Monday, January 7, 2008

Boon time

J is in town, and she has a list of must-eats. It’s a long list, and we have too few days. As we go around checking off one spot after another, we hear the dreaded footsteps of Gluttony hounding us and the Ghost of Pants From An Earlier Smaller Waist Time whispering in our ears. To ward off the evil spirit Guilty Conscience, we make a pact with the Lord of Sweaty Joints, paying our daily dues huffing and puffing at his temple for an hour or two a day. Sometimes, we pay for parking too.

Was it worth it, all this cosmic bargaining so detrimental to one’s soul? Oh yes, it is. Yes, yes, yesss, YESSSSSSSS! All for this dish…

What, you say? For a mere pomfret in bee hoon (rice vermicelli) soup? Not for sharks’ fin, truffles, lobsters or creamy liver from a force-fed duck? No, no, not for us the merely sinful. This was, to quote J, “silky and pillowy.” The fish perfectly boiled just a little past cooked, its flesh melting and gliding into one’s mouth along with the broth perfectly balanced between tartness and spiciness. In between, one scoops up spoonfuls of bee hoon that has been happily swimming in and soaking up the delightful broth. Ah, perfection.

It was a cool, breezy Klang night, and we were the only ones seated al fresco at Boon Tat Seafood Restaurant. (Everyone else seemed to prefer the air-conditioned dining room.)

Klang is one of many culinary destinations in Malaysia, boasting enduring favourites like bak kut teh that tempts travellers of all ilk, even well-travelled "Sg girls." However, being a seaside town and home to the busiest port in Peninsula Malaysia, seafood restaurants are plentiful in this prosperous royal enclave, and everyone has their favourite.

Boon Tat is a destination of those of us who prefer small, family-run establishments to the garish mega seafood centres big on glitz but not much else. Boon Tat is known for its limited seafood menu – a few well-cooked standards that resist seasonal fetishes (like egg yolk crabs, the current rage in town). At one time, they didn’t even bother to serve white rice!

A popular starter is the deep-fried squid – juicy pieces not dunked in too much batter. However, we much preferred…

… the steamed clams in wine, garlic, green onions and chilli padi (fiery hot tiny Thai chillies) to wake up our tastebuds.

Prawns perfectly steamed – the meat firm and succulent – is another must-have, but one of Boon Tat's more distinctive dishes is the oh chien, or fried oyster omelette.

The photo above does not do justice to the generous servings of scallion-laced fresh oysters laid gently on a thin but very crispy and yummy bed of egg and flour (a “crepe-y edge, like Saturn’s rings” was how J described it).

Yes, they do vegetables too! But remember to save room for the zinger that is the chilli crab – call ahead, for they may run out…

Boon Tat Seafood Restaurant: No. 6, Jalan Soon Huat Jetty, Off Jalan Papan Pandamaran, 42000 Port Klang. Tel: 603 - 3168 7116

[This post scrutinized, copy-edited and improved-upon by J.]


z said...

crap. my dad just had a by-pass and has to be very careful with his diet now. no more adventurous eating with the family.

i am so hungry.

Aromatic Beans said...

Hmm, Teochew food might be the answer. Light yet flavourful!

z said...

wah, then you should post up links to teochew restaurants in KL if you have them!!!!

orangeclouds said...

The two of you are hilarious. Hahaha.

I fell violently ill on my recent trip to KL (a stomach flu that had long been brewing) but was nevertheless unable to resist the seafood. Had a good steamed clams, similar to what you described, at La La Chong near the old airport. However my Klang boy has just informed me that the seafood in port Klang is better than at La La Chong. I can only imagine...

And thanks for the Penang food tips :)