Singapore is so blessed.
We have many natural deep waters sea ports due to the surrounding waters around Singapore are naturally deep. The Johore Straits situated North of Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong are not passable to ships. As such, Johore is most unfortunate and miserable. It’s a huge financial burden to dredge and maintain the water ways deep enough for ship passage.
All ships sailing towards Pasir Gudang must use Singapore sea lanes between Pulau Tekong / Pulau Ubin and Changi/Sembawang. Just imagine how much money can be collected if Singapore were to install the infamous ERP or rather ESLP!
Singapore is also blessed with many varieties of marine fishes. There are easily more than 8 species of grouper family.
The grouper family are namely…
1 ) Giant grouper龙旦 (Lóng dàn), locally referred to as Tun grouper
2 ) Mouse (Lo She ban) or Humpback grouper
3 ) Coral Trout 七星斑 (Qī xīng bān)
4 ) Leopard Coral Grouper, 星斑 (Star grouper) also known locally as Red grouper
5 ) Brown Marble grouper or Tiger grouper虎班
6 ) Dragon Tiger Grouper 龙虎班
7 ) Orange Spots grouper 红点石斑 also referred to locally as Green Eye grouper
8 ) Blueline grouper蓝线石斑 (Lán xiàn shí bān) The Blueline grouper is relatively unknown, rare and elusive but never expensive. It is easily 50% cheaper than the normal grouper or a fraction of the highly priced Giant grouper. Due to its size and shape, most don’t even realize that it belongs to the grouper family.
How many types of grouper have you eaten?
I shall not say the same with the Long Dan grouper.
I’ll declare unabashedly that I’ve eaten them all; i.e. the 8 grouper species.
BTW, the Coral Trout and Leopard groupers can cost as much as the King of Fish (Pomfret) which we had eaten in early Feb 2020.
An interesting fact about groupers is that they are hermaphrodite. They can change from female to male as they grow older or when there is shortage of male groupers.
I bought seven groupers at Changi Village from my fisherman friend, Encik Karim. Five of which are the Orange Spots.
This evening, we shall have three of the five Orange Spots grouper (Top photo). It is by far the most common species found in Singapore waters. Common doesn’t mean it’s not a quality fish. It’s as good and fresh as it should be.
I always love table size or smaller groupers. Total weight of the 3 groupers is about 1.8 kg.
I have not seen the Lo Shee Ban grouper for a long while.
Other than Low Shee Ban grouper, we will have the opportunity to try the other 6 species. I am not exaggerating if I say it also includes the highly priced Long Dan grouper. As with the name Giant grouper, I probably got to savour only a fillet. But that’s not very complete to satisfy my palate.
Nay, I promise to bring a whole fish. It has to be an infant most probably.
We don’t need gluttons. Nevertheless, even though it is an infant we still need a crowd of gourmands with jaded palates to feast.
Is there anything else to be written about groupers?
This is the Dragon Tiger. It is very much sought after by the Chinese mainlanders. They even rank it higher than the Coral Trout 七星斑 (Qī xīng bān). Local fishermen will offer the Coral Trout for not less than $35 per kg. However, locals don’t rank the Dragon Tiger as high. That is most fortunate for us.
I butchered that fish all by myself. A true aficionado will get full satisfaction from the way I managed to extract the maximum from this fish.
This evening PL must pamper and indulge himself with beer and this delicious fresh catch. PL is my regular Tuesday golf buddy. He was unavailable for golf that day due to family commitment. Nevertheless, he came for dinner and always accompanied by his learned wife, a degree holder in English literature. PL a relatively young man at 48 years seems to be quite frugal even though he’s wealthy. So, I teased him. We trust, he wouldn’t miss this opportunity.
The second dinner, an 80 year old retired HDB executive engineer who lives comfortably in a landed house in Dunearn Rd.
Lastly, one 69 year old finance professional who retired at an early age at 45 years. He lives in a semi-detached house, owns 2 Porche 911 series and an A8L long wheel base Audi.
I’m already looking forward tothe dinner at our usual Tze Char stall at Tampiness St 44. I hope all of us would enjoy the dinner.
Written by Freddie Tan