steamboat dinner

It’s a home steamboat dinner over at my better half’s parents!

kids steamboat

The kids are having a lot of fun…shoveling in all the fish balls, meatballs, and stuff meant for the steamboat. They really enjoyed dumping *everything* in at once! smirk

cheesy meatballs

She cooked a wonderful meatballs with cheese casserole that I’m still eating with a baguette.

kfc noodles

I didn’t cook anything, so I brought a bucket of fried chicken over from KFC.

bacon chinese

This is really awesome “bacon”. I’m going to call it Chinese bacon! Haha! It’s thickly sliced pork belly that my dear bought straight from the factory. It’s cheaper than bacon too!

chinese bacon

The stuff cooks well in a steamboat – it’s like shabu-shabu, just a couple of swishes in the hot water and it’s done.

steamboat

Quail eggs, noodles, family and fun!

steamboat us

This is a photo the little one took of us, which I really liked! My favorite photo of the day. <3

coca

The first thing that springs to mind when Coca is mentioned is a particular plant cultivated in certain parts of South America. However, that is not the Coca that will be reviewed in this post. ;) This Coca is the steamboat franchise. My first experience with Coca is in Kuching, which Andrea, the Marketing Manager who invited us, said was under different management.

coca 1u

I went with Yiling to the outlet at 1Utama. There are two outlets in Klang Valley – one in 1U and the other in Subang Parade. I recommend going to the second one – Andrea gave us the lowdown on the difference. The latter is larger, with live aquariums and fresh seafood from said aquarium. I hear the ambiance is better too.

interior

However, I found the ambiance at Coca Restaurant, 1U to be quite pleasant too. The interior is dominated by hues of red (a color which can either cause arguments or create passion, depending on who you listen to), which is also the corporate color of the franchise. Andrea gave us a warm welcome when we stepped in and ushered us to our reserved table.

promo

Coca is having a promotion on their steamboat set menus. It starts from RM 98++ for 2 people and includes:

Appetizer:
Deep Fried Fish Paste

Steamboat:
Tiger Prawns (200 grams)
Jelly Fish
Stuffed Squid
Chicken Ball
Chicken Fillet
Fish Glue
Coca Foo Chock
House Special Dumpling
Chinese Cabbage
Morning Glory
Tofu
Green Noodles
Eggs

roselle

Yiling had the new Roselle Flowers d’ Juice (RM 12.90), which actually has the edible flowers garnishing the tall receptacle, as well as a slice of lemon. She opted to substitute the water with soda water, which made it effervescent and very thirst quenching. I love the pitchfork to stir the drink – it’s very novel, the other end is a small spoon. A spork of sorts! =D

I ordered a jug of beer, which Yiling doubted I could finish. She should know better coz she’s seen the way I drink in Ipoh. I offered to pay for the beer, but Andrea would have none of it – cheers for the great hospitality! :)

I’m sure I don’t need to put photos of the jug of beer up – you know what it looks like anyway, unless you’re living in Afghanistan or something…in which case you wouldn’t have net access anyway. ;)

buffet

Coca Restaurant also has a buffet promotion where you can have unlimited appetizers from the buffet line. We checked out the appetizers on offer and it’s very well presented, hor d’oeuvres style with a lot of them on spoons and such. Check out the succulent prawns in the foreground! I like the miniature Coca steamboat in the middle too – it’s little touches like these that shows attention to detail. They are also going healthy – substituting yogurt for coconut milk in a lot of their cooking.

prawn

Anyway, back to our Coca Experience (TM) we were served Tiger Prawns stuffed with fish and prawns for the appetizer. The crustacean is a bit tough with a fearsome carapace but a tiny fork is more than adequate to get at the succulent flesh inside. The fish and prawn mixture works very well, creating a fusion of flavors that is greater than the sum of its parts.

pandan

The second appetizer we were served is the Pandan Chicken. It’s tender chicken wrapped in pandan leaves and the cooking process retains all the juicy and moist goodness of the chicken. It’s almost melt-in-your-mouth!

service

The steamboat was ready after that and the best thing about Coca Restaurant is the excellent service. The waiters help you with everything – doing it the Proper Way (TM) – first using the broth to loosen the ingredients before carefully putting it into the steamboat. This is a very nice touch, and different from other steamboat establishments.

steamboat

We went for the mixed steamboat – one side is Tom Yam soup and the other side is chicken broth. I like the Tom Yam soup better as I have a love of all things spicy, but I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the chicken broth too. It’s very flavorful with hints of real chicken essence, unlike the watered down Oliver Twist soup-without-bread version that some other establishments serve.

tom yam

This is the Tom Yam soup version.

cute

I just love this photo of Yiling. She looks so cute! :)

chicken

This is the chicken broth version.

