"Authentic Thai flavours."
Just below the shining beacons of light that is KLCC, Kampung Bharu almost seems like a place trapped in time. The enclave is still populated with wooden houses decades old. Kampung Bharu was always known as a hotspot of makan places, and that too thankfully, hasn't changed. It is probably still THE place to go to for tom yum restaurants. And one of the best is Sukhumvit. More »
"No farmed seafood here - it's all fresh from Selat Melaka!"
Located at the popular stretch of Tanjung Harapan, SeaSky has been in operation for thirteen years. It is a large restaurant that looks like a warehouse. They have wide parking spaces and have air conditioned VIP rooms, karaoke, flush toilets and suraus, too. As you enter, you’ll pass by the aquariums that hold your impending dinner. A friendly member of staff will guide you to your table. The restaurant is run by Mr. Tan Yew Hock, who often personally greets guests and takes their orders.
First came Salted Egg Yolk Prawns (RM30). The prawns were large and fresh, and they were coated with the thick, salty and sweet egg yolks. We dug in, and the prawns were beautifully cooked, with a crunchy texture. The sweet flesh weds well with the egg yolks, creating luscious textures inside the mouth. If anything, the dish was maybe, just maybe, a bit too rich.
Next were battered Deep Fried Squid (RM15). We actually wanted the Honey Glazed Baby Sotong of which the restaurant is famous for, but they were out of it when we came. “Not in season at the moment,” Mr. Tan had said. No matter, the Deep Fried Squid was great compensation. The batter came golden brown and shatteringly crisp, and the squid inside was still moist and tender. They would have been great even as snacks, with a tall cold beer!
The first of our two fish dishes arrived next: Deep Fried Red Snapper with Soy Sauce (RM54). The fish had been fried to a lovely burnished golden colour, and doused with light soy sauce with hints of aromatic ginger. Crisps strands of fried ginger garnished the dish. The flesh inside was sweet and moist, a wonderful play of textures with the crispy skin. The soy sauce and ginger highlighted the flavours of the fish, and never once overpowered it. More »
"Imagine the flavour of hundreds of crabs in liquid form!"
When someone told me about a restaurant in Shah Alam famous for selling delicious and affordable crab noodle dishes, I couldn't wait to try it. Recently I had a chance to go to Restoran Mee Ketam KL so I ordered the house specialties, Bihun Sup Ketam (RM8), Mee Kari Ketam (RM8) and an extra two crabs (RM4 each).
The Bihun Sup Ketam came in a bowl of steaming ketam-infused broth, loaded with rice vermicelli, crabsticks, tofu, fishcakes and one whole ketam, already quartered for you. The broth was savoury, full-bodied and had a subtle shellfish flavor that wasn't too overpowering and therefore pleasant. A dash of kicap cili padi helps to brighten the entire dish.
The Mee Kari Ketam was equally delicious with the same condiments soaking in a creamy, spicy kuah kari that was also very fragrant. The rempah tumis is a family secret that requires a careful way of sauteing or ‘tumis’ to bring out all the flavours. Unsurprisingly, for the soup and curry gravy, they use the ‘air rebusan ketam’ (stock) from the initial cooking of all those crabs. Imagine the flavour from hundreds of crabs in liquid form! An explosion of seafood tastes in your mouth.
The best part of these dishes was of course the ketam. They were fresh, and you get one whole ketam to a dish. Be prepared to get messy and make sure that a box of tissues is nearby when you REALLY start to dig into the crab. You’ll scramble for every last bit of sweet, briny flesh and find yourself picking the shells clean. Watch out for the juices dripping out of the shells! They’re worth every drop. For me the best part was the crabs’ carapace and the salty, fatty tissue lining it. I was secretly wishing for some mantou bread though. They would have made it even more incredible.
Glancing over at the kitchen I saw a big, big pot of steaming flower crabs, ready to be served up at moments notice. It is worth noting that the ketam comes in sizes and different prices ranging from RM3 – RM5. The crabs are bought daily from pasar borongs, so you’re assured that they’re fresh. The restaurant sells about 100 – 200 crabs daily.
Unfortunately on our visit, ketam nipah (mud crabs) weren't available. I was told the ketam nipah would normally arrive fresh daily from Kuala Selangor and Pulau Ketam (!), but I was unlucky I guess. They go for RM6.50/100 grams. For those unfamiliar with these crabs, they’re larger, heavier and meatier than the normal flower crabs. Despite the name, they’re not muddy at all. I myself prefer mud crabs.
And unsurprisingly, it is this fact that makes the ketam nipah much sought after by customers here and as with most good food people are willing to pay that extra few ringgit to get the best. Aside from in the noodles, you can also order ketam cooked in various ways with rice, and, when available, udang galah which they bring in fresh from Sabah.
"Claws dripping with creamy gravy..."
Even though there's plenty of seafood joints in PJ, we tend to go to the same place over and over again. We listed five of them here
and one of it is PJ Seafood Restaurant. I chose to skip my usual trip to Fatty Crab
and decided to try it out for a change.
