We wanted to have a light meal last night. We racked our brains as to what to eat and where to go. My wife Angie suggested "steamboat" and we thought that was a brilliant suggestion.
Steamboat is very healthy – no frying, everything is steamed as the name suggests or boiled. You also do not feel stuffed after the meal – I always think this is a true physical sensation as well as a mental guiltless feeling of having consumed safe food for your body.
We have had steamboat meals for as long as I can remember, including mastering the technique to prepare it at home; we had our good friends the Siew Nams (very discerning, internationally travelled diners) over for homemade steamboat dinner and they gave us top marks. This Saturday though we felt we deserved to have someone else cook for us. We drove over to Hometown Steamboat Restaurant in Subang Jaya about a 20 minute drive from our home – this is part of a chain of steamboat restaurants scattered in major cities in Peninsula Malaysia.
We have gone to this restaurant several times in the past and each time came back satisfied. Their address for visitors to Malaysia: 25, Jalan SS 14/2, SS 14, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor. The eatery was packed and there was a que of people waiting to be seated. As the pictures reveal, in a steam boat meal, your choice of soup - choices which include clear soup, fish soup, herbal soup (yuk! in my opinion) and tomyam (our favourite) soup is boiled over a gas flamed stove, in a pot on your table. You then add various items that you get to choose – these include fish balls, prawn balls, prawns, chicken/beef/pork sliced meat and vegetables.
We chose Enoki Mushrooms, Water Spinach, Fish Balls, Prawn Balls, Rice Vermicelli and Fried Tofu Skin (very dry and virtually oil-free) – our daughter Mallini did the cooking – after waiting for the tomyam to boil she added our chosen food items; it was important not to overcook the food - about 7 minutes for the fish ball, or they become too hard and about a minute for the spinach and mushrooms.
The end result was just perfect. We scooped up the food items onto our plates, with the special ladles provided and ate them with the aid of chopsticks. We loved the sweet, sour and spicy taste of the tomyam – all the taste buds were activated simultaneously. We dipped the fish, prawns and tofu in a paste made of chilli, vinegar and fried onion before eating – simply delicious. The fish balls were just perfect – the right amount of "springiness" to the bite indicating the correct mixture of flour and fish paste.
The handmade prawn balls were filled with boiled shrimp. We felt very good after the meal and even better when the bill came RM60 (AUD20) for the 3 of us. So the next time you are in Malaysia give steamboat a try – I will guarantee that your cholesterol will not rise and you will go home very satisfied.