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Tag / shellfish

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

Drunken lala is a dish that I sorta invented by taking the ideas from drunken prawns and a clam with white wine dish that I had from The Apartment (first introduced by Suan).

I use a small pot to in order to have a steaming effect by closing the lid, as well as be able to retain the Chinese wine as the juice to go with rice. The “sauce” turned out pretty good, it has strong rice wine and seafood flavor as well as a hint of spiciness from chili padi.

The key to this dish is the freshness of lala, I would recommend that you get them from morning market and cook them the very same night. Overnight lala isn’t generally a good thing to consume.

ingredients for drunken lala
ingredients for drunken lala

Anyway, here are the ingredients:

  • at least half a kilo of lala, preferably large size
  • ginger – slices
  • half a bulb of garlic – peeled
  • spring onion – cut into 1.5 inches
  • 6-8 chili padi – whole
  • a cup of Chinese cooking wine
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • 2 table spoon of cooking oil

use a small pot to retain more moisture
use a small pot to retain more moisture

The instructions are very simple and straight forward, the key is to use a small pot and never a nonstick frying pan lest you want to lose the layer of nonstick teflon.

  • heat up cooking oil, and fry ginger and garlic till fragrant
  • add lala and fry it till most of them are opened
  • add cooking wine and bring to boil
  • add chili padi and spring onion, then close lid for 5 minutes
  • add salt and pepper to taste
  • serve while hot

drunken lala with chili padi & spring onion
drunken lala with chili padi & spring onion

And there you go, I paid some RM 15 for these fresh lala at the morning market, but prices are seasonal so your mileage may vary.

Do check out my other recipes, happy cooking!