Last weekend when we stopped by Langkawi for a short work trip, we took the opportunity to visit the biggest aquarium in Malaysia – Underwater World Langkawi.
Underwater World Langkawi
I’ve always been a fan of fishes and aquariums from a young age. In high school I joined the aquarium society and was in fact the president of the club for a year (interesting trivia, I know)..
As for big aquariums, I’ve visited Aquaria KLCC (even dived in it), Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and at one point, I even held the yearly pass for Newport Aquarium at Kentucky, so clearly I wasn’t going to miss the chance to visit Underwater World Langkawi.
As it turned out, the decision was a correct one, what we got to enjoy was well worth the RM 36/pax entrance fee (for Malaysian). Check out the short 3 minute video above.
rockhopper and black-footed penguins!
The aquarium covers some 60,000 sq ft separated in several sections, starting with reptiles and some freshwater fish right after the entrance area. Here you get to see the biggest freshwater fish species – Arapaima Gigas, among others such as the freshwater stingray, red tail cat fish etc.
getting up close with the sharks, and the mesmerizing octopus
Next up is the tropical rain forest, which houses not only fish but birds and and small animals. Our favorites being the marmoset, which looks a bit like super tiny Chinese opera actors if you ask me. There are also flamingos, swan, mandarin ducks and more.
The temperate and sub-antarctic sections are the main draws here, cos for many this would be the first time being up close with seals & penguins. There are in fact two penguin areas, one of each for rockhopper and black-footed penguins.
giant garupa, mud skippers, jellyfish and more
Like many big aquariums, there’s a tunnel at Underwater World Langkawi as well. Here you’ll see several species of sharks, giant grouper, turtles, stingray and more swimming about merrily. To be honest, I thought the tunnel at Aquaria KLCC was a bit more impressive, but this is a much bigger aquarium with more to see otherwise.
After the tunnel, there’s still yet more sea lives on showcase at the various tanks, including spider crab, octopus (very mesmerizing), jelly fish, reef fish, trevally, batfish, mudskippers, shrimps, and of course, clown fish.
Overall I thought it was a very fun experience and I’d recommend it to anyone, but especially those who loves the ocean.
Address: Underwater World Langkawi, Zon Pantai Cenang, Mukim Kedawang, 07000 Langkawi GPS: 6.287737, 99.728655 Tel: 04-955 6100 Hours: 9:30AM-6:30PM weekdays, 9:30AM-8:30PM weekends
Ever since we moved to KEN Rimba, we have had to drive out for most of our meals, until very recently – the famed Ana Ikan Bakar Petai opened a branch literally right outside at our doorstep here in Shah Alam.
Ana Ikan Bakar Petai, now in Shah Alam
For the uninitiated, Ana Ikan Bakar Petai is a “brand” originated from Kuantan which also has a rather popular branch in Bangi. This is their 3rd outlet, occupying three shop lots, including upstairs & side walkway, a pretty big set up for the this otherwise pretty sleepy commercial area.
We’ve been to the place quite a few times since, it certainly is legit.
squid, prawns, crab, shellfish, and a variety of fish to choose from
At Ana Ikan Bakar, you get to choose from quite a variety of seafood – squid, lala, bamboo clams, prawns, blue crabs, sting ray, cencaru, siakap (barramundi), jenahak, garupa, and more. The price is per 100 gram (RM 3.50 – RM 7.00) is clearly stated on the display as well, so you know what you going to have to pay.
There are several cooking methods as well, with the most popular being bakar petai. If bakar isn’t what you want, you can have them masak cili, manis, halia, kicap, pedas, tiga rasa, asam pedas, lamprik, kerabu mangga, goreng kunyit, or steam limau, asam boi, or halia. Quite a number of permutations really.
pari & sotong with petai
On our first visit we had a ikan pari & sotong prepared the traditional bakar petai style. The fish was absolutely on point, super spicy with the hint of petai permeating from the sauce. As it is basically covered with the sauce, you really don’t need to have a separate condiment to go with. I also particularly like the texture of the fish here that is not overly cooked like many others.
all wrapped up in banana leaf, the only way!
The sotong bakar petai was pretty good too, but to be honest if you already have a bakar petai dish, it’s best to go with a different cooking method. On subsequent visits, we found out that the sotong is best deep fried, and they also serve very good ikan siakap steamed limau, with tiga rasa among their most popular orders as well.
keropok lekor, tomyam, lala, kailan ikan masin
Ana Ikan Bakar Petai serves more than just ikan bakar. There’s a full menu of traditional “goreng goreng” dishes. Their vegetable dishes are among the best I’ve had (try their kailan ikan masin), tomyam was good as well. There’s also other dishes such as various types of fried rice, meat, soup, etc.
Oh by the way, the lala is not worth ordering. Happy dining!
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?
Address: Salut Seafood 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
Due to the preparation in moving to new home, my schedule has been crazy, and that has a direct impact on my availability to participate in Ramadan buffet reviews. I’ve only been going to very few of them, but when Intercontinental Hotel came calling, I just know I have to make it there.
the famous seafood spread at Intercontinental KL
The biggest reason this is a must-attend event for me is simple, just look at the seafood on ice spread they have above! US & Finn de Claire oysters, Australian spanner crab, baby lobster, crabs, NZ green lips mussels, pacific prawns, slipper lobsters, Harvey bay half shell scallop, and even Alaskan king crab!
