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Tag / clam

It’s going to be the year of Horse in a few more days, and like so many Chinese families, reunion dinner is on the menu. So are you going to just watch your mom prepare everything? or are you going to be contributing at the kitchen and come up with at least a dish like a good filial son or daughter should?

Well, if you’re the latter and lacks in the finer skills in front of the stove, here’s a simple lala recipe you can follow that just might make your mom proud.

ingredients are lala, garlic, ginger, chili padi
ingredients are lala, garlic, ginger, chili padi

This is a lala (or any clams) dish with garlic, ginger, and chili padi. Takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish, and is also one of the cheapest seafood dishes you can come up with especially during CNY season.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 big bowl of lala/clams
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, stripes
  • 6-10 chili padi, chopped
  • 5 tablespoon cooking oil

fry till the shells are opened, wise to steam it a bit too
fry till the shells are opened, wise to steam it a bit too

cooking instructions:

  • soak lala/clam in salt water for 30 minutes, rinse
  • heat up cooking oil and fry ginger & garlic till fragrant
  • add in lala/clam
  • add chili padi
  • fry till all shellfish are opened, you can use a lid to cover the pot for steaming effect
  • ready to serve

lala with chili padi and garlic
lala with chili padi and garlic

This is a rather simple and fail proof dish, you can also spice it up by adding some Chinese cooking wine or soup stock to give it a more fragrant flavor.

Click for simple recipes from yours truly, and Happy CNY.

Being a fella from Penang, the name Bali Hai Seafood Restaurant isn’t foreign to me. The bright red signboard with a huge green lobster is a sight quite familiar to, having seen it at Gurney Drive on numerous occasions. It is also a bit of a go-to seafood restaurant for some of my extended family members.

Well, the good news is, Bali Hai is now in Klang Valley, and we went to sample their set dinner menu.

Bali Hai, now in Kota Damansara too
Bali Hai, now in Kota Damansara too

Bali  Hai is located at Sun Suria Avenue at Kota Damansara, a stone’s throw away from Sunway Giza Mall. There is ample parking right in front of the restaurant, and we only had to pay RM 1 per entrance during our visit. It was well worth it.

Most of the tables are situated at the center area at the huge semi-alfresco dining area, but there are also some air conditioned rooms for private parties. We were seated in one such room for the session, the room comes complete with a TV & karaoke system too.

The restaurant has an impressive wall of tanks housing a huge variety of live seafood for your picking. Boster lobster from US, rainbow lobster from Indonesia, geoduck from Canada, Alaskan king crab, oyster, tiger prawns, “soon hock”, giant grouper, and even exotics such as empurau fish. You can pick your spoil, aided by clearly written prices of each spices on the side of the tank so there’d be no surprises.

I must say that Bali Hai really do live up to their tag line of “If it swims we have it”.

Canadian geoduck and lobster sashimi and steamboat
Canadian geoduck and lobster sashimi and steamboat

On this session, we were treated to their RM 1388 set menu which comes with 9 dishes (including dessert) for 10 pax.

Our first dish was the Steamboat Canadian Geoduck and Lobster, which were actually served raw on crushed ice with a clay pot of superior soup , tofu, string mushroom, and vegetable.

I’m a big fan of sashimi and was glad that a side of wasabi and soya sauce was provided. The fresh rainbow lobster we had was fantastic, if you haven’t had lobsters before, having them raw is a great way to really taste the sweetness of lobster, distinctly different from that of crab or prawns. I’ve had the same style of geoduck from Pantai Seafood in PJ before, and the version is equally good.

Bali Hai Siam mini lobster in claypot
Bali Hai Siam mini lobster in claypot

After the great introductory dish, we had the Bali Hai Siam mini lobster (crayfish) in claypot. This dish has a kick, spicy and full of flavor, a welcoming change to heighten your palate after the more subtle lobster & geoduck dish. It’d go great with some steamed rice too I think. The curry has a tone of sourness to it which I really enjoyed.

deep fried thai style mackarel
deep fried thai style mackerel

Next up was the deep fried Thai style mackerel. A fish that is pretty common. The execution was good, with really crispy skin but soft, and not overcooked meat that only a high temperature fryer could achieve. The Thai style sauce in this dish is spicy and sweet, another change from the previous sourish taste.

dried shrimp with cili padi clam, beancurd with minced chicken, emperor vege
dried shrimp with cili padi clam, beancurd with minced chicken, emperor vege

Dried shrimp with cili padi clam is as advertised, a lot of small pieces of cili padi and tiny fragrant dried shrimps in it. I felt that the clams were perhaps slightly overcooked. That or because I’m half way in my invisalign treatment resulting in uneven bite at the moment, chewing was a bit difficult.

We also had some of the softest and tastiest beancurd in the beancurd with minced chicken dish. While traditionally paired with minced pork, this pork free version actually impressed us.

