With so many restaurants around in KL, sometimes it’s hard to decide where to eat… a real big headache. We have to host dinner recently; hubby and I were enlisted to think of where to go… ouch… as usual the task will be bestowed upon me! Urrghhh… so this time, hubby gave me a huge task indeed, to go somewhere special, unique and different from the normal Chinese fare. Sighhh… headache man!
Anyhow, we debated and finally got round to this North Ocean located in Selayang. Actually we’re not going to North Ocean as the main criteria per se but more like to shop for fresh seafood direct from the tank before heading to North Ocean to chow down! Located next to North Ocean Seafood Restaurant is Jin Chwan a seafood supplier. Many years ago, they started off with many tanks selling all sorts of exotic (read expensive) fish and shellfish (king crabs, mantis prawns, geoduck etc). Shoppers can opt to bring them home or else where to have them cooked. Otherwise, you can tell the seafood you’ve bought to either Chef Tam across the street or North Ocean next door. Before we managed to try Chef Tam, they’ve gotten big and shifted to Sunway. I’m not sure if they’re still around or not cos I heard business wasn’t that good over there. We find North Ocean is not too bad plus service is pretty good too.
We got there first with my parents and boiboi in tow. I think it’s his second visit there but since he’s older now, he’s more expressive now. He went away with all his “wows” after going thru the introduction by his daddy, tank by tank of various fish and shellfish. I guess he was excited and amazed with so many tanks around him. I forgot to bring my digicam down from the car, hence no photos of Jin Chwan’s tanks. The place is clean and no fish smell can be detected (I have extra sensitive nose hehe). There will be someone around to serve you. All you need to do is tell them which fish you want and for how many pax it should serve. They then fish them out from the tank and place into rectangular bucket. Actually you can also point which fish you want and they’ll fish it out for you too. Next, they'll weigh the buckets and place bar code stickers on the receipt and buckets.
This round, we did not picked any fish since we almost always order a fish dish for our meal. We picked huge mantis prawns and razor or commonly known as bamboo clam (much larger than those small and thin bamboo clams one usually find in restaurants in town) instead. They don’t come cheap either… RM198 and RM98 respectively! After paying for them, we instructed them to send over to North Ocean.
Once we seated, the captain came around and took my Jin Chwan receipt from me. Then he recommended ways to cook our goodies. We chose Jiu Yim (salt bake?) for the mantis prawns and steamed razor clam with garlic. Also in the order list were a bean curd dish, chicken and vegetable.
First one up was this lovely plate of bean curd dish… well I can’t remember what’s it name in Cantonese but it’s deep fried homemade bean curd cut into rectangular blocks cooked in a delicious sauce which tasted of oyster sauce and black beans (dau si in Cantonese). Other ingredients detected were garlic, spring onions, sliced meat and some red chillies. It’s a huge plate for RM22 and there were 9 adults and my boiboi. My boiboi and I liked this one… he kept asking for more! The dau si impart a lovely flavour to this dish.
Next up was the chicken with chestnut that came in a claypot (RM28). Hmmm very yummy too!!! It’s basically braised chicken with chestnut and slices of garlic, ginger and spring onions gave a fresh flavouring to this dish. The sauce is superb with white rice.
We have lai pak (almost like pak choy but with stems that are shorter and fatter) stir fry in garlic. I liked the crunch in lai pak, which seems to be the current rage in vegetables replacing xiu pak choy.
Wooohoooo these razor clam are really fresh and was superbly steamed by North Ocean chefs. Loads of chopped fresh garlic and ginger topped with fried garlic once it’s done. We have to eat them fast as it won’t taste good when it’s cold. In China or Hong Kong, these clams are known as zhing tzi (errr Cantonese for the scrolls or orders directed from the Emperors). We were charged RM30 for the cleaning and cooking job. Wahseh, so expensive huh the garlic and ginger hehehe…
When this plate of mantis prawns came, my boiboi stood up and said he want that. Hmm he usually doesn’t do that but maybe the prawns looked really appetising to him. Baked in salt I think or maybe just a quick deep fried in the wok. My boiboi is very impatient even though we told him it’s hot and his hand reached out and grab a piece which he quickly drop it as it was really hot. I can’t imagine his next action was to pick up his piece of serviette and grab one of the prawns with it!!! So dang smart kids these days! Anyhow, it was still too hot but he bite into the shell slowly but surely he can’t eat the flesh hehehe silly fella. Managed to coax him to pass on the prawn for us to remove the flesh for him. I guess this prawns were given 2 thumbs up. The price to clean and cook them was RM28.
We were really stuffed by the end of these 5 dishes. The captain came and asked if we wanted any dessert. He said they’ve lovely mango that day but we declined. My mom joked with him how come no complimentary dessert like mixed fruits platter, he smiled and we were offered FOC (free of charge) tau foo far (a type of soft bean curd usually eaten with white or brown sugar syrup) in brown sugar syrup. Hahaha it pays to have thick skin. Nothing to shout about though but who's complaining??
We paid RM296 for the seafood at Jin Chwan and RM182.70 at North Ocean. A rather expensive affair but we all agreed it has been a wonderful meal. All tummy satisfied haha…
Syarikat Pengedar Ikan Jin Chwan
9 Jalan 2/4, Taman Bidara
Selayang, 68100 Batu Caves
North Ocean Seafood Restaurant
10 Jalan 2/4, Taman Bidara
Selayang, 68100 Batu Caves
Tel: +603 6120 1778