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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / seafood

A dozen of so years ago when I went to KK for the first time for work, the one dish that left the biggest impression on me was fish noodle. Specifically, this one place which offers additions like fish skin, lips, and such, it was awesome.

Well, I don’t remember where that was, and this post isn’t about that place.

Jong Fa Pai kopitiam at Hilltop, Kota Kinabalu
Jong Fa Pai kopitiam at Hilltop, Kota Kinabalu

This instead, is Jong Fa Pai kopitiam, one of the popular outfit from Tawau that’s opened up several branches in and around Kota Kinabalu, offering mostly fish head & fish noodle since 2008.

We ended up here for our first meal in KK right after touching down at KKIA and picked up our rental car. It was suggested by my friend Ben as an alternative to Fatt Kee, arguably the most popular fish noodle place, also located at Hilltop.

slices of garupa meat in milk & tomato broth
slices of garupa meat in milk & tomato broth

The menu is simple, choose between fish head, fish slice, prawn ball, and have them either boiled or deep fried to go with milk based broth and meehon. We had the basic with slices of garupa at RM 10 per bowl, and it was actually pretty good. May not take B & Best out as my current favorite, but they were definitely pretty delicious. The broth is similar to Woo Pin at Taman Desa, but the quality of seafood is definitely better.

no regular coke or pepsi here but there's EST Cola
no regular coke or pepsi here but there’s EST Cola

In addition to fish noodle dishes, they also carry a few types of side dishes for sharing. We tried the beancurd skin prawn (RM 9) and found it complimenting the noodle dish pretty well. Crunchy & packed with fresh prawn meet in, it was pretty good especially after dipping into the sweet chili sauce.

Now is this place between than Fatt Kee? Well I guess I’ll have to find out the next trip!

jong fa pai kopitiam fish noodle kota kinabalu map

Address:
Jong Fa Pai kopitiam
Lot 11, Ground Floor,
Kolam Centre, Jalan Lintas,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
GPS: 5.950145, 116.092007
URLwww.jongfapai.com.my

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
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
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
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"
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
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?

Thanks Ben!

map to salut seafood, kota kinabalu

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

While fusion food has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the years from many restaurants that came up with dishes that were neither here nor there, I still always applaud those who dare to imagine and come up with something different from the ordinary. Sometimes it is done by mixing ingredients from different parts of the world, other times by turning traditional recipes upside down. Either way, it is one way to ensure that culinary art does not stay stagnant and only look backwards.

glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup
glorious miso grilled hake steak with spicy mussel soup

Several days ago I received some fresh ingredients courtesy of the Zealand Trade Enterprises, and as part of the challenge, we were supposed to use them and come up with dishes worthy of sharing. Since cooking is one of my many hobbies, here goes!

For dinner last Friday, I decided to make grilled hake (or any cod, really)  with miso marinate & vege, while the wife came up with spicy mussle soup as a companion dish. Both seafood ingredients were New Zealand products.

Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient
Hake steak from New Zealand, miso as main marinate ingredient

I will be sharing the hake steak recipe here:

Ingredients:

  • Hake steak (or any white fish, such as cod) 250-300 gram per pax
  • asparagus & mushroom (sliced)
  • a few gloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

Ingredients for marinate:

  • 2 tablespoon miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

asparagus and mushroom as sides
asparagus and mushroom as sides

Cooking instructions (fish):

  • mix marinate in a bowl and apply generously on fish, let marinate for at least 15-30 minutes
  • heat up the oven to 175 C
  • pan fry the fish for 2-3 minutes
  • bake fish in oven for 10 minutes

fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed
fish: pan fry before oven, vege: sauteed

Cooking instructions (vegetable):

  • heat up frying pan with cooking oil
  • fry garlic till fragrant
  • add mushroom & asparagus and saute for 2 minutes
  • add leftover marinate to the vege and continue to saute for another 2 minutes

Time your cooking of vegetable to coincide with the fish so that they’re both served hot. Enjoy!

spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long
spicy New Zealand mussel soup made by Haze Long

Since we lack tomato puree or white wine, the spicy mussel soup involved the use of sake, ketchup, New Zealand mussels, and black magic. My wife made it, so I don’t think I’m qualified to know enough of the recipe to share it here.

Happy cooking! #

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
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
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
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
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
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, Chew, Michelle, Vicky
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.

map to New Gaya Seafood restaurant, KK

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

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 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
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
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
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
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.

map to The Pot steamboat at Kuchai Lama

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