Jun 12 2012
Port Klang may be famous for its seafood, but it’s even more so for preparing it steamboat style. While you’ll find traditional Chinese steamboat in Kuala Lumpur’s restaurants, it takes fresh ingredients and specialty in marinating to really bring out the flavour of the meats, and Port Klang, with the Straits of Melaka at its doorstep, has perfected the art of cooking seafood steamboat style.
A steamboat is a vessel anywhere else in the world except Asia, where it refers to an informal but excellent way to interact and share while eating. Cantonese in origin, diners can socialise while they choose from an array of meats, noodles and vegetables which are then cooked at the table in a simmering pot of stock. It’s a great option when you have a group of individuals who prefer different meats or are picky eaters. Steamboat means it’s entirely your choice to cook what you and everyone else likes to eat at the same table, without having to order a variety of dishes.
Because the seafood is only lightly cooked, it’s always preferable to use fresh, unprocessed products, which is why dining in the Klang area is your best bet for a memorable steamboat meal. Leave the marinating and preparation to the restaurant; everything comes ready and neatly served to your table, ready for your skills to be put to the test.
Cook like a local and always remember to dunk the meat, seafood and vegetables separately so that the broth doesn’t become an overwhelming mix of flavours and you can still savour the taste and texture of each morsel you put in your mouth. Tip: the vegetables come after the seafood and meat, allowing for the umami in the broth to become a rich essence that will cook your vegetables and leave them far from bland. Last are the noodles and egg, which will dilute the soup so wait till everyone is done before plonking them in.
Driving through Port Klang will leave you spoiled or possibly confused by all the choices. Making a wild pick generally doesn’t end badly, as almost all the restaurants get their seafood fresh from the same trawlers. You won’t have to go all the way to the Port to enjoy a truly interactive meal, with steamboat restaurants making an appearance in the Klang Valley.
But you can’t go wrong trying Chen ChenHo (Pulau Ketam) Seafood Steamboat at No. 2, Lorong Batu Nilam 21B, Bandar Bukit Tinggi 2, Klang. With a 30-year-old secret soup recipe originating from Pulau Ketam and an assortment of other specialties like fried mantis prawn, bamboo la-la and seafood tom yam, you’ll have a solid introduction to a communal dining style of Southeast Asia.
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