Seafood in Sabah is like char kuih teow in Penang or Tomyam in Bangkok, if you find yourself in Kota Kinabalu, it is pretty much compulsory to get yourself to one of the many seafood restaurants and have a meal.
Salut Seafood, located within a prawn farm
On our Mt. Kinabalu trip (more on that soon), we met up with one of my old friends Ben for dinner. On our previous trip we went to New Gaya, so this time around Ben suggested that we head to Salut Seafood, the restaurant located within a prawn farm.
It took us quite a while to get there due to the (un)expectedly rush hour traffic, but alas, we got there in time before sunset. The restaurant is located by the sea and accessible via cars, but if you’re on a tour bus, you’ll be out of luck. This place is built for the locals.
live seafood to choose from, including quite a variety of shellfish
Like most seafood restaurants worth its salt in South East Asia, there’s a good selection of live seafood to choose from. Crabs, prawns, fish, and quite a few types of shellfish can be chose from the live tank to be cooked in the method of the customer’s liking. There’s also a big price list plastered on the wall to remove too many surprises.
haven’t had this type of shellfish since Vietnam
For the three of us, we ordered some live prawns, crabs, shell fish, and sabah vegetable to go with rice.
The prawns and shellfish were steamed, the simplest possible cooking method, this was to preserve the natural sweetness of the seafood. The quality were apparent as the prawn were quite a lot more difficult to peel than the usual “already dead for a couple days” variety.
butter crab, fresh prawns, and “sabah vegetable”
This was also the first time I had the same snail since New Gaya & Hong Hai in Ho Chi Minh City, tasted a bit like a cross between lala & balitong, if you enjoy those, you will enjoy this.
The crab, while properly seasoned and prepared, was not as firm and “full” as I had hoped for, though it was nonetheless an acceptable dish.
great first meal at KK and to catch up with old friend
Then there’s the unique “Sabah vegetable” that you can’t get in Peninsular Malaysia, with its slightly crunchy stem and soft leaves, I always make it a point to order this whenever I’m at KK.
Dinner came to about RM 50+ per person, right around the average for a good seafood meal at KK. We could have kept it a bit cheaper if not for the over ordering, but diet goes to hell when you’re traveling, right?
Jalan Sulaman, Kampung Salut,
89200 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 6.103970, 116.160311
Tel: 019-881 8515
Hours: 11:30 am to 9:30 pm
A few weeks ago my colleague Joyceanne came out of nowhere and told me she was going to give me some live crab and if I was going to be able to bring them home on my motorcycle. Well, since you don’t get opportunities like this very often, with the help of her friend Kaiqi, who actually supplied the crabs all the way from Johor, we loaded 3 live mud crabs into my backpack. Thank you Joyce & Kaiqi!
The crustaceans took a ride of their lifetime, and arrived safe and sound at home just in time for Haze and I to decide that butter crab is in the menu of the night.
first, you have to do the dirty job by killing the crabs
For the muslims who may not want to consume mud crab, flower crab can be used in replacement with this cooking method as well.
Here’s the pretty simple recipe we found online for butter crab, originally shared on Rasa Malaysia.
The ingredients to serve 2-3 person:
- 3 live mud crabs (or flower crabs)
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch as thickening agent
- 6-12 chili padi
- 2-3 stalks of curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
melt butter, add chilli padi and curry leave before the crabs
The trickiest part of this recipe turned out to be .. killing the crab!
For those of you who has a heart made of steel, just go ahead and rip apart the crab’s shell alive and that’ll do the trick. We ended up using a chopstick and drove into the belly of the crabs, which also effectively killed the crab after about 10-15 minutes.
add evaporated milk and simmer for about 5 minutes
Anyway, here’s the cooking instructions:
- clean and kill the crabs, then cut in halves and remove gills after removing shells, use pestle to pre-crack the crab claws for easier consumption
- heat up wok with medium heat and melt butter
- add chilli padi and curry leaves
- when aroma is released, add crab and stir until the shells turn red
- add evaporated milk and cover to simmer for about 5 minutes
- add cornstarch (pre-mixed with water) and stir for a minute to thicken sauce before serving
here it is, creamy butter crab, goes well with some fried buns
And here you go, the butter crab turned out rather delicious. You can enjoy this dish with some fried buns or with rice/noodle, or basically anything.
Now you know what to do with live crabs! Check out other recipes by yours truly by clicking on the KY Cooks category. 🙂