Quite a few moons ago I went up to Cameron Highland for the second time in my life, and as with the last time, I was not entirely prepared by how long the winding road was, and how tiring a drive that can be, not to mention how frustrating it can get when you’re stuck being a vegetable laden lorry going at 30 km/h.
So, Cameron isn’t as much about the journey as it is about the destination, and one of the destinations to check out would be Water Cress Valley Farm & Restaurant.
Water Cress Valley Steamboat
Water Cress Valley, like the menu stated, is both a farm and a restaurant. Right beneath the semi-alfresco (the only way to dine in Cameron Highland) is a beautiful water cress farm. I suppose the water cress served here at this restaurant is right from the farm, and other vegetables most likely from the highland as well, but I’m just guessing.
Since Cameron Highland is many hours away from the closest fishing village, ordering seafood at this part of Malaysia would be a pretty silly thing to do. Hence we went with their vegetarian charcoal steamboat set to complete the farm to table experience.
They do offer chicken, deer meat, lamb, and seafood options, I believe this establishment is pork free.
Cameron Highland is famous for vege so..
The fancy charcoal pot did take a while to heat up, but once it got going that thing was ferocious. There’s no such thing as “turning down the heat, aunty” option. In a way, this sorta forced you to eat at a pace dictated by dead wood.
The watercress based soup was quite interesting in its taste, it was light, subtle, and perhaps lack sophistication. To be honest I thought we could also use a bit more leafy vegetables than what was provided, but there’s plenty of mushroom though so that’s a plus.
vegetarian steamboat set
Overall, the experience of dining in at Cameron Highland climate and freshness of produce makes up for the lack of fancy flavor and different condiments. If you’re already on the highland, this would be a place to visit, I wouldn’t suggest a 4 hour drive from KL just for this though.
A few weeks ago I finally got the opportunity to try out one of the more recent addition to our rich selection of food choices in Malaysia – mala steamboat, also known as Sichuan steamboat.
For this, we headed to Chuan Chuan Xiang at Sunway Velocity, the occasion being Henry’s birthday & SY was buying dinner.
chuan chuan xiang mala hotpot
For some reasons, Sunway Velocity sorta transformed to a mini-China in a way, over here you do find quite a few Sichuan hotpot restaurants often packed with customers from China (you can tell by their accents).
And if it’s good enough for them, it should be “ori” enough for us.
To start with, you choose one or two different soup base. The obvious choice is to go for a spicy and a non-spicy option to maintain sanity.
After bringing the soup to boil, you then add in whatever you pick from the open fridge – consisting of skewers of vegetable, meat, various different types of offal, and seafood. There’s also ingredients that come in dishes, including fish ball, pork belly, prawns, and even pig’s brain and duck blood!
can you spot the duck blood and pig’s brain?
There’s of course, a variety of condiments you can choose from, from different versions of sambal, to garlic, chili padi, fermented tofu, and more. There’s also a bottle of extra spicy chili oil on the table should you need to kick if up a notch.
The ingredients are fresh and of pretty good quality, with soup made of proper herbs and spicy, numbing mala pepper those Chinese guys really love. For me though, I thought it’s perhaps a little bit too spicy for me for the most part, so I ended up mostly using the non-spicy soup base more.
spicy mala soup + pork bone soup, Henry & Choulyin
Soup base is RM 39, meat at RM 19, pig’s brain RM 9, and the skewers are priced by weight regardless what they have on them (hence those has more ingredients than others).
Overall it was a pretty interesting experience, and worthy of a place to visit especially for a late night wake-up supper. They operate from 10 a.m to 2 a.m.
Steamboat places are aplenty all over Klang Valley, so when it comes to picking one out for dinner during rainy days, it can be a little challenging. The rule of thumb for most people is that the place must be busy, for me, I usually rely on recommendations from friends instead, which was how I got to Dian Huo Xin Wo Steamboat at Kelana Jaya a couple weeks ago.
Edit 2017: This place has moved to a new location, address below
dian huo xin wo steamboat, Kelana Jaya
This steamboat restaurant is a little bit different from others when it comes to the interior decoration. At first glance, the place looks like a hipster cafe with old typewriter, TV, charcoal iron, and all those sort of memorabilias from yesteryears. Look closer, and you’ll find the built in stove in every table.
decent selection with good choice of soup base
Instead of electric stove or steamboat pot utilized at some places such as Bone & Pot, Dian Huo Xin Wo opts for the traditional gas stove, which I prefer as it is a lot more responsive. Their solution is by placing a gas tank right under each table, I’m not entirely sure if this is the safest manner, but it works pretty well.
For a smallish shop, the menu is pretty comprehensive. There’s more than enough different fish balls (even one with quail eggs inside), meatballs, sliced meat, innards, vegetables, and starters (try the salmon skin) to go around. The “balls” are self-made and pretty good in size, which we enjoyed.
there’s even black chicken in the soup
You’re allowed to choose up to two different soup base for a single pot. We tried the herbal black chicken soup and their signature soup, both broth were plenty flavorful in itself, and of course, refillable whenever running low. There’s also tomyam soup if you fancy something spicy, though I usually prefer sticking with traditional soup base for steamboat.
Condiments in this place doesn’t impress much, there’s 3 different types of chili paste, and you can ask for chili padi, but that’s about it, no fancy fermented beancurd or fried shallot oil, but they are, I guess, sufficient.
The meal came to be about RM 40+ per person, which is in line with most quality air conditioned steamboat meals.
