Seafood

Jin Chwan/ Bei Hai Restaurant

by The Foodster on Sat, March 24, 2007

At Jin Chwan you might have to keep your seafood lust under control. There's everything here from crabs the size of your head to tender clams and fishes. After you've taken your pick pop over to Bei Hai next door and have it cooked to your liking

Grab a handful of snails fresh from the bucket

Foodster's Verdict

Jin Chwan/ Bei Hai Restaurant
  • Air Conditioned
  • Address

    Jin Chwan (No. 9) & BeiHai Restaurant (No. 10) Jalan Bidara 2/4, Taman Bidara 68100 Selayang
    Tel: 03 6120 3333 (Jin Chwan), 03 6138 3688 (BeiHai)

  • Open

    Weekday 8:00am - 10:00pm Public Holiday and Sundays 8:00am - 10:30pm

  • Pros

    You can't get seafood fresher than this

  • Cons

    It's tricky to get here and you might need to save up first for a slap up meal

  • Price Range

    RM 150 - RM 350

  • Parking

    Canlah

  • Certification

    Pork Free

Fancy the ultimate ‘see food’ seafood experience? There’s this gem deep in the Selayang area that serves up seafood from all over the world, right to your dinner table. Jin Chwan is the name, and seafood is their game. Starting out as a seafood supplier (and they still are), Jin Chwan is Klang Valley’s undisputed seafood king. The huge fish tanks bursting with aquaria life is living testimony of their reputation. I must say it took us a while to locate the premises but once we found it, we were awestruck! It’s like hitting seafood lottery! Boston lobsters, Alaskan crabs, Mexican geoduck, Japanese snails – you name it, they’ve got it! From the tank to the wok, seafood doesn’t get fresher than this!

Next to Jin Chwan is BeiHai a new-ish Chinese restaurant that does justice to the freshness of the seafood. Read on at your own peril because we warn you, this review can cause you to have a sudden intense craving for fresh seafood. First to arrive was the geoduck sashimi. Geoduck is a saltwater clam that may look lewd especially when it’s just plucked from the water! With a dash of shoyu sauce and wasabi paste, the texture is firm with a nice bite. The taste is really fresh and this is my favourite dish of the day. After all, the Japanese were right when they insisted seafood is best savoured fresh.

We also had Japanese snails baked thermidor style. As these snails were fresh, its chewy texture blended well with the melted cheese and chopped ham. None of the black mushy canned escargots, fresh is the only way to go here.

The Boston lobster came poached in special superior stock. This is the recommended way to enjoy lobster. The flesh is firm and the sauce is light enough to not mask its natural sweetness. We wiped this dish clean, right to the shell. US clams stir-fried with garlic and ginger was next. This is classic Chinese style, except that the clams here were HUGE! Succulent and you’re guaranteed all the shells are opened to reveal the glorious flesh within… I particularly enjoyed the little bits of crunchy dried shrimps in the sauce.

Next was the house specialty which the owner says its fame has spread so far and wide that foreigners and celebrities hunt his restaurant down for a sample. Simply called Teochew fishhead noodles, it’s definitely different from the usual evaporated milk variety. Firstly it’s brought to the table in a bubbling pot much like a steamboat. The stock is clear with loads of fish pieces and a hint of sourness to it (I think vinegar is added). For more robustness, yam is added to thicken the stock and lend extra texture. The bihun noodles are specially imported from Fujian China so it’s springier and thicker. The owner also suggested adding green vegetables to the bubbling vat. The fried fish pieces are juicy and succulent so this dish is a meal all on its own. Flavour is out of this world and I can’t recommend it enough, whether or not you’re Teochew.

Our tummies were heaving by now but we kept going. Next up was the steamed fish in light soya sauce. The fish used was ‘soon hock’ which is a highly prized species valued by the Chinese for its firm texture and sweet flavour with little bones. Chopped coriander and scallions were sprinkled on top to complement the dish. Healthy yet delish to the last bite.

With all the seafood, a vegetable dish was obligatory to complete the meal. The ‘kailan fried kailan’ is unique as every bit of the vegetable is used. The leaves are finely shredded and deep-fried first. After the stalks are stir-fried with garlic, the crunchy leaves are sprinkled on top. Texture and flavour of the leaves are akin to seaweed, I love it!

Finally, the mee mamak arrived as the grand finale of our gastronomic adventure. Coming from a Chinese restaurant, I have to say their version here is commendable. There was a right balance of chilli and tomato, loaded with ingredients and not too oily. At the end, our bellies were stuffed to the brim.

We waddled out to the car with a newfound perspective on what world-class seafood should be. Call it a culinary epiphany, as I wouldn’t look at any other seafood restaurants the same way again. Jin Chwan-BeiHai has set the threshold and undoubtedly, it’s a hard act to follow. All hail the seafood sifus!

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