tambun seafood

Penang has an abundance of seafood due to its status as an island, and for the very same reason, the seafood also happens to be disgustingly cheap. Thus, a trip to Penang without having seafood is kinda like going to Egypt without visiting the pyramids.

tambun pier

We travelled from Tambun, Ipoh to Tambun, Penang after the hot springs trip. Tambun (the one in Penang) is famous for seafood and lies just before the Penang bridge connecting the mainland to the island.

gee seng tambun

We had dinner at Restauran Gee Seng, which looks small on the outside but actually has a huge amount of space which can easily accommodate 30 tables or so, with its own pier for fresh hauls of seafood to boot! Parking is a bit of a nightmare here though, since the road into this area is narrow and the parking attendants frequently shuffle the cars (along with their drivers) around when some poor sod stuck at the back of a matrix of cars has to exit after his/her dinner.

However, I’m sure you don’t want to read about the tribulations of the complicated parking system, so I’ll let the photos do the talking:

thorny clams

This is some sort of spiked clam that requires a toothpick to dig out.

extract clam

The flesh tastes good dipped in chilli sauce, once you’re able to get the damn thing out. It takes a bit of practise.

jolyn

Jolyn here shows us that chopsticks are not merely eating implements.

octopus

We also ordered boiled octopus

vegetables

…and a serving of greens to balance out the marine meat. It had shrimps in it anyway, keeping true to the seafood restaurant roots. ;)

baked crabs

The baked crab at this place comes with a mallet made of wood. You use it to crack open the shell.

crab claw

This style of cooking preserves the natural sweetness of the crab meat.

signature tofu

The signature tofu dish at this establishment is different – it’s deep fried into triangular shapes and is a mixture of tofu and some vegetables. It’s quite tasty.

oyster omelet

The oyster pancake (o chien) isn’t what Sarawakians are used to. Ours is a crisp pancake with juicy oysters in the middle – click here to see a sample. The oyster pancake over here is more like a classic omelet, except with oysters.

chilli crab rolls

Next up is one of my favorite dishes – chilli crab served with a side of bread rolls to soak up the gravy with. Let me attempt to describe the pure awesomeness of the chilli crab. The gravy is cooked with starch and tastes sweet and tangy, with a slightly salty note in there somewhere.

chilli crab

It’s also infused with egg and at one point; I just discarded all social graces and started scooping up the sauce with my spoon and drinking it. Pure heaven!

mantis prawn cooked

This is the mantis prawn. I’ve written about the mantis prawn experience here in a post filled with (very justifiable) hyperbole.

mantis prawn flesh

It’s my first time eating mantis prawn and the tender and sweet flesh is simply orgasmic! This is what it looks like in the aquarium:

mantis prawn live

I can’t believe I haven’t had mantis prawn before! To this very day, it keeps me awake at night, doubting my own judgment and fitness to live.

coconut water

The bill came out to a grand total of RM 253.20 for the six (6) of us. We thought there was an accounting error on the restaurant’s part and made plans for a quick exit strategy since a dinner like that has gotta cost around RM 400.

seafood in tambun

However, upon further inspection, it seems that we were billed for everything we ordered after all. Tambun seafood is dirt cheap and it’s fresh and delicious to boot! I highly recommend stopping by Tambun for dinner when you drive up to Penang! You’ll be missing out if you don’t. :)

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32 Responses to “Tambun seafood, Penang”

  1. i miss seafood in sabah…
    it’s dang cheap in tawau!!!

  2. eh i was there once before. Yeah the food is good and besides that coral thingy, the balitong is interesting too!

  3. once again, you have coufouned me HB. Those look like tiny little conch, I got some big shells I found while swimming…. well never mind. But how can you eat that. It would be like eatng a snail or somthing… uh… wait a min. escargot is ok with butter . Octopus? yuck. not a chance. we have calaamri, you know, deep fried uh… wait a min. Slurp. What was that sound? someone eating a raw oyster is my guess. But I like em breaded and deep fried. but sushi is pretty good. I like Crab legs , but can seldom afford it so suriami is pretty good. Of all the sea fish, I like Haddock or Cod. I never much cared for lobster, and thats a good thing cause it about 32 per lbs usd for the tails or claws. Same with caviar, or champange. Cant even spell it and dont really care. Keep all that and give me some beer and fried large shrimp, or sea scallops, with horse radish sauce, and a I am happy guy. Of course we wont speak of some of the weird and disgusting foods that are common around here. ( humm, see if I can gross you out – Cracklin corn bread- after you render the fat from rhe pig, you add the crispy nugets to cornbread. Chicken liver is too easy. Livermush is not too bad, scrambled brains and eggs?( the highest bad cholesteraal (LDL) food you could eat- no thank you) well.. some gross out food. Now excuse me while I get hot dog. God bless,HB

  4. omg! the spiked clam, it has been ages since i last i seen one. however never ever eaten one before. the food are awesomelicious!