Address: Dian Huo Xin Wo Steamboat 19, Jalan SS4D/2, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Ground Floor @ The Grand@Kelana SS6/2,
Lorong Damansara Lagenda,
Damansara Lagenda, 47301 Petaling Jaya GPS: 3.113118, 101.5996573.101798, 101.598425 Tel: 03-7887 4557 / 012-296 3886 Hours: 5pm to 11pm daily
We don’t always go to Kota Damansara thanks mostly to the fact that traffic is quite horrendous due to the on-going MRT construction, but when WeiZhi & Lex asked that we join them for a steamboat lunch review at Gourmet Definition Steamboat, we immediately agreed.
Gourmet Definition Steamboat at Sunway Giza, Kota Damansara
The reason is two fold – the two fellas behind KBCG are good friends, and secondly, the photos from what I can find about Gourmet Definition Steamboat looked mighty promising.
we tried both the spicy and signature golden soup
Located at the main strip of Sunway Giza, Gourmet Definition has quite a “fresh” and new look to it that’s unlike any other steamboat places in town. The restaurant manager and part owner explained to us that great expense and thought was put into the planning and renovation stage of the restaurant, to ensure a comfortable dining experience, and most of all, top notch cleanliness standard.
I felt that they definitely achieved these goals with white marble tables, good air conditioning, and above all, prompt service (they even change your plates from time to time).
the deluxe set menu A for 4 pax at Gourmet Definition
We were served the Deluxe Set Menu A for the four of us (RM 238 promo, usual RM 328), and it came with the following items:
signature golden soup or heat reducing preserved egg & parsley soup
King’s water prawn (4 pcs)
handmade three treasure meatballs (fish, pork, octopus, 4 pcs each)
There are only two items we tried here that’s not in the set menu – the HUGE imported fresh oyster, and the extra flavor of soup (the spicy one). Everything else is as listed above.
the fresh oyster was absolutely delicious, and huge!
But enough with the listing of ingredients, the important question is, are they any good?
The answer is a resounding yes. Fresh ingredients with pork bone infused herbal soup base, it is actually not easy to go wrong here.
My favorites were the iberico pork slices, those red roe in the river prawn’s head, the homemade fish balls, and also most definitely those huge oysters. Those chicken wings too were pretty spot on as well.
Haze, Weizhi, Lex, & KY
Prices at Gourmet Definition is on the higher side, but the ingredients, service, and dining experience more than equal what you’ll see on the bill. If you’re up for some top notch steamboat, this place should be on your radar screen.
Address: Gourmet Definition Steamboat Unit A-13A & 15, Sunway Giza, No. 2, Jalan PJU 5/14, PJU 5, Kota Damansara, 47810 Selangor GPS: 3.150799, 101.581231 Tel: 03-6151 8638 Hours: Lunch & Dinner daily
Steamboat has traditionally been a pretty strong branch of Chinese cuisine in KL. It is something that can be very simple, like just ordering a couple sets, or you can go wild with a bunch of friends by having fancy seafood, meat, and everything in between.
Being the type of dish that is rather mature, how do you have a new steamboat place that everyone wants to go?
Well, The Pot at Kuchai Entrepreneur Park found the answer, and we loved it!
The Pot Steamboat at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park
The Pot is the new kid on the block at Kuchai Lama, and like any shops at Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, parking can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, even for a restaurant that is situated at a corner premise closer to the main road.
The restaurant is fully air conditioned, so you don’t need to go there only when it rains, which is nice. In fact, all steamboat places not at Cameron Highland should have climate control if you ask me.
Alaskan Crab, 1.5kg or so for RM 155
The unique thing about The Pot Steamboat is the glorious Alaskan Crab. For RM 155 at about 1.5KG, you get this beautiful crustacean served on a plate ready to be boiled in the steamboat soup and thereby making the broth ever so sweet.
While looking totally bad ass, the shell isn’t actually very hard and can be cut with a pair of culinary scissors to reveal those awesome meat fairly easily. This is a must-order and I believe more than half the tables at The Pot has an Alaskan Crab.
fresh geoduck, have it raw or just slightly blanched, your take
Other than Alaskan crab, the other pretty unique underwater creature they have is fresh geoduck (pronounced as “gooey duck”, thanks Suan!), the rather phallic looking salt water clam that can be eaten either raw (sashimi style) or just lightly blanched for about 2-3 seconds in steamboat soup.
Fresh geoduck isn’t cheap, the serving we had came up to be about RM 200, though it usually cost more in other seafood restaurants. The innards and other parts of the geoduck is also provided at the end of our meal to be boiled with leftover steamboat broth and rice, making a sort of clam innards porridge. This you gotta try to appreciate it.
steamboat set, smoked duck, black fungus, fish ball, meat ball, etc
Of course, as any steamboat place, there’s a host of other dishes to choose from to go with the three types of soup base they serve (sang yu pot, supreme clear soup, drunken wine soup).
The steamboat set goes for RM 17.80 (min 2 pax per table) and on top of that there’s a selection of live seafood from the aquarium that includes prawns, crab, frogs, giant clams, and so forth. Then there’s pork ball, fish ball, meat slices, chicken, mushroom, fungus, and even smoked duck (RM 7.90).
and of course, steamboat is best shared among friends
We had a pretty good time at The Pot and I reckon it is certainly a place you should consider if you’re looking to share a pot steamboat with friends and family while looking at some decent seafood offerings. Traffic and parking situation isn’t ideal, but then again sometimes we can’t ask for everything.
Thank you Ah Yat for the invitation.
Address: The Pot Steamboat
No. 1, Jalan Kuchai Maju 4,
Kuchai Entrepreneur Park, Kuchai Lama,
58200 Kuala Lumpur GPS: 3.091500, 101.686195 Tel: +6016 821 2280