If you’re a fan of minimally prepared super fresh (and also sashimi) seafood, this is a spread you must not miss.
ulam, kuih, rojak, salad, and the all important sambal (including tempoyak)
Before we continue, the most important information:
Selera Pantai Timur bersama Chef Zamzani is available from 8 to 17 June, 2015. Priced at RM 128 nett per adult & RM 64 nett per child. This is the chance to savor all of East Coast’s delicacies brought to you by the good chef who will be at the restaurant during this period.
Serena Brasserie’s Berbuka Puasa buffet will continue from 18 June to 15 July, 2015. Priced at RM 139 nett per adult on first and forth week or Ramadan, and RM 152 nett per adult on 2nd and third week of Ramadan.
roast beef, bread, cheese, for the Western touch
Other than seafood, the dishes from the West includes pink pepper macadamia crusted Australian beef, lamb, Yokshire pudding, pastry, a good selection of cheese, bread, mushroom soup, gratin potato with cheese, pasta and so forth.
So you don’t really need to be someone who can eat spicy food to fully enjoy this spread.
okra, ketam berlado, kung pao chicken, gratin potato with trio cheese, sautee mussel, chicken tandoori, har lok prawn, sautee asparagus
As for traditional Terengganu cuisine, there’s plenty to choose from. Gulai udang, kerutuk daging, singang sotong hitam, gulai telur itik, ayam percik, and ketupat sotong are among the few. There’s also nasi dagang as well.
Of course, ulam and a selection of sambal (including the all important tempoyak) is available.
rendang ayam, gulai udang, hati ayam kicap, nasi dagang, home made ice cream, sup ekor, sup mushroom
Other than the selection of Malay traditional fair, there’s other Asian representative too in sautee asparagus with garlic and soya, har lok prawn, kung po chicken, and chicken tandoori.
Like many other places, there’ll also be “stalls” serving roti, roasted whole lamb, roti canai, roti jala (with durian flavor!), ABC, and celup-celup tepung. If you want noodle, they have mee rebus Terengganu and mee goreng lambak as well.
Pauline, Kerol, & KY having a whale of a time enjoying the Ramadan buffet
Overall, this has got to be one of my favorite buffet spread. The price is certainly on the high side, but you do get what you pay for, so if you’re looking for something a bit more premium with great ingredients while still retaining a traditional touch, this is the place to check out.
Kota Kinabalu, and many parts of East Malaysia for that matter, is famous for its seafood, and there are many restaurants to choose from. For a visitor, this can get pretty tricky as there are always those TSH (tourist slaughtering house) that one should avoid.
So on my trip to KK last year, I got the help from locals to suggest a good seafood meal. When both Joyce and Ben agreed that New Gaya Seafood is the destination fit for purpose, it surely can’t go wrong.
New Gaya Seafood at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Unlike some of the fancier seafood restaurants in the city, New Gaya is relatively plain. There’s no cultural dance or elaborate interior decorations, but there’s plenty of live seafood to choose from, with simple dining area that’s complete with plastic chairs and relatively tired looking tablecloths.
We’re here for the food though, and so long it’s relatively clean, who cares?
Sabah vegetable, ostrich meat, tofu in hotplate
To start with, we have something green in the form of Sabah vegetable (RM 12). While seafood is the main topic, if you’re in Sabah, you gotta order this. The vegetable has a very distinct sweetness that is absent in those you find in Peninsular, I highly recommend this.
Then there’s ostrich meat (RM 20) and tofu in hot plate (RM 20) to complete our non-seafood trio. All these dishes were very good and go along well with the garlic rice (RM 10 for 5pax) we ordered.
fresh prawns and clams
Then came the seafood.
We started out with 1 kg of live prawns (RM 48). To enjoy the freshness of these prawns in its most unadulterated form, we have them steamed. It was so succulent and full of seafood sweetness, it really is the best way to enjoy these prawns.
Then we had those thick shelled clams (RM 26/kg) prepared with minimal fuss – garlic and chives. Sweet and juicy.
steamed garoupa, more clams, soft shell crab, mud crab
Our most expensive dish of the night was the 1 kg steamed garoupa with superior soya sauce (RM 90), as with everything else, freshness is key and this fish was alive prior to us ordering. I think that garoupa at this weight is pretty much perfect when it comes to the texture of the meat.
We also had the shellfish (RM 22 per kg) that you eat by twisting out the meat with a pick. This was steamed and went really well with the supplied condiment.
these were not all the dishes we shared at New Gaya
No seafood dinner is complete without crabs, and for this purpose we had 1 kg of deep fried soft shell crab (RM 78) and another kg of mud crab (RM 38) prepared with salted egg yolk. These dishes did not disappoint either, though I probably like the mud crab to be prepared a little less dry or perhaps have them baked or steamed instead.
Joyce, KY, Maha, Raj, Ben, Choo, Michelle, Vicky
Overall it was a great dinner with very good company to boot, we ended up splitting the bill at just over RM 50 per person. If you happen to go to KK, eat where the locals choose to eat and you won’t be disappointed. New Gaya seafood is definitely one of those destinations.
Address: New Gaya Seafood Restaurant Lot A & B, Wisma Lucky Centre, Jalan Kianson, 88450 Inanam, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah GPS: 5.988415, 116.138549 Tel: 088-385 020 Hours: 11:30am – 2pm; 5pm – 10pm