Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lontong and Mangrove tree at P.Ubin

I always wonder what the hype is about with the Sunday-only lontong at Pak Ali's shop on Pulau Ubin until I tried it today.
Image from Pulau Ubin Stories
Today I decided that I shall join Andy, Kwan Siong, Ria and November for a trip to Ubin to check out the Bruguiera hainesii and also try the famous Ubin lontong.
Ubin lontong
The lontong gravy is light but full of flavour. Though a simple looking dish, each ingredient is important to make the dish perfect and delicious. The ketupat rice is soft and well cooked, easy for the teeth. When broken up into smaller pieces, small quantity of rice grains falls apart. It is not like those I had tried, which are hard and difficult to chew on.

The lontong is cooked by Pak Ali's wife only on Sundays. I am not sure if she still does the cooking herself now since she is aged and walking pose a challenge for her. The lontong is truly worth every bite and lives up to its fame on Pulau Ubin. Pak Ali is no longer around as he passed away in late 2010 due to cancer. More about the story of Pak Ali on Pulau Ubin Stories.

After the yummy lontong, we headed to Nordin Beach for a check on the rarest mangrove tree in the world - Bruguiera hainesii. The tree is flowering furiously.
Leaves of B. hainesii, with many flowers.
Many fallen calyx
Calyx closeup
Another view of the calyx
Propagule of various sizes
I am a lousy identifier when it comes to plants. However I am happy for myself that I got a close look at the rare tree. This tree we went is probably the easiest B. hainesii tree to access in Singapore.

The trip to Nordin Beach was shorten with the approaching rain. We had to seek shelter while waiting for the van to pick us up. While making our way back to the town centre, we decided that we shall take a walk at the sensory trail since it was still early for lunch.

Right in front of the visitors' hut next to the jetty sits a small fig tree. This could possibly the only fig tree of this species left.
Fig tree, growing before the beach.
There were quite a number of golden orb web spiders (Nephlia pilipes) along the sensory trail and the ones I saw were at eye level. That makes photo taking much easier and easier for us to get closer to the spider.
Golden orb web spider
After the rain, there were a few large insects resting on tree leaves waiting for their wet body to dry up.
As we come to the end of the sensory trail, we were greeted with a beautiful makeover of a fishing pond. It is now covered with water lily plants on the edges of the pond.
Water lily flower
On a leave of the water lily, I found a caterpillar. I wonder how it got there when the leave is high above water?
Caterpillar on water lily leave
We had a great long lunch session at our usual lunch restaurant, with the usual dishes. It the black pepper crab tastes extremely delicious after missing it for about 1.5 months.

As the government had just revealed the population plan for a possible 7 million population by 2030, I wonder how many of this kampong feelings will remain then?
2030 population plan
Will Pulau Ubin stay the same or will there be a great change in the near future?
Will there still be such cosy, old style dinning places with yummy food to visit?
Do we have to remove the old to make way for the new so that we can keep up with the society?

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