: : Stall 25 Bukit Mata, Topspot : :
Right, pictures are finally sorted out. I hope. So, here goes.
Bukit Mata open-air restaurant is a place where you can pick and choose your ingredients. You can also tell the waitresses how you would like the food to be prepared. There are so many varieties to choose from : sweet and sour, with soy sauce, ginger, curry style, tom yam style, thai style, etc. Note that not everything will come out tasty but it’s still an adventure to find out.
Thought I’ll start with something that was still alive. This is the local crab that’s cook fresh. However, if the crab is too old, you’ll find that the meat is a lot less and that it becomes powdery. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there are eggs inside. It’s tasty!! My favourite dish is black pepper crab but you’ll need to check with the restaurant whether they use fresh black pepper or the quick sauce that comes in the bottle (which is too starchy!! yuk!!). Another popular way of cooking crab is with chillies but this is a bit sweet at the same time. There is also asam crab and good ol’ boiled crab.
These are the imported crabs. Very colourful but I find the local crab more tasty as it’s fresher and somehow, the meat is sweeter. Think it’s something to do with being in the tropics.
Right now, onto the greens! Have to stay healthy! Also, must be able to good bowel system to get rid of all the rich rich seafood eaten for the day. Left to right : Chinese lettuce, tom yau, spinach (I think). Chinese lettuce has a slightly different taste to the normal lettuce found in salads because it’s a lot juicy as it retains more water. Remember the posting on tom yau? This is how it looks like uncook. Similar taste to watercress but the stalk is firmer. Spinach is Popeye’s diet. Same everywhere. Spinach is usually cooked with garlic and oyster sauce. In fact, most vegetables are cooked with oyster sauce.
Left to Right : Broccoli, Midin, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Pineapple. Midin is actually the young shoots of fern found in swampy area/marshland. It’s a jungle dish that has become increasingly popular over the past years. That’s because it’s very crunchy but watch out for the high ureaic acid inside. Not for people with gout. Also, once cooked, the veggie doesn’t keep well. It will turn black very fast and black spots will appear as well. Great with garlic or belachan or Chinese Rice Wine (not at this stall. Remember, this stall is HALAL!). Chinese cabbage looks similarl to the ordinary cabbage except that it’s a longish shape. I know Caris has a great recipe for Chinese Cabbage Salad with Ikan Billis and lime juice.
Left to Right : Tomatoes, Carrot, Local Tangerine (extremely sour!!!), Ladies’ Finger (Okra). The tangerine cannot be eaten raw because it’s so sour. However, it goes great with any assam dish, especially Assam Fish Head Curry. Ladies’ Finger goes well with belachan but it’s an extremely sticker vegetable once its all cut up into slices. Extremely goeey but great with curry.
Left to Right : Baby carrots, broccoli, French Beans, Sweet Beans, Leek. The French Beans are the thin and flat one. The Sweet Beans are the better ones with peas inside. The sweet beans are very crunchy and yet still very sweet. Goes great with oyster sauce and garlic. Keeping it simple is sometimes the best. As for leek, the Chinese believe that this is a ‘money come’ vegetables and it also eaten during Chinese New Year to usher in more money for the new year!!
Left to Right : Bak Choi (I think), Sabah Veggie, Leek. For Sabah veggie, it’s an expensive vegetable because it has to be picked from the wild. Cannot be farm as far as I know. Goes great with belachan (spicy prawn paste) or with garlic alone. There is also the Chinese Rice wine version but not at this restaurant since it is a halal establishment. If you were to go to Sabah and ask for Sabah veggie, people will look at you in a funny way. They do not call it that but by another name although I don’t know what. If you were to order Sabah veggie in West Malaysia, it’s a different vegetable. Confused by now yet? ;p
The famous cangkuk manis!! Looks alot huh? But once cook, it’s actually not a lot. Watch out! Can be poisonous if one doesn’t know how to cook it properly. Will arrange with Granny for a step-by-step recipe for this dish.
