with the stuff, you’re missing out on one of the best culinary inventions to have ever left Japan’s shores. Panko is a lighter, crispier and crunchier breadcrumb that is quite coarse and resembles large salt flakes more than coarse sand.

Reef Seafood and Sushi‘s Fish of the Day was the snapper, but the menu was pretty extensive in the range of seafood on offer. I spied other tables and the calamari was a very popular option. And they don’t skimp on the amount of greens with the healthy option.

 

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