Ever once in a while, we need to get our hands grimy with sauce and briny juices. Eating seafood in this country is not a shy affair. Us Malaysians get stuck in, unafraid to break shells with bare hands or naked teeth. We aspire for the expert ‘suck’ of a veteran eater, cleaning out prawn ‘heads’, crevices of crustaceans and stripping a fish head down to the eyeballs. So a tribute to all you seafood warriors out there, here’s some of our favourite places to get down and dirty with the sea-folk in PJ.
Check out those fat claws slathered with salted egg
We discovered Hoi Peng hot on the trail for salted egg crabs. When you come here ask for the fat claws. It comes so meaty and spilling out of their carapaces that you hardly need to break a sweat to get at them- huzzah! The dish is done extremely well rendering the crabs creamy and crunchy, with the yolks transforming when cooked into something wonderful (a little like a refined Asian buttermilk crust). Not too yolky or rich, the flesh remains moist. We also dig the usual suspects here like butter prawns and steamed fish but seriously come for the crabs… Read Hoi Peng's review here.
They also have all sorts of gravy crabs here too
No 30, Jalan SS2/24, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03 7874 2199
It's see food while you eat seafood...
Mesmerising tanks of live seafood await you inside this cavernous restaurant. It’s almost like having aquarium TV on as you munch on their buddies. Go for the steamed patin done extremely well here.
The gorgeous steamed patin
Then spear out a plateful of Japanese snails baked in garlic butter before getting stuck into the bamboo clams, both a finger-sucking affair. Though their chilli crabs are a tad sweet, the salted egg ones are good and we also love the kalian done two ways.
Bamboo clams cooked juicy with dried chillies
We’ve been having a bit of a love and hate relationship with this place. On one hand the tanks are always a winner when we bring friends but the bill at the end can make you cry a little (depending on what you order). The seafood is undeniably fresh but they went through a couple of years when the cooking was mediocre. Recently though they’ve bounced back. Heck we even brought Martha Stewart here and she had a grand time. Full Unique Seafood review here.
9B-3 Jalan Kemajuan 12/18, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03 7960 2088
"Break 'em and suck 'em... seafood in PJ rocks!"
De Rasa Sayang
Tilapia steamed with chai por
Famous for their fish steamed with chai por. The preserved radish renders the gravy sour-sweet, sublime when mingled with the succulent fish flesh. If you fancy something more traditional, get it steamed with ginger. It is a testament to how fresh their fish is. Tilapia is the favourite swimmer and it’s sweet without any of that ‘muddy’ flavour people always associate with river fish. What’s also worth a try here are their honey squid, siong tong lala and sang har mien. Check out full review here.
Also delicious here is the crispy honey squid
No. 12, Jalan SS4C/5, Taman Rasa Sayang, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 012 277 6923 (Winson Ng)
When at Lala Chong, must have... lala!
Planted over from the original Subang airport forerunner, the new-ish place (been here 3 years) is large and airy and quite full even on a week night. So can’t go to a place with lala in its name and not order the lala. We ordered the lala chong ‘special’ lala and it is good. The local clams came uber fresh and juicy, simply cooked in a superior stock. The steamed fish is pretty good and their gravy-crabs should be eaten with their fat, whorled mantau. One of the more bizarre specialties here is the pucuk paku fried with tuna and we saw it on many tables but err… the jury is still out on that one for us.
The popular but rather strange ferns with tuna fish
Lot 13556, Jalan Cempaka Kayu Ara, Damansara, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03- 7728 1906
Look at all that creamy gravy sticking to the crabs
Once we supposed it was a nice location on a not too busy inner road. Now, getting here during rush hour can be a bit of a nightmare what with the NKVE and Ara Damansara access roads crisscrossing this place. Still, people flock here for their claypot butter crabs. It’s excellently creamy and slightly salty that leaves your hands and buns sticky with gravy. Seafood is delivered fresh and chilled from the port ( you can also buy some to take home).
Seafood here is chilled and comes straight from the Port
Recommended dishes here are fried tilapia with butter sauce, curry fish head, sambal sotong and nestum prawns.
Plot A, Impanan Talian Electrik KPG Cempaka (just outside Tropicana Golf Club) Tel: 012 9277126
Of course we cannot talk PJ and not mention institutions like Fatty Crab (still manages to keep their devoted following with their signature chilli crabs).
You know you love that sauce... especially drizzled over fried rice and sticking to toast...
Greenview Seafood (a doyen that still makes outstanding butter prawns and sang har mien) and King Crab (for everything crabs, from stone to flower to hairy they have them all… but for that you just have to wait for our crab issue…)