We got there just in time for dinner. Rows of fresh seafood were displayed around the restaurant so you can pick and choose what you want to eat. Due to its popularity we decided to order the famous Claypot Butter Crabs. Along with the crabs, we also tried the sambal sotong and a stir-fry vegetable dish.
The crabs arrived at our plate steaming hot, the creamy gravy practically dripping from their claws. There was an offer on the crabs, you get 3 crabs for RM50 which is definitely a good bargain. Hammers in hand, we tucked into the dish immediately. Because of the saltiness of the gravy, we asked for rice instead of mantou buns. The milky gravy soaks into the rice and infuse it with its buttery flavour.
I know it's called 'butter' crabs but in actual fact, the cook mix margarine and milk to make the yummy gravy. They cook until it thickens into a sticky consistency. It's like a roux without flour. The crabs were Indonesian mud crabs - sweet and tasty. It goes so well with the cheesy creaminess of the dish. They use the claypot to allow all the flavours to be sealed in. This is the star dish at PJ Seafood so it's must-order item here. More »
"34 ways to cook your crabs...."
If you're a fan of steaming hot fresh crabs this is one spot you'll want to try out. For starters they have 34 ways in which they prepare crab. When I think of the menu I somehow get Bubba's voice from Forrest Gump listing out the variety of crab dishes. You can have chill crab, salted egg crab, marmite crab, curry crab, cheese crab, clay pot crab....I'm sure you get the point.
I decided to order two of the most popular cooking styles; their signature butter crab and my personal favourite the kam heong crab. The butter crab is pretty famous here. It's cooked in a creamy and rich sauce giving a slight butteriness to the crab. This comes with mantou buns(steamed or fried) which you can dip into the sauce while enjoying the sweet flesh. This is quite heavy on its own so if you're in a small group I'd recommend just having this with the buns and maybe a veggie on the side.
To be honest though, the kam heong is what I come here for. Kam heong literally translates to "Golden Fragrant" from the Cantonese dialect. This dish has a mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay flavours as it uses a combination of dried shrimp, chilli, curry powder and curry leaves. This is extremely aromatic and tasty and will have you sucking on the shells and your fingers for more.
"Prawns with yummy buttery floss...."
The star dish at Ewa is the steamed fish. All the ingredients are sourced locally and they only start cooking when they get your order so your dishes are freshly cooked on site in the open kitchen.The tilapia is steamed in a soy-based gravy, abundant with garlic, ginger and spring onions. The steaming process tenderizes the fish so the meat dissolves in your mouth effortlessly. They garnish the fish with minced garlic adding a sweet aromatic tone to the dish.
Flavours are subtle and it was quite satisfying but I can't help noticing the lack of vinegar. Chinese cooking wine is usually used to add some vinegary tones in the dish. Because this is a halal establishment, they had to omit the wine and the dish loses some of the sourish notes you associate with Chinese styled steamed fish. Even without the wine, this is a pretty decent dish so definitely give it a try if you get a chance to come here.
When I asked them why they use tilapia instead of the usual garoupa or tongsan, En. Kamarul who manages the restaurant with his brother explained the reason. " Not a lot of Malays like to eat tilapia because it's a freshwater fish and the taste could be quite bland. I wanted to change their perception. Actually, if you cook it the right way, the fish can absorb flavours easily. The flesh is soft and it's so popular overseas that it's a shame that we don't like to eat it more."
The next item we tried was the butter prawns. The plate was so full of buttery floss that you could hardly see the prawns! The prawns were fresh, sweet and succulently tasty. They were some slightly burnt bits of floss on the bottom of the plate, at first I was a bit miffed but as soon as I gave it a try my opinion changed. The burnt bits actually gave extra crunchiness to the dish. This is actually much sweeter than the ones I usually try at Chinese restaurants. No complaints though because the plate was emptied in no time at all!
"Rich broth with generous servings of seafood"
One Saturday night we packed the whole family into two cars and took the 40min drive over to Klang and after many toll booths and a couple of wrong turns we finally arrived with rumbling tummies in anticipation of the tasty dishes my dad had described.
An interesting thing to note is that there are quite a few Chinese seafood restaurants in Pandamaran town away from the waters edge. I usually equate delicious fresh seafood with the sea, but my dad’s enthusiasm for the place was enough for me to know that the food would be good despite the lack of an ocean view.
A specialty dish here is the ikan pari with the ginger chilli oil. Unfortunately they had already sold out for the day, and it was only 8pm! We asked if any other fish could be prepared in the same way and the owner agreed to serve us something similar. We also ordered the kangkung belacan, sizzling tofu, seafood curry mee, and the chilli crabs.
The curry mee was the first thing to arrive at our table. A large clay pot is filled with a curry broth and a generous serving of noodles, plump prawns, tender squid, and chopped up ikan pari. The broth is undeniably flavourful without being extremely spicy. It is also not too thick, which makes slurping it up a pleasure. This could have been dinner on it’s own as there was plenty to go around More »