This eighth blog post is part of Food Safari Kuala Lumpur 2014 – a series of ten mouth-watering blog posts of the best eats during my 9-day trip to the city.
“We want to bring you to Klang to eat seafood” she tells me.
“Is that not a little too far for a simple lunch?” I reply.
“No where is too far when it comes to good food” she says.
And with that statement, my dear friend Priscilla has summed up the attitude of all Malaysian food lovers. But time is a factor, especially when there is so much good food in Kuala Lumpur.
And how can I refuse a lunch invite to a seafood extravaganza? I miss tai chow or zi char restaurants in KL and I am so looking forward to this lunch.
So I find myself with three lovely ladies at Restoran Siu Siu, a seafood restaurant in the heart of Robson Heights in Taman Seputeh.
“You knew I had a big crush on you when we were teenagers, do you not?” I sternly ask Priscilla while gently placing my hand over hers.
She laughs out loud, trying to conceal her embarrassment but her endearing smile tells of my assertion being true.
“You’re a real sh*thead but you’re such a sweety too!” she laughs and finally confesses.
“Well, I had to endure leaving all those red roses with your mum and she probably thought what a freakin’ nerd I was” I reveal to the three girls before me.
“You got her red roses?” the other two girls ask.
“Nevermind sweetpea, I will make it up to you … in more ways than one” she says with a wink.
I am bemused by Priscilla’s gesture but I had to remind her of my marital status.
“Sorry dear, I am happily spoken for these days though I wouldn’t mind a good back rub to relieve all that stress you caused me during those puberty years” I say with a smile.
“Well all you’re getting from me is just wine and more wine” Priscilla says.
I love these casual restaurants in Malaysia because unlike in Australia, you can bring your own wines and corkage charge is free and even if there is a charge, it is usually relatively cheap.
In humid Malaysian weather, this bottle of chilled Col Solivo Prosecco is going down like a treat between the four of us.
And as much as I am enjoying pre-lunch drinks with these three beautiful ladies, I know I have to behave and watch what I say and do. This is because I am also in the company of three very bright legal minds among the law fraternity in KL.
A plate of char siew arrives in hearty chunks with the usual pieces of cucumber.
Good as it may be, it is far from the best char siew in KL. Then again, we did not come here for Chinese BBQ pork.
Stir-fried Chinese greens are always good in tai chow restaurants.
I firmly believe chefs at these restaurants highly tuned to churn out good stir-fry dishes and a simple vegetable stir-fry would be elementary.
My first glimpse of good food at Siu Siu is a pot of nyonya style prawn and vegetable curry.
The aroma of lemongrass, kaffir lime and ginger is fresh and fragrant. This claypot curry is bubbling with king prawns and okra peeking out from the surface. The sauce is tasty although the fried mantou did not do justice to it.
Two mud crabs are smothered with curry leaves, salted egg yolk and deep fried to a crisp and fragrant orange.
It is tasty to the point of crab shell licking good.
I have not eaten Patin fish for so many years and this fish did not disappoint.
Diced ginger which has been sauteed is generously spread over the steamed fish in light soy sauce. The fish is smooth and succulent though shallots garnish could absorb more gingery flavours if thinly julienned rather than being roughly cut crosswise.
Stir-fried rice vermicelli rounded up our beautiful lunch with its fresh and crunchy beansprouts, egg and prawns.
The mud crabs are tasty and as I clean my hands after this meal, I do wonder about hygiene standards in the kitchen when a hand towel is on offer over the wash basin.
So dear readers, which is your favourite seafood restaurant in Robson Heights and what is your favourite dish there?
Here’s some of my tips when planning a food safari in KL:
- Do some basic research on eat streets, hawkers and restaurants which are known for particular Malaysian style dishes to get some idea about whether the food actually suits your tastes.
- Local weather can be warm and humid, so do wear loose and comfortable clothing.
- Comfortable footwear is important if you are planning to walk the streets of KL.
- Carry bottled water and lots of face tissues for those deliciously greasy noodles.
- Pace yourself and avoid snacking on all sorts of foods as calories do add up quickly.
- Be very certain about what’s in your food if you have food allergies.
- Carry medication for diarrhoea and food-poisoning, especially if you are consuming street food for the first time or have even built up resistance.
- Be vigilant on the streets as some areas of KL are notorious for petty crimes such as snatch thieves and pickpockets. Avoid carrying loose handbags, large amounts of cash, important travel documents, credit cards and elaborate jewellery.
Restaurant Siu Siu
15-11 Lorong Syed Putra Kiri
Robson Heights, Kuala Lumpur
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday lunch and dinner. Closed on Mondays. Non Halal.