spinach

Memorable dishes in the RM 98++ set meal are the spinach noodles, jellyfish, and the house specialty dumplings. I’m not a big fan of tofu so I can’t comment on that.

dessert

Andrea was kind enough to furnish us with a plethora of desserts – the most remarkable being the Fresh Mango Pulut with Durian (RM
23.80). It’s absolutely sinf
ul. It’s fresh mangos sliced into manageable pieces, served with glutinous rice drowned in coconut milk and a side of durian puree. The durian puree is to die for! It has a creamy texture with heavy notes of the King of Fruits and an orgasmic aftertaste. I even ate the durian puree straight from the cup; it’s just that good.

coca us

It should be noted that a lot of the items here (e.g. some appetizers) and desserts are not included in the RM 98++ steamboat promotion for two. Those items came courtesy of Andrea. Thanks a great dining experience! :)

sauce

P/S – The best thing about Coca Restaurant is their secret dipping sauce. It’s so closely guarded, the sauce is imported in from Thailand and no one knows the exact ingredients. Secret recipe. I like.

mountain house hotel

A trip to Cameron Highlands would not be complete without the obligatory yin yang steamboat dinner, since the ambient temperature and wind chill factor can be pretty cold at night. We went southbound to Brinchang instead of Tanah Rata but it turns out that both towns were equally packed with tourists.

organic steamboat

There are a lot of places offering steamboat dinners, most of them yin yang style – so called due to the two different broths and the similarity to the symbol of good and evil. We went to Restaurant Mountain House Hotel, which offers “organic” steamboat priced at RM 16 per head.

yin yang

The yin yang steamboat comes with seafood, tofu (urgh…), noodles, rice vermicelli, assorted super processed food, and homegrown vegetables. Cameron Highlands produces a huge amount of fresh, organically grown vegetables, so it’s really cheap there…which is probably why we got an ultra generous portion of veggies.

noodle trick

The yin yang steamboat consists of a chicken broth and a tom yam broth – it’s usually a mild broth with a spicy broth, keeping with the themes of absolute good and absolute evil. Exhibit A above shows the patented sixthseal.com method of ensuring your noodles are cooked.

1. Use your chopsticks to snag some noodles.
2. Apply pressure to the noodles with your fingernails.
3. It needs to be slightly soggier than al dente – you’ll get a feel for it (pun not intended) the more you do it.

It was originally invented a good 17 years ago by yours truly, intended to gauge whether instant noodles are ready to eat when I started cooking Maggi at 10. :)

me doris steamboat

This photo is making the post look dated – I went to Cameron Highlands with my ex last month, but never got around to posting it until today due to a massive backlog of posts. Quickly switching subjects, the vegetables in Cameron Highlands comes in the most vibrant shade of green I have ever seen!

no veggies

Nooooo….no more veggies!

hornbills corner cafe

Hornbill’s Corner Cafe is a popular steamboat eatery. The steamboat
at this place is not just the soup bowl kind, but the type with a hot
grill flanking it, as is the norm nowadays.

hornbills steamboat

I went there with six other friends for dinner and I liked the
buffet style food layout where you take a plate and pile it up with
whatever strikes your fancy from the many food option areas:

hornbills seafood

There’s a seafood counter with whole fishes in a variety of
marinates as well as other seafood fare like cuttlefish, squid, clams,
crabs etc.

hornbills meat

The meat counter has beef, lamb, chicken, pork and other more esoteric fare like liver, gizzards and so forth.

hornbills balls

There’s also all kinds of balls, pardon the unsavory association.

hornbills greens

There’s even a vegetable counter where all sorts of greens are
available. There’s also fruits like watermelon. I was surprised at the
sheer options this eating establishment provides.

hornbills sauces

The requisite sauces are also provided, as well as butter for
cooking on the hot plates. There’s also spare utensils for the clumsy
ones amongst us…I swear I dropped my chopsticks four times that
night…

hornbills ice cream

Finally, there’s also an ice cream bar where you can something sweet to finish off your meal.

This place is usually very packed and business is very brisk…food
gets eaten at a rapid rate and it’s only replenished several times
before they close for the night. The way it operates is that your plate
is tabulated transparently when you go to the food counters and you get
billed at the end of the meal.

hornbills table

What I mean by this is that, it’s not a buffet ie eat all you can
for a set price, but rather, a self service steamboat where the waiters
unobtrusively adds to your bill when you stock up on food. I find that
this is a good system because all this is done transparently. [Edit: My mistake, this establishment is a buffet style bbq steamboat for a set price.]

hornbills fish

I loved the place, the ambience is wonderful and the food is great. Do try their marinated whole fish. It’s delicious!

hornbills crabs

The crabs are good too. Steamboat and beer…mmm…

hornbills raspberry ice cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

hornbills join us

Join us!

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