Like I have been telling people, Chinese New Year is losing its entire meaning for me. It used to be about hanging out with my cousins, receiving hongbaos ($$) and also eating luxurious food. But now... my cousins have grown up and doing their own things, hongbaos I stopped receiving when I started work, and food? I can afford it myself, so nothing special anymore.
So yesterday, B1 and I went to find the essence of Chinese New Year at Chinatown. Except it was raining like cats and dogs, and only the Caucasians were smart enough to sit under temporary shelters drinking alcohol, while locals dashed and darted under umbrellas and plastic canopies trying to buy some Chinese New Year goods. There was a street where the wicked stallholders lowered the canopies and tied them with crisscrossing strings across the road so that umbrellas became tangled and people became trapped potential customers. I was hit in the head with a few umbrella spokes, which made me super mad.
I wanted to eat the famous chicken rice or dim sum, but then because it was so crowded and raining so hard, we turned left instead and ended up at the street where the office gang and I went KTV last CNY. Other than the few stalls open, and amazingly their tables, which lined the street were still filled up with tourists, determined to eat hawker food. We thought about eating at the la mian shop, but when we crossed towards the shop, I came upon this Holland Ville XO Fish Head Bee Hoon Soup (B1 was still staring into the La Mian shop, looking for a table in vain).
What better way to keep warm, then to eat XO laced Fish Meat Bee Hoon Soup?
As is typical behavior, the uncle labored arduously for the table of foreign tourists, and left his rather unobservant female colleague to miss my frantic waving. Luckily the cleaning uncle spotted me and told his colleague twice to take our order.
We ordered cuttlefish with KangKong, their famous XO Fish Meat Bee Hoon Soup and crabmeat with Beancurd. The Kellerin said that the Fish Meat Bee Hoon soup came with big pieces of fish instead of the usual thin slices you find at other stalls. Well, while they were large pieces alright, there were only three pieces apiece for me and B1. B1 complained that the soup wasn't very hot, while I was in love with the soup and drank it all up (I think one of the reasons why I had that severe food allergy later that night). The other two dishes were digusting. Seriously. They should just sell the Bee Hoon soup. Full Stop.
The crabmeat with beancurd arrived with little bits of crab and plenty of ginger. Now crab is a sweet and delicately flavored meat, so why the hell would you smother it with so much ginger? The answer is simple. The crabmeat isn't fresh. And other than the overwhelming taste of ginger, the dish was tasteless. As was the Kangkong and cuttlefish. Too much water in the dish. The cuttlefish was likely just boiled and dumped on top of the equally bland Kangkong.
The meal was cheap (S$33 in all) but extremely dissatisfying. We saw the uncle pander to the tourist table, voluntarily popping at their table to top up their cold tea with more hot water. I had to grab him as he was walking away to top up mine (I was very cold from the rain).
I don't think I will go there again, especially after my stupid experience with the twilight zone.