Emperor vegetable with deep fried lotus root and mushroom was our green of the day, and it never disappoint, which is why emperor vegetable is among the more expensive vegetable you can get from the market.

steamed salted kampung chicken, Japanese style seafood fried rice
steamed salted kampung chicken, Japanese style seafood fried rice

The lone meat dish in the set was the steamed salted kampung chicken with herbs. I love the fragrant broth, and the chicken was well flavored too. Anyone who likes kampung chicken would love this dish. As for me, I’m not a fan of kampung chicken so it was pretty neutral for me.

Our stomach stuffer at the end was the pretty unique Japanese style seafood fried rice. The blackish color you see in the fried rice is actually tiny pieces of dried seaweed. Add in tiny chunks of seafood & egg resulting in a cacophony of taste that I’ve never experienced before, it was pretty good.

The last dish on the RM 1388 set was a plate of mixed fruits, which was your typical blend of papaya, watermelon and so forth.

KY & Haze, Josen & Mei, sweet and sour lobster (not part of the set)
KY & Haze, Josen & Mei, sweet and sour lobster noodle (not part of the set)

Since it was also during their lobster promotion period, we got to sample another sweet and sour lobster noodle dish, which came with rainbow lobster drenched in sauce on top of yummy yee mee. I wish I can have this for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner actually. Was yummy!

If you’re looking for a proper seafood restaurant with plenty to choose from, Bali Hai should definitely be in your short list. From 13th Sep – 3rd Oct 2013, they also run the “buy one free ten” promotion. Buy a Boston/rainbow/Australian lobster and you get 10 free crayfish (mini lobster) for free.

bali hai kota damansara map

Address:
Bali Hai Seafood Kota Damansara
Suria Avenue, Persiaran Mahogani,
PJU 5, Kota Damansara,
47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.1544, 101.5904
Tel: 016-461 2333

 

Suki-Ya Shabu Shabu at Pavilion has been one of the more busy restaurants located at Pavilion’s Tokyo Street ever since it’s inception a couple years ago. I’ve meant to give it a try for the longest time, but it’s always been packed, and I’ve only recently lunched there thanks to arrangements (ie: advanced booking la) by my colleagues.

Suki-Ya at Pavilion, there's almost always a queue
Suki-Ya at Pavilion, there’s almost always a queue

Suki-Ya brands itself as a restaurant that offers modern healthy choices. The outlet at Pavilion isn’t exactly big, but I like the cozy ambiance and the very clean interior.

They have an ala-carte menu on top of shabu-shabu (or Japanese steamboat), but we stuck to the basic this time and only tried the default buffet, priced at RM 29.80 per adult for a maximum of 2 hour dining period. Dinner would cost an additional RM 10. Any extra time over the 2-hr block is priced at RM 3.50 per 15 mins.

Kinda sounds like paying for parking.

there are 4 types of soup to choose from
there are 4 types of soup to choose from

Like many steamboat places, Suki-Ya offers several choices of soup – the classic shabu-shabu that is light, sukiyaki that carries a hint of sweetened soya sauce taste, miso which is a little on the saltier side, and kimchi, one that carries a bit of a kick.

We chose shabu-shabu and kimchi since you’re allowed to split the pot.

Pro tip: Always start off with milder tasting soup so as to not overwhelm your palate too early.

beef, lamb, chicken, and the "healthy bar" full of veges and more
beef, lamb, chicken, and the “healthy bar” full of veges and more

There are three choices of meat you can choose, and the waitress will happily serve as many plates of them to your table as you request. Do note that any wasted food carries additional charges though.

The chicken, beef, and lamb were all thinly sliced and served frozen. The beef only requires a quick 10 second dip to the boiling soup, while I’d advice to leave beef and chicken in for a little bit longer. They tasted pretty good with some dipping sauce.

we had a great time, thank you for lunch, HL
we had a great time, thank you for lunch, HL

The “healthy bar” offers some 30 types of vegetables, tofu, mushroom, fish balls, and even clams. These are really mainly the healthier choices – food with less fatty contents. They are somewhat less luxurious, but for less than RM 30 I think it’s plenty good value for money, and you’d likely not over eat that much.

It’s not difficult to see the success of Suki-Ya and that long queue outside the restaurant on daily basis. If you are to visit them, I’ll advice to call and book ahead.

Other than Pavilion KL, Suki-Ya branches can be found at Paradigm and Mont Kiara Mall.

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Suki-Ya @ Tokyo Street
6.24.04, Level 6, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2141 4272
Website: www.suki-ya.com

Lot 10 is one of those shopping malls that has seen better times. Some 15 years ago, it was the premier place to shop, that was before Suria KLCC, before Mid Valley, and of course, before Pavilion.

These days, Lot 10 is keeping up with the newer malls by reinventing itself a little bit, starting with the excellent food court that is Hutong, and now, the Shabu One steamboat buffet restaurant. I’m not sure if that’s their strategy, but stuffing the mall with good food might just bring in the crowd.

Update 10-7-2018: this place is permanently closed

Shabu One, the new steamboat place at Lot 10
Shabu One, the new steamboat place at Lot 10

I first got to know about this place from my colleague Sheng, who has a bit of a hobby in monitoring online group shopping deal sites. The dude brought 4 coupons to the Shabu One, so we headed over to Lot 10 for a Friday lunch without much expectations.

