We’d like you to be a little adventurous, get off the island and zip onto the Lim Chong Eu expressway (formerly Jelutong expressway) towards the magnificent Penang bridge. From there, head on towards KL on the North-South highway and after a few minutes, exit at Bukit Tambun/Batu Kawan. After traffic lights at the tol gate, turn right and around half a kilometre or so, watch out for a signboard that says ‘Restoran Floating’ on your right. Turn in and park your car.
What you’ll find is a simple, basic restaurant floating atop ponds of its own fish and seafood farm. This humble restaurant is a gold mine in terms of fresh water seafood dishes. They not only serve the usual, familiar seafood fare of fish, prawns, crabs, squids and cockles but also a myriad exotic sea creatures such as spiky-shelled snails that are so pretty you’d think it’s a crime to eat them and our own yabbies or fresh water prawns that are firm in texture and sweet in flavour.
To begin, their specialty is the steamed garoupa steeping in a tray of assam laksa complete with noodles and slices of sawi asin (pickled Chinese soup green). The gravy is a cross between Nyonya assam pedas and the fish-based assam laksa. It’s only lightly spicy but there’s a tang and short sweetness to the flavours too. The fish is fresh and the firm texture of its flesh attests to that. Although, their deep-fried version in a sauce of your choice is just as fantastic and kids love it.
Since their seafood practically comes from their own backyard, it’s way better to choose steamed seafood than deep fried here. Cockles and crabs shine in their own sweetness and textures without the interference of cooking sauces, oils and the like.
Here, a touch of exotic is cleverly wrapped in comforting familiarity. For instance, the large fresh water prawns with a more resilient shell is steamed with beaten eggs giving the dish a creamy touch. While a spiky but pretty shelled snails are simply steamed and then dipped into a plum sauce before each bite. Besides all that, they also have the local favourite of lala and bamboo-mussels and crispy-battered deep fried squids, among others.
To complement this array of seafood, there are a few noodles dishes and white or fried rice. Vegetable dishes we’d recommend here is their kangkong belacan that has the right degree of spiciness and a visual feast with its bright green and red hues. On the carnivorous side, try their deep fried spring chicken. Crispy, chewy but tender at the same time and a nice twist on the palate after all that seafood.
Price wise, it’s a little hard to pin down the exact cost of each dish in these little shack-restaurants since seafood dishes here very often goes with the going market price. Nevertheless, as a barometer, it’s safe to say it’ll cost you between RM35 to RM45 per person for a meal complete with a fish, a carbohydrate, at least three other types of seafood listed above and a serve of deep fried spring chicken. And less, if you order less dishes, of course. Well worth the drive, don’t you think? Oh, and one more thing, these are really places to go with a large group to maximise your order. Su Aziz
|Venue name:||Restoran Floating|
Lot 2400, Jalan Bukit Tambun, Simpang Ampat
|Opening hours:||12noon-11pm, closed on Mon (every fortnight)|