  5. this,HB. please. faith hope and love. see you later. Tom

  6. annant: Yeah, seafood is pretty cheap in KK too! I went deep sea fishing in KK (3D/2N) on a boat, it was fun (but very, very hot and no showers), eating fresh fish on a boat in the sea from the boat’s chef is awesome! :)
    eiling: Balitong is everywhere in Sibu! :)
    We don’t call it that though, forgot what the local name for it is. It’s a famous Foochow delicacy, my maternal grandma used to cook it, would chop one end of for sucking, then counter suck from the other end to get it out. No need for toothpicks. :)
    tom r: Yeah, it’s kinda, sorta like eating a snail but these belong to the clam family, if I’m not mistaken, so it’s just like eating clams, or mussels or stuff like that. Same texture, different size. ;)
    I love calamari too, aquired a taste for it in Melb (coz it was so cheap) but nowadays I’m not a big fan of breaded, deep fried stuff. It’s just like how I lost my sweet tooth – I don’t crave for chocolate anymore – I still have heaps of Mars and Twix in the fridge. I think it’s partly coz I stopped smoking weed and partly coz my liver is fucked up so eating chocolates (or any other dairy product) makes me mildly ill now.
    I’m not even lactose intolerant in the past, could chug 5 liters of fresh milk in a day.
    Heh! I love hearing about your food. Brains and eggs? Sounds awesome! I shall attempt to cook it one day. Take care my friend! :)
    jg: Funny eh? We don’t get the spiked clam in Sibu but the balitong is very common over there – it’s easier to eat too, if you chop off one end, sucking first on that end and then the other just forces the clam out of the shell, easy. Have mastered doing that since my maternal grandma loves cooking it. :)
    tom r: You too buddy! Take care! :)

  7. those things look tasty. I wished I had more of those before I left home. For RM250 you don’t even get food half as good as those in Russia =(

  8. Ryan: Yeah, we were all surprised by when the bill came. We thought they forgot to charge us for the mantis prawn (coz their estimate was RM 200 for 6 mantis prawns) but it turns out that they did! Seafood is just way too cheap in Tambun. A meal like this in Sibu is gonna hurt your wallet (coz we’re landlocked, we don’t have a beach or sea). :)

  9. penang or chien also the crispy one, just that some outlets prefer to do theirs soggy, like the average omelette.
    chilli crabs. hehehe, how ironic.

  10. well pretty wrong on price judgement. Y we ran away so fast. LOL

  11. J2Kfm: Interesting! It’s always the crispy ones in Sarawak, I like that tip. Heh!
    LOL @ chilli crabs. Not talking about that kinda of crabs dude. ;)
    Myhorng: Haha! Yeah, we’re like cabuting coz we thought they got the price wrong, but it turns out they did calculate the mantis prawns in. :)

  12. HB . . . hated the chilli crab in SG . . .what a waste of SRI LANKAN crab . .too spicy dude
    Prefer them steam or baked or grill on their own . .sweetness like u said

  13. “…made plans for a quick exit strategy”
    ;) Cough…

  14. foodcrazee: I’m a big fan of chilli crabs in Singapore! I like spicy stuff, but I’ve never had REALLY spicy chilli crab before. Yeah, grilling and baking are great for fresh crabs, but I like chilli crabs too, coz of the gravy. :)
    Cheers: Haha! We thought they forgot to charge us for the mantis prawn. They did bill us for it, seafood in Tambun was just a lot cheaper than we’re used to. :)

  15. I miss tambun seafood damnit

  16. OMG OMG! i knot resist Crabbby!!!! how come they don giv u hammer to crack the crab.. wood looks so funnei neh! kekeke!
    Ok ok!! have to reward myself for lunch after saw all ur seafooooood!!!!

  17. Wow, makes me want to plan a road trip up north next year.

  18. Tambun? All this time I thought it was in Perak… Jolyn! Looks like a nice and sweet girl…

  19. KY: Yeah, it’s cheap and it’s fresh! Best seafood over here that I’ve had. :)
    KK reigns supreme over on the other side, the variety is amazing. For Sarawak, I’ll put my money on Miri. :)
    yienyien: The wooden mallet (stick?) is surprisingly easier to use than a hammer though – the density of the wood cracks open the shell easily. :)
    Okay, go have a big lunch or something. =D
    Simon Seow: Yeah, Penang is not that far if you break it up in two – Ipoh first, and then downwards to Penang. 2 1/2 hours each leg. :)
    suituapui: Yup, there’s a Tambun in Perak (where the hot springs are). Went to that before heading to the Tambun in Penang (2 1/2 hours drive between both Tambuns). :)
    It’s a good way to get north, stop at the first Tambun for some R&R and head to the other on the way to Penang.

  20. i never try the mantis prawn before but it looks good !! must try next time

  21. ahhh..one of the best restaurant in there that i always go`

  22. Was wondering what are those mantis prawns called in Cantonese? Is it the “lai liu har”? (Literally translated pee-in-pants-prawn).

  23. jason: Yeah, I’ve never had it until that day too! It’s really, really good, check it out next time, you won’t regret it! :)
    RM 20 per prawn is pretty reasonable for the size. Look at the creatures in the aquarium – quite interesting really, kinda like huge milipedes. :)
    taufulou: Yeah, it’s nice and the food is cheap eh? Parking is crazy though, but I guess if you live around there you’re used to it. :)
    Vincent: Hmm…I don’t know actually, my Cantonese is terrible. :(
    Anyone?

  24. Haha. What wooden mallet? Just use the old and trusty Nokia 3310! :)

  25. shaoweii: Haha! I don’t have a Nokia 3310! :)

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