Old Geylang – Exotic Or Erotic Comestibles?

As a gourmand, I am always hungry to try new eateries and food. While the restaurants or cuisine may not be exactly au courant to the rest of the foodie community (non-bloggers inclusive), they still seem ‘modernistic’ to me as I am not up-to-date with our local makan scene.

A newbie at food blogging (I started less than a year ago), I started out with a couple of food photos and have evolved from simply writing about my homecooked recipes (while living in Melbourne) to now sharing my dining adventures at food centres and restaurants. My return to Singapore has exposed my blogging experience to a whole new level of the culinary world. I have been invited to culinary schools, wine tasting sessions and attended a few food tasting events at premier restaurants’ soft openings. I have traveled to Malaysia with Tony Johor Kaki just for food blogging endeavours. This post was made possible because Derrick, the creator of SG Food On Foot, invited me. I had no idea dinner was going to be exotic or should I say capable of producing erotic-gastronomic impulses!

Turtle soup is one of many Chinese delicacies with aphrodisiacal qualities (alongside oysters, most shellfish and many others. The same goes for crocodiles, they aren’t just fashion statement from Hermès).The meat, skin and innards of the soft-shelled turtles are used in soups or stews. Although we consume turtles, we do not eat the hard-shelled variety due to their mythical connotations.

At the end of the day, good food is a joy. It brings delight to all of our senses (not just the tastebuds). While Chinese women are concerned about rejuvenating foods, their men like to place restorative diet in an orbit similar to erotic pleasure; they use it as an aphrodisiac prior to bedroom activities. A good mistress of the house would have a steaming hot bowl of soup waiting for the master when he arrives home. And more often than not, the soup contains the phallus of an animal, lol… Both genders believe the phallic diet to guarantee male generative powers and sexual prowess. Living overseas for the past 10 years, I think it is easier to prepare a delicious dessert of strawberries and cream!

By the way, did you know that turtle soup was U.S. President William Howard Taft’s favorite food and that he brought a special chef into the White House for the specific purpose of preparing this dish? So it’s not just a Chinese thing. I guess boys will be boys and they’ll have they eyes on… Food, glorious provocative food! 😉

Drum roll please!

Peking Duck. See my post on Peking Duck for more info on this dish.

Peking Duck.
For more info on this dish, click on the photo to see my post.

David told me that an order of Whole Peking Duck can produce roughly 20 pieces of skin in crepes.

David told me that an order of Whole Peking Duck can produce 20 pieces of skin in crepes.

This is the way to eat the Peking Duck.<br />A slice of thin meaty skin, cucumber and spring onions blanketed in an egg crepe.

This is the way to eat the Peking Duck.
A slice of thin meaty skin, cucumber and spring onions blanketed in an egg crepe.

For S$10 more, you can get the chef to stirfry the duck's meat with noodles (Old Geylang offers a variety of ways to make use of the remaining duck's meat.

For S$10 more, you can get the chef to stirfry the duck’s meat with noodles (Old Geylang offers a variety of ways to make use of the remaining duck’s meat).

Turtle Soup. Pour some herb infused wine into the claypot of turtle soup to ehnace the soup's flavour as well as to promote blood circulation.

Turtle Soup.
Pour some herb infused wine into the claypot of turtle soup to ehnace the soup’s flavour as well as to promote blood circulation.

The skin and meat of the soft-shelled turtle. The broth was enriched with the addition of some Chinese herbs.

The skin and meat of the soft-shelled turtle.
The broth was enriched with the addition of some Chinese herbs.

The soup was light and tasty but they have different levels of strength. Just let the order taker know if you want stronger or normal brew.

The soup was light and tasty but they have different levels of strength.
Just let the order taker know if you want stronger or normal brew.

Mr. Ong Siong Lim showing us some newspapers' report of his culinary achievement stories.

Mr. Ong Siong Lim showing us some newspapers’ report of his culinary achievement stories.

From the age of 8, Mr. Ong Siong Lim and his brother helped his father to sell turtle soup at Chinatown before the World War II. At that time, one bowl of soup cost 2 cents only. This was the best tonic available only to the coolies. In the 70s, the two brothers each went on their own separate ways, Mr Ong Siong Lim with great ambition started his business at the Central Business District (CBD). With good service and excellent quality of food, his daily sales amounted to $1000 (with 3 hours of business). It was simply amazing. In the 80s, he established his first specialized shop, Turtle House. – excerpt from Turtle House’s website

As we listened to Mr. Ong reminiscing the good old days and how his customers swore by the aphrodisiac powers of turtle penis, returning often to have their special brew, the following dish was served. Hmmm… very interesting look and texture. I wonder what it was.

Hmmm... very interesting look and texture. I 've never seen anything like it.

Hmmm… very interesting look and texture. I ‘ve never seen anything like it.

