Seafood platter @ Vues on the Bay, Port Stephens

me seafood platter

This is the very first meal I had during my recent trip to New South Wales! We arrived at Sydney in the morning and drove 2 ½ hours to Port Stephens for lunch. I’ve had quite a few seafood platters in Australia and it always has a hot and cold component.

seafood platter cold

I thought I saw a Moreton Bay Bug at the bottom left of the cold platter and I asked about it. The waitress wasn’t sure so she went to ask the cook, who came back with the answer – it’s a Balmain Bug! It’s also another species of slipper lobster and looks a lot like the Moreton Bay Bug but the Eastern Balmain Bug (officially called butterfly fan lobster) is more common around NSW.

fresh oysters

The cold components of the dish are mud crabs, the Balmain bug, plenty of oysters and prawns with a side of salad and fresh fruits. I’ve eaten several seafood platters during my time in Australia and these ingredients are always the same, although sometimes you’ll get a regular lobster as well as the bug.

vues on the bay

The seafood items in this platter are all boiled and shocked in ice water so it’s eaten cold and I’ve always like the style of this execution. The oysters are a little small in this case, but they’re all local and not flown thousands of miles away coz oysters don’t taste good after a long journey. This was at Vues on the Bay, a very playfully named Australian cuisine restaurant right in the middle of town. Yup, this is the hub of Port Stephens with a wonderful view of the pier.

vues view

Interesting fact: Port Stephens only has one (1) traffic light in the entire township and it’s right in front of this restaurant. The residents petitioned very hard against it since they didn’t want any traffic lights in their town. :)

seafood platter hot

This being Australia, the hot component of the seafood platter has plates laden with thick cut chips, like the ones you’ll get at the local fish and chip shop, and calamari (battered and fried squid). I like how modern Australian cuisine don’t do it in ring shapes but either cigar shaped (very nice) or thick curly (like this one).

I love the calamari here, it’s so fresh that you don’t get the off-putting taste of squid and it’s soft and practically dissolves in your mouth the moment you bite into it.

The infamous RM 35 bowl of noodles in Sibu!

big prawn noodles

Yup, it’s the most expensive noodles in town! RM 35 for a bowl of big prawn noodles and RM 30 for a plate of fish noodles. It’s ludicrous!

(but quite a satisfying indulgence)

peeled big prawns
They even peel the prawns for you – including the “claw” of the freshwater Tiger shrimp

The last time I ate here was in 2008 and at the time the big prawn noodles are priced at RM 20. There’s been a RM 15 increase in just five (5) years for the same dish! We just came back to Sibu to visit my mom and decided to have lunch here. I told my better half about their ridiculously priced noodles just earlier in the day before we flew over.

most expensive noodles

Min Kong is famous for their Foochow style fried and cooked noodles (char chu mee) and it usually comes in a huge bowl (but the portion is just enough for one person). My girlfriend went for the plate of tapah fish noodles (RM 30) while I went for the big prawn noodles (RM 35).

min kong couple

I must admit, we received absolutely *fantastic* service the moment we stepped into the door and asked for the high flying dishes. They also have normal versions (sans fish or prawns) at much more reasonable prices.

We both enjoyed the RM 67.30 lunch though – it does taste good, albeit overrated and overpriced. The extra RM 2.30 is for a glass of iced Milo – yeah, Sibu prices are much more expensive than the going rates in KL for brewed drinks.

sibu foochow noodles
Portion is for one, despite the high price

My dad tells me no one (locals or visitors) actually orders this nowadays due to the absurd cost. I guess we were the first in quite a while – we certainly did got top notch service. ;)

Wonderland Food Store Seafood, Langkawi

wonderland langkawi

This is supposed to be one of the best seafood restaurants in town. I say this based solely on the fact that a lot of people like taxi drivers in Langkawi use it as a landmark/drop-off-point. Wonderland Food Store is just one of many seafood restaurants along the waterfront in town.

lobster

There are Thai style seafood restaurants, Malay seafood restaurants, and Chinese seafood restaurants, but many of the last don’t serve pork anyway. We decided on Wonderland Seafood coz we’re never eaten there before and a lot of people talks about it so we checked it out.

wonderland food store

It was a huge disappointment!

wonderland seafood

The mantis prawns were frozen instead of fresh, most of the dishes are unappealing with no plating considerations and even though it was packed, the clientèle seems to be mostly tourists – Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc.

wonderland coconut

To add to the list of sins, they hired an unlicensed taxi for us – which costs RM 1 more than the standardized fare – and is a highly unusual practice in Langkawi since the taxis are heavily regulated.

Kam Heong Mantis Prawn

mantis prawn

This is deep fried since they didn’t have any fresh ones. The proprietors said that the fishermen didn’t have any catches since it was the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. The frozen mantis prawns tastes alright but I was looking forward to fresh steamed ones so it was slightly disappointing.

