Tham Jiak means in some way "love to eat" in Hokkien. I am a Malaysian Hokkien and truly love to eat.
Showing posts with label Sabah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sabah. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Gypsies Seafood Fare

Finally, my guest blogger is back in action! Some of you might still remember her from reviews from up north in Penang, as well as the few food hunts I had with her. So as we know that now she is in KL, it seems this time she brought a food review all the way from East Malaysia. Let’s see what she brings for us:

I was in East Malaysia for my wonderful year end holidays. As shocking as I am trying to comprehend it myself, it was my third time there this year. 2007 had certainly been an eventful year for me – to graduate, start working and learning to live on my own while assuming bigger responsibilities.

Anyway, it’s about time I write this post for Tham Jiak as it has certainly been awhile. I owe this post to my good friend, rokh, whom I constantly recount my interesting eating experiences with, but never blog about, because of the absence of my camera. Now that it is back with me, I hope to get back to the active blogging cycle again.

If you have been to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, you would probably have trawled the Filipino market, also known as Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market. Located along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, right across Sinsuran Complex, it is renowned for fresh, baked seafood. Anyone whose palate waters up upon the sight of fresh and baked, humongous seafood will be an instant convert when you are here.

This is probably my favourite place to have dinner whenever I am in KK. The Filipino market sells everything from handicraft to food, and by sundown, locals and tourists will have a variety of food to have for dinner.

Locals usually come here for the cheap seafood fanfare if compared to Chinese seafood restaurants. Walk further into the market and you will see make shift stalls lined up with tables and stools at the side for dine-in patrons. Inspect closer and you will notice that each stall serves an almost homogenous menu. Though that may be the situation, some stalls may have an extra item compared to the next, so do observe. A seafood fan will go berserk to see the variety of fishes, prawn, crab and squid that are lightly baked and marinated with sambal because I do whenever I am there!

All you have to do is choose the seafood that tempts you well and the vendors will proceed to re-bake them before serving them to you. Opt to have your seafood with white rice or on their own, either way, it’s an experience to savour.

My dining experience at the Filipino market stretched an extra mile when I was with my company. Like they say, eat like the locals when you are with the locals. My company who has ¼ Filipino blood in him explained that, he comes from a family lineage of sea gypsies. Living in the sea fine-tuned seafarer resourcefulness. Thus, anything edible is a gem.

It is the original sea gypsies’ recipe to have rumpai laut with baked seafood. He shows me plastic containers stacked on the tables containing ingredients I have never seen in my life. There are slimy seaweeds, one type, yellowish, the other, dark green seaweed on stalks with round buds for leaves. Both are known only as rumpai laut (seaweed), the locals treat them like vegetables to their meal but not before, a little D-I-Y mixing.

So how should you do it?

Squeeze one or two limes, shred some cili padi and pour some soy sauce in accordance to your preference, and this will be the add-ons to your concoction of seaweed. You can also choose to add on fresh/uncooked ikan bilis marinated with lime.

The baked seafood, though garnished with an aromatic blend of chilli, onions and garlic, may not necessarily exude enough taste like how it looks. So, you have them alongside your D-I-Y concoction for extra flavouring!

My weakness for seafood, particularly squid is satisfied here but most of the time, the serving is so incredibly huge, I can never finish them. Nevertheless, I find myself, wanting to go back, whenever I want to have seafood.

So, don’t miss out the Filipino market when you are in KK and do try to eat like the gypsies!
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