It looked like stingray at first glance but we usually grill, stir-fry or curry stingrays.<br />When asked what this unique dish was, we were told to make a guess.<br />What do you think it was?

It looked like stingray at first glance but we usually grill, stir-fry or curry stingrays.
When asked what this unique dish was, we were told to make a guess.
What do you think it was?

Crocodile Fin (or tail).<br />Each crocodile's can only produce 3 pieces of these.

Crocodile Fin (or tail).
Each crocodile’s can only produce 3 pieces of these.

I'm about to try the reptilian tail. Hope it tastes good. Fingers crossed.

I’m about to try the reptilian tail. Hope it tastes good. Fingers crossed.

The dissected look and taste was like that of a piece of pork belly except for the bone which looked like a fish's.

The dissected look and taste was like that of a piece of pork belly except for the bone which looked like a fish’s.

I was cautiously slicing up the “rump” when David offered me the information that all of Old Geylang’s turtle and crocodile meat are bought from approved breeding establishments and complies with importation controls & permits and quotas.

The reptile’s skin texture was nearly the same as pork belly but firmer. Again in comparison to braised pork belly, the mouthfeel of the reptile’s skin was more springy. There was no fats in between the skin and meat. There was no fat marbling within the meat too. Surprisingly, the meat was tender and not “stringy” as I had preconceived. There was no gamey smell at all. In fact, it was quite brilliant!

The penis of Crocodile.<br />Another sought after item by men for its aphrodisiac quality. It is the size of a matured chicken's drumstick and looked like one, thus it is also nicknamed as the "Chicken Drumstick". This is where my gungho-ness end. I did not and will not try the dish. None of the invited guests tried.

The penis of Crocodile.
Another sought-after item by men for its aphrodisiac quality.
It is the size of a matured chicken’s drumstick and looked like one, thus it is also nicknamed as the “Chicken Drumstick”.
This is where my gungho-ness end. I did not and will not try the dish. None of the invited guests tried.

The above picture nearly killed my appetite and so I diverted my camera to what was happening in my environment.

David, in black (standing), talking to a pastor from his church. There were many families dining at this restaurant. The place was filled up as my dinner proceeded.

David, in black (standing), talking to a pastor from his church.
There were many families dining at this restaurant. The place was filled up as my dinner proceeded.

Derrick, the founder of SG Food on Foot. Click on the photo to be linked to his blog.

Derrick, the founder of SG Food on Foot.
Click on the photo to be linked to his blog.

Tony, founder of Johor Kaki. Click on the photo to be linked to his blog.

Tony, founder of Johor Kaki.
Click on the photo to be linked to his blog.

And me :)

And me 🙂

Boston Lobster. Boston Lobster has taken over the traditional Lobster as they are more meaty and less expensive.

Boston Lobster.
Boston Lobster has taken over the traditional Lobster as they are more meaty and less expensive.

Click on pictures for full view.

Charsiu (BBQ Pork). Chinese Roasts are usually served as a starter but this came in the middle of our dinner.

Charsiu (BBQ Pork).
Chinese Roasts are usually served as a starter but this came in the middle of our dinner.

Glass Charsiu. "Glass" is fats. This charsiu was made from pork belly as opposed to the leaner versions made from pork loin, pork neck or collar.

Glass Charsiu.
“Glass” is fats. This charsiu was made from pork belly as opposed to the leaner versions made from pork loin, pork neck or collar.

Siew Yoke (Crispy Pork Belly). The method of roasting is in accordance with traditional Hong Kong style and served with mustard.

Siew Yoke (Crispy Pork Belly).
The method of roasting is in accordance with traditional Hong Kong style and served with mustard.

Marble Goby Fish aka Soon Hock Fish (顺壳鱼).

Marble Goby Fish aka Soon Hock Fish (顺壳鱼).

The Marble Goby (soon hock) is the biggest species of gobies and is one of the best tasting freshwater fishes, often served in restaurants. They either steamed or deep-fried as shown here. The texture of the meat is super fine and tender.

The Marble Goby (soon hock) is the biggest species of gobies and is one of the best tasting freshwater fishes, often served in restaurants.
They are either steamed or deep-fried as shown here.
The texture of the meat is super fine and tender.

Chinese Steamed Bun aka Mantou (饅頭).

Chinese Steamed Bun aka Mantou (饅頭).

Man Tou is Chinese Dinner Rolls. We usually eat them steamed or deep-fried as shown here. Now when you see this item, it is an accompaniment to some dishes with gravy. The buns act as a "mop" to mop up the delicious gravy of the main dish. So what dish did we have?

Man Tou is Chinese Dinner Rolls. We usually eat them steamed or deep-fried as shown here.
Now when you see this item, it is an accompaniment to some dishes with gravy.
The buns act as a “mop” to mop up the delicious gravy of the main dish.
So what dish did we have?

