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!
We also ordered fried calamari. Crisp and light, they fry this quickly so the squid doesn't get overcooked. Texture is nice and firm. Batter is non greasy because they deep fry the squid at the right temperature. If it's too high, the batter gets burnt while the insides don't get cooked, if it's too low, the batter will soak too much of the oil and turn it greasy.
We needed a veggie dish so pucuk paku belacan was recommended. The pucuk paku was cooked al dente so it still had a lot of crunch. Belacan gives it the extra oomph factor. It balances the freshness of the paku with a gorgeous shrimpy hint. Belacan acts as more of a backdrop to the pucuk paku, you can taste it but it's not too overpowering.
The people behind Ewa Seafood are a passionate lot. They experiment with a lot of different recipes before putting anything on the menu. To get the perfect chicken rice, they tried different recipes everyday for a month before they settled on a version that they were satisfied with. The chicken rice is on my to-do list since we only had dinner here and the chicken rice is served during lunchtime.
Quality is essential at Ewa. They pay attention to the minute details of a dish. They insist in using the right kind of ginger in their dishes because even something as small as that could affect the overall taste of the dish. It's a quaint restaurant and they only have about 10 tables. The reason why they keep it this small is because they want to control the quality of the food. So it's not about quantity but it's about quality. Holding on to this belief, they take pride in providing the best to their customers. It's no surprise that people come here over and over again. This might be a new eatery but because of their attention to detail and their passion in food, I'm sure that it will be here for years to come.
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