Fried Squid

squid

The squid was too chewy and just wasn’t fresh – it’s exactly the *opposite* of what I had hoped to eat in Langkawi, which is famous for their seafood since it’s a duty free island.

Soft Shell Crab

soft shell crab

This was fried the same way as the other two dishes so it’s quite jelak to eat so much deep fried battered seafood, even if all three are very different creatures. I thought it was mediocre.

Seafood Fried Rice

wonderland fried rice

RM 8 a plate and it comes with lots of squid! I suspect that the “seafood fried rice” contains whatever surplus seafood that you ordered. It’s oily and repetitive.

Steamed Sea Bass (Siakap)

sea bass siakap

This is the saving grace of our seafood dinner. I liked it so much I ate all of the fish – mostly by myself. Haha. The rest of the food we tapau and took it back to the hotel coz there were so much leftovers it was obscene.

wonderland bill

The bill costs RM 99 which was pretty reasonable. However, dinner wasn’t what we expected – we had been looking forward to a nice seafood meal in Langkawi. It could be the lack of fisherman’s produce due to the Hari Raya holidays as the restaurant didn’t have fresh seafood and had to resort to frozen ones. Or it could be just the wrong place to eat.

wonderland us

I can’t say I recommend Wonderland Seafood from our dining experience but I had a lot of fun with the kids and my better half! That’s all that matters. :)

6 Corner, Senibong Seafood

senibong

Senibong is a seafood haven located at Permas Jaya in Johor. I was very keen to try out this place since it has a reputation for having the freshest seafood in town. The restaurant we went to has been featured in Jalan Jalan Cari Makan, a local food TV feature. It turned out to be a truly extraordinary dinner!

jetty

Kampung Senibong is situated right by the sea and and boasts a long row of restaurants serving a wide range of various aquatic creatures.

catch

Senibong itself is a village of seafood restaurants and all of them display the catch of the day – everything ranging from the relatively mundane fish to exotic stingrays.

dining

I could be mistaken but I believe most, if not all, of the restaurants are halal. This is also another attraction since my experiences with halal seafood is limited, to say the least. The seafood I’ve eaten is usually cooked Chinese style and I thought it’ll be awesome to sample Malay style seafood. :D

sea

Senibong seafood is really just a long alley inter-spaced with private jetties owned by the restaurants. I imagine that’s where the fishermen unload their catch to be sold to the eateries. It manages to balance the fine line between commercialism and a quaint village like ambiance. I found the place very warm and inviting.

senibong seafood

The lot of us descended to 6 Corner, one of the restaurants in Senibong. Dusk was just setting in and you can see the sea stretching out from the dining area.

6 corner

I was told you can even glimpse Singapore from that vantage point.

bulb

Regardless, there’s just something about the sea breeze that whets your appetite like nothing else. :)

mussels

The first dish that came out was mussels cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce. The gravy was delectable! I nearly finished my plate of rice just from eating the mussels and the gravy inside.

fish

I thought nothing could surpass that but then came the fish. It’s deep fried and cooked with Thai chilli sauce and pineapples. I’m not sure what type of fish they used but it didn’t come with a lot of bones, which is always a good thing. I sat on a table that has the fewest people, just so I could eat more of the food. smirk

fish sauce

It turns out that the fish wasn’t sufficient so I was thick skinned enough to “borrow” the adjoining table’s dish. Heh! It really is that good. Who would have thought Thai chilli sauce and pineapples would make such a mouth-watering gravy?

vegetable

This is the obligatory vegetable dish. I’m not keen on vegetables, especially when there are other more delicious fare on the table so I can’t comment on this. I ate some anyway.

egg

This is just a plain egg omelet but 6 Corner somehow manages to elevate this simple dish into something extraordinary. The seasoning goes very well with the egg and the omelet neutralizes the stronger taste of the seafood dishes.

prawns

The deep fried whole prawns with chilli dipping sauce is awesome. I don’t know what they put into the batter but it tastes great and it’s crunchy enough to eat the entire thing whole – head and all. I also like the boat dish that it was served in.

calamari

I’m more blasé about the deep fried calamari. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but the other dishes were so divine that this feels bland in comparison.

tomyam

The tom yam soup is one of 6 Corner’s specialties as well. It’s very appetizing and spicy but it came rather late in the game so everyone was pretty full by then.

crabs

Just as we though the parade of dishes was ending, there was one last encore – black pepper crabs. I loved the sauce but I was too stuffed to eat more than a token claw.

dinner

It feels like I’m heaping lavish praises on the seafood here but I can honestly say that this is one of the best seafood dinners I’ve ever had in ages. It was truly an extraordinary feast. I ate so much I think my companions were taken aback. smirk

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