The locals would have guessed it straightaway.<br />Chilli Crabs - one of the many foods that represents Singapore.<br />In other parts of the world, they called this dish (style of cooking crabs) Singapore Chilli Crabs.<br />Usually, Sri Lankan Crabs are used as was the case here.<br />Sri Lankan Crabs are bigger in size, the meat is firmer and sweeter.<br />I can't quite put my finger to the sauce here. It is very unique. Ah yes, trade secret.

The locals would have guessed it straightaway.
Chilli Crabs – one of the many foods that represents Singapore.
In other parts of the world, they called this dish (style of cooking crabs) Singapore Chilli Crabs.
Usually, Sri Lankan Crabs are used as was the case here.
Sri Lankan Crabs are bigger in size, the meat is firmer and sweeter.
I can’t quite put my finger to the sauce here. It is very unique. Ah yes, trade secret.

Just when I thought the crabs were the last of our dinner, our generous hosts were not done. They brought these out. A reminder of the many live seafood they offer at Old Geylang.

Just when I thought the crabs were the last of our dinner, our generous hosts were not done.
They brought these out. A reminder of the many live seafood they offer at Old Geylang.

Deep-fried Oyster with Salted Egg Yolk.<br />Oysters... unabashedly an aphrodisiac, isn't it?<br />Coating seafood and vegetables with salted egg yolks has become quite the norm in Singapore and Malaysia.<br />All said, I still prefer to have live oysters served raw with lemons and some original tabasco sauce.

Deep-fried Oyster with Salted Egg Yolk.
Oysters… unabashedly an aphrodisiac, isn’t it?
Coating seafood and vegetables with salted egg yolks has become quite the norm in Singapore and Malaysia.
All said, I still prefer to have live oysters served raw with lemons and some original tabasco sauce.

A good host will not let you off without serving you desserts.<br />Here, we have their homemade soybean curd served cold.<br />The texture and taste was firm-tofu like.<br />A different take on the soy beancurd dessert I am accustomed to.

A good host will not let you off without serving you desserts.
Here, we have their homemade soybean curd served cold.
The texture and taste was firm-tofu like.
A different take on the soy beancurd dessert I am accustomed to.

Group photo of the diner at the table except for Mrs. Ong (next to me) who had been busy at the restaurant and did not join us for dinner.

Group photo of the diners at the table except for Mrs. Ong (next to me) who had been busy at the restaurant and did not join us for dinner.

Mr. Ong still looking strong and very alert for his age. Must be the restorative diet he's been having throughout the years. Are you convinced? ;-)

Mr. Ong still looking strong and very alert for his age.
Must be the restorative diet he’s been having throughout the years. Are you convinced? 😉

Click on pictures for full view.

Old Geylang is having promotion now. They serve live seafood at very reasonable prices.

Old Geylang is having promotion now.
They serve live seafood at very reasonable prices.

Mr. Ong’s amicable manner, the humourous stories of the customers he encountered and the history of Turtle House straight from the horse’s mouth (they don’t serve horse meat here) made this dining experience something to remember. He was retiring when his son asked him to carry on the business. If you are game enough to try game food, this is the place to go.

Old Geylang
Turtle House.
Old Punggol International Seafood.
1 Geylang Lor 23,
Highpoint Association House 6.
Singapore 388352.

Tel: (+65) 6745 1248 / 6348 4112.

Operating hours: 11am – 1am (Daily)

Promotion now on:
Marble Goby Fish S$28 each (about 600g).
Oyster S$8 (buy one get one free).
Boston Lobster S$38 each piece.

I heard it on the grapevine (not officially announced yet so not verifiable) that if you spend more than S$100, the peking duck may cost you only S$1. Wow!!!

Happy feasting 🙂

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Comments
10 Responses to “Old Geylang – Exotic Or Erotic Comestibles?”
  1. Kevin says:

    When I visit Singapore again, I will know who to consult!

  2. Great vocabulary…very impressive…adds to the flavor..
    Love, hugs and blessings…ME and the Boss

  3. The Mouse says:

    Oh my! Glass Charsiu took my breath away!

  4. Sofia says:

    Hi Sam! Do you think they really are aphrodisiacal? 🙂
    I haven’t visited you for a while, I’ve been quite busy, but gosh you’re blogging is showing some very interesting foods (like this) and I’m green with envy (in a nice way). Oh, and I never had imagined that turtle soup was a US presidents favourite food.
    xx

    • Sam Han says:

      It seemed these foods are aphrodisiacal according to the Chinese imperial physicians’ findings but I wouldn’t know since it’s a man thing. I think there must be some proof since they keep coming back for more (could be psychological but if it makes them think that way, then it did work on certain level). 😉

  5. David says:

    This are fasinating photos…and must be very tasty too. Great blogging, thanks for sharing, Sam.

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