Mr & Mrs Host picked us up from the hotel at 7 pm , throughout the drive, the conversation was dominated by my colleague ( C) who was a bit pi**ed of being called Ah Pek ( a term reserved for an older uncle) by Mr Host’s colleague, and that he will retaliate by calling her ‘Ah Phor’ ( grandmother ) when he sees her – and I thought only the women folks are sensitive to things like that – e.g scenario at the market place where –they might not buying vegetables from the seller that called them Auntie but prefer to buy them from someone that call them ‘ Leng Leng ‘ (pretty miss )
It was about a 30 minutes drive , we traveled from big roads with traffic lights, to smaller roads without any street lamps flanked by mengkuang ‘forests’ and later come to a narrow road passing through a malay village and then we reached the end of the road- and any further we would be in the sea lah.Mr and Mrs Host are regulars at Lim Yong Kee , they come here to eat and also to buy seafood. So, we left it to them to select the menu.
First up- Balitong with vermicelli – the balitong ( a kind of shellfish , aka bamboo clam , the English term was rather apt although a bit too descriptive – something to do with the private part of the monkey, go figure ) were medium sized- which was a good size as then they wouldn’t be tough, this was steamed with shreds of ginger and garnished with parsley and chilies , the vermicelli was full of flavour as these had soaked up the sweetness from the steamed balitong plus the seasoning ..
Next up : Ikan India ( Mr Host had actually used a rather non 1Malaysia term) stir fried with dried chili and onion. The fish was meaty and fresh ( fresh seemed like a no-brainer term here ) and the combination of the flavour was superb- lemongrass, finely shredded ginger, onion, parsley, dried chili, black pepper , plus seasoning , Yumyum
While we were digging into the Bollywood fish, we saw a fisherman coming from the jetty heading towards the kitchen , holding a very big fish , Mr Host quickly consulted his wife and then shot up from his seat and headed towards the kitchen and came back to our table with a big grin on his face ‘ I cancelled the ‘tau dei chong’ ( pomfret), and replaced with the fishhead of that big fish ’.
Steamed prawns – when the seafood are fresh, you would probably want to enjoy them in their pure form without any adulterations. Ah..need I say that the prawns are very fresh, sweet, firm and crunchy, I stopped at 3 but was told that : eating deep sea prawns will not increase my cholesterol level as they contain lower cholesterol levels than prawns caught at the shallow area, and that beer can wash away cholesterol. Got this sort of theory mehh ? sounds like those Internet hoax that tell you that I am the sole survivor of civil war in Africa and have access to a few billions worth of cash that I will part with if you help me blah blah blah…anyway, just in case they were right- I had another 3 prawns
Steamed fish head – this was the catch that we saw earlier, the stand-in for Mr Pomfret . the fish was steamed with ginger shreds, mushrooms, pickled vegetable ( kiam chye) and garnished with parsley! Mr Host said the fish was called Ngor-fish, which he thinks is = ikan kurau . I mentioned before ( somewhere, some old post) – I am not a fish person , but even for a non-fish person – this was a really really wonderful fish, it was all a person could ask for from a fish ( actually, I am not too sure about this, since I don’t speak their lingo I hadn’t ask anything from a fish before) . Mr Host dug into the fish eye socket and plunked the gooey slimey extract on my plate , I dutifully scooped it up and slurp it , smooth and gooey as expected..euuuuu…wasted on me. i guess..
Fish belly and liver- Mrs Host say that today was a lucky day and even for them as regulars, it is not often that they get to eat the fish belly as only big fish would have these belly – when dried – these are called fish maw, do we call them fish maw when they are fresh ? The cooking style was similar to that of the earlier Indian fish. Fish belly had a chewy, crunchy , elastically kinda texture – interesting. The fish liver was very rich and the texture was kinda like chicken liver except that it was finer and doesn’t have that sandy grain –kinda like agar-agar. Taste wise, it was a fishier version of chicken liver.
I couldn’t move … too much food… Superb meal !!
Lim Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant
Muara Tebas, Kuching
( next to the Kuan Im temple ( Goddess of Mercy temple)