Top Shell Salad

Top shell is sometimes playfully called poor man’s abalone. Well, it does have a texture very similar to cheap abalone, but I would not try to use it as a substitute for abalone because top shell works marvellously in some dishes for which abalone is not suitable. One good example if top shell salad.


Top shell salad is very easy to make. There is no cooking required at all. I begin with some sliced red chilli, minced garlic, chopped onions and lemon juice in the bowl.


Next, I open up the can of top shell and slice each piece of top shell into half. I would then mix it well with the chopped ingredients. You can keep the sauce for stewing mushrooms.


And here it is. You can add some chopped cilantro and/or julienned cucumber too. It goes very well with a glass of whisky or brandy. Enjoy.


On the first day of Chinese New Year, I would normally prepare a vegetarian dish. In the pot, I’d have some bean curd sticks, shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, lily buds and “fatt choy” (hair moss). I stew the mushrooms and bean curd sticks in soya sauce and sesame oil first. Then, I’d add in the lily buds and finally the button mushrooms. The hair moss is only added after I’ve turned off the heat.

What disappointment! The hair moss turned out to be fake. The real thing has a slight, springy crunch to it. This one just falls apart, breaking into limp, tiny bits. The video below shows you how to tell the real from the fake. But there’s one problem. How do you do all those tests at the store where everything is sealed up?

Many people come to Singapore thinking that this is the safest, most honest place in the world. But as the younger generation gets less and less discerning (queuing up for lousy food at Food courts), there are plenty of opportunities for dishonest merchants and service providers. The wither of traditions will take place faster as the older and wiser folks avoid buying goods which may be fake.

Brisk Breakfast: Satay Beehoon


If you’re squeamish about raw and bloody cockles, how about a can of cooked curry cockles? I can’t remember how much a can of this cost me, but I think it was about $1 or less. What do you do with it? Make a bowl of satay beehoon, of course.


This is what the contents of the can look like.


Just boil up some beehoon and chye sim, drain and toss it with the curry cockles.


And here’s the brisk breakfast, all done in 2-3 minutes. Allow the curry to seep in if you want the beehoon to be more flavourful. Tastes great. Try it.