After all, the full price for lunch/dinner was only RM27.99+, and we had bought the coupons for something like another 40% off of that.

seafood and fishball-ish choices are aplenty
seafood and fishball-ish choices are aplenty, check out the clams!

While the restaurant is certainly not very posh, it was clean and comfortable. If you’re looking for decorations the class of Shogun or Jogoya, this is not the place for you.

On the other hand, if you love steamboat with a good selection of seafood at reasonable price, this is the real deal!

veges, noodles, and there are some pre-cooked dishes too
veges, noodles, and there are some pre-cooked dishes too

There’re three types of soup to choose from: clear soup, tomyam, and ma-lak (嘛辣). We had our pot split between the ma-lak and clear soup.

To be honest, the ma-lak soup was a bit of a let down. The clear soup too was slightly bland, but nothing a bit of seafood (crab in this case) can’t fix. We didn’t try the tomyam soup, so I can’t commend on that.

beef slices, various condiments, desserts, ice cream
beef slices, various condiments, desserts, ice cream

The selection of food here is as good as anywhere else at this price point. I particularly love the super big clams they have on that day (not sure if it’s an everyday thing), along with the cuttle fish, lala, prawns, bamboo clams, and more. They are constantly being refilled too, which is always a plus.

Other than seafood you do get the usual suspects: plenty of fish ball lookalike and taste-alike stuff, big selection of vegetables, mushrooms, noodles, egg, and sliced beef.

There are also a buffet line of pre-cooked dishes such as fried noodle, curry chicken, hot and sour soup, sausages, tea leaf eggs and more so you can start stuffing your mouth from the get-go, before the steamboat is boiled.

our stomach was completely stuffed, was a great lunch for sure
our stomach was completely stuffed, was a great lunch for sure

As for desserts, the choices aren’t great. There’s ice cream, kuai leng gou, fruits, and a few other Chinese/Taiwanese jelly thingy. Then again, who has stomach for desserts when you go for steamboat?

Overall it’s a pretty decent place to go, pretty good value for what you have to pay, and I think we’ll be back again for some long lunches in the future.

  • Lunch – RM27.99+
  • Afternoon – RM22.99+
  • Dinner – RM27.99+
  • Student Promotion – RM20.99+ (Student Card with Expiry Date)
  • Member Special – RM21.99+ (Mon til Fri)
  • Family Package – RM55.99+ (2 adults + 2 Child) Sunday only

map to Lot 10, KL

Address:
Shabu One
T18-22, 3nd floor
Lot 10 Shopping Mall
Jalan Bukit Bintang

GPS: 3.146462, 101.711758
Tel: 03-2145 9933
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm 

After the interesting grilled frog at my favorite foreign city, I headed to a Vietnamese seafood restaurant for dinner the following night. At the heart of the city, the Hong Hai (pronounced as 红海, or red sea, in Mandarin) restaurant is not particularly lavish nor it is very eye catching. However, judging by the crowd of locals congregating at this place, it must offer some pretty good and authentic seafood.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
fresh fish, shrimps, and various types of clam

The restaurant was quite packed, but luckily we managed to secure a table at the balcony on the second level. My friend made the order as I would have no idea how to go about reading the 100% Vietnamese menu, with no translation nor any pictures. I doubt any of the servers speak English either.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
three types of clam, including cockle (blood clam)

The first four dishes that came consists of the various types of clam. The boiled cockles (I think) were very delicious, and goes extremely well with the fried garlic (including skin) and vegetable garnish. The fresh and somewhat bloody cockles with the slightly salty but strong tasting garlic was just perfect. A salt + dried pepper + dried plum + lime dipping sauce accompany the dishes.

We also had a grilled clam and a plum sauce clam dishes. While the grilled clam is best enjoyed with the dipping, the plum sauce actually goes well with some bread. Pretty interesting contrasting taste among these three dishes, the bloody cockles, the dry grilled clam, and the sourish plum sauce clam.

Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
oyster with cheese, and a great tasting hot pot with eel

Next in line were the two huge oyster with cheese. Though this dish isn’t something that is unique to this part of the world, the oyster served were the size of my palm. Needless to say, you can guess if I enjoyed it from the photo above.

Other than all the shell fish dishes, we ordered a hot pot with eel. As with most Vietnamese dishes, the pot came with a huge serving of vegetable consisting spring onion, bean sprout, okra, and interestingly, shredded banana flower, all arranged in a neat and pretty presentation. The soup tasted a little spicy and salty, but compliment the vermicelli noodle and the fresh vegetables. It was a very good dinner.

map of Hong Hai Restaurant at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Pham Ngoc Thach road is located at the heart of Ho Chi Minh City

Hong Hai is located at the heart of the city, not more than US $2 taxi ride away from any major hotels in District 1. The dinner itself was somewhere around RM 50-60, value for money indeed.

Updated 22/10/2010: moved to 236 Pasteur, district 3, HCMC

Address:
54, Pham Ngoc Thach,
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam

Tel: 8.292977, 0908-103547