Left to Right : Celery, Chinese Lettuce, Bitter Gourd. Yep, this is how the Chinese Lettuce looks like. It goes great with Tuna and Corn salad. Extremely tasty as it is so juicy!! Bitter gourd is just downright bitter. An acquired taste but it’s very popular as a fried dish and in herbal soup as well. Surprisingly, the bitterness actually detoxifies your body? Keeps one body pure. Personally, I like bitter gourd that is sliced thinly and deep fried. This is the way the Indians do it as an condiment to banana leaf rice servings.
Right, ran out of vegetables. Left is the quail’s eggs : a firm favourite for mix vegetables but a cholesterol bomb. On the right is ho piuo or rather, the fish bladder. It’s actually tasteless but very spongy. It’s also a bit expensive but great for soups. Yum. The bladder is usually found dried up so it needs to be soak in hot water before cooking it.
Front, Left to Right : Cockles, chuk-chuk, black mushrooms. Back, Left to Right : Cuttlefish, Squid, Sea Cucumber. Chuk-chuk is another type of shellfish whose taste is similar to cockles. I think it’s name comes from the sound that one makes when sucking out the shellfish from the shell tip. Slurp slurp! There is a technique to do this as it’s not easy to get the meat up. You can hear people trying to suck out a stubborn piece of meat from the shell. There is no other way to do this. The shell is too hard to crack except for the tip. The skin of the squid was reflecting the light so can’t it but then again, it’s nothing fancy. :p On the other hand, sea cucumber is cooked with soup but it’s not for me. Too rubbery.
Bottom, L to R : Crab, lobster. Top, L to R : more crab, anchovies. This is quite a large anchovie which can be deep fried and eating completely, bones and all. Since it’s very crispy, it’s easy to eat the bones. The lobster is great when cook in soup or a sweet and sour dish. Takes a bit of skill to remove the flesh from the thorny armclaws. Bite it gently without hitting your gums until the shell cracks slightly. Using your fingers, crack open the shell of the armclaw and gently pull it apart. Now, it’s easy to get a grip on the flesh and pull it out.
Another shot of the anchovies.
Arggghh!! Didn’t realise that they had lala until I saw the pic. Lala is the local mussels but not commonly eaten in Sarawak. However, it’s very popular in West Malaysia where the best tasking lala dishes are cooked by the Malays. It’s cook with chilli so can be very spicy depending on how much spicyness one wants it to be.
This is a picture showing the variety of fishballs that is used in the cooking.
L to R : Fish, bamboo seashells, fish eggs. The bamboo seashells are so tasty when fried with chillis or cooked with curry powder. These ones are the common ones found along the seashore. Sometimes, one can find bigger ones. Sometimes known as the monkey’s anatomy, if you catch my drift. Can’t be too open about this else no one will come to mum-mum’s.
All sorts of fish are available but better check with the waitress on what is the best cooking style for the fish. Also, check out the prices some. Some are astronomically costly, like the local terubok which has very sweet meat but very boney. But, because of it’s sweet flesh, the prices rockets up sky high. How to get rid of fish bones stuck in your throat? Easy : take a teaspoon of cooked rice and swallow it without biting it. The fish bone will stick onto the rice and will eventually go out through the ‘back door’.
This is the mantis. It taste like a lobster but flesh has more taste to it. It’s a very popular dish in Sabah and cheap there. Not here. That’s why we didn’t order it. It’s great when deep fried in butter, in exactly the same way butter prawn is cooked.
These prawns the huge freshwater prawns. See how big it gets compared to the hand? Great as Prawn Termidor. I love eating the flesh from the head but that’s where the highest cholesterol levels are found in a prawn. Oh well. Hmmm… Still, it’s simply delicious when cook in a variety of ways.
Well, that’s about it. Other than Stall 25-Bukit Mata, you can check out these other two stalls : ABC Seafood and Ling Loong Seafood. The other stalls aren’t that great so you’re not going to be missing much if you don’t go.