I have been to a number of these places, some of which I discovered from food blogs while some were simply spotted while driving past a particular place. These restaurants are typically located in shophouses in the many new housing areas that have sprouted all over JB city. They are of budget standard... not to be compared with the likes of Seoul Garden but good enough for a simple family dinner if you have kids with huge appetites.
Making comparisons among the many steamboat restaurants is quite easy really... because they all fall under the concept of own cooking and grilling. I judge them on the following aspects :
- The spread and variety of the fresh and frozen food selection. This normally consist of the customary meat cuts (beef, mutton and chicken), seafood and shellfish (fish, prawns, squids, crabs, mussels, cockles), vegetables (kailan, cauliflower, bell peppers, kangkong) and the yong-taufu stuff (bean curd, fishballs, meatballs, crab-sticks etc.). Most places offer some form of noodles and rice vermicelli. Plain rice and fried rice are also normally available.
- The tastiness of the broth. Most places nowadays offer two types : tom-yam soup and chicken soup. They now have boiling pots with two compartments so that you can have both soups.
- The choice of drinks. Generally the drinks on offer are two or three types of squash-cordial drinks. Some offer carbonated drinks dispensed from those fizzy machines. Most places offer hot drinks but at extra charge.
- The choice of sauces. The good restaurants offer three or four tasty homemade sauces.
- The seating arrangement and general restaurant layout. Since the cook-your-own-food concept will involve a lot of walking to and fro the food counters, a good layout would be very convenient, especially when the dinner crowd is large.
- D'Terrace BBQ Steamboat. Located at Jalan Md Amin in the Kolam Air area of JB. RM20.90 per pax, the last time we went there over a year ago.
- Kapten Steamboat & Grill, located in a new shophouse block near the State Education Department at Jalan Tasik Utara. When it first opened last year, they charged a fixed price per person. Nowadays they charge based on a fixed set menu, which sort of takes away the fun.
- Otai Steamboat & Grill at Larkin Impian, near the Larkin Stadium.RM19.00 per pax.
- Steamboat & Grill Cottage at Taman Austin Perdana, not far from Sultan Ismail Hospital in Pandan. The published price was RM17.50 per pax, but when I paid the bill I noted the hidden charge of the wet towels added to the total.
- Tropika Steamboat & BBQ at Taman Setia Tropika in Kempas, near the new Home Ministry complex. RM18.80 per person.
Actually, the thing that make me like this place has nothing to do with taste. It's the crockery... they use quality Claytan stoneware plates and bowls. Most of the other places use cheap melamine plates which get deformed when exposed to the heat of the grill stove. Bent and distorted plates really take away a lot of the good impression of a restaurant.
If there is a single minus point that I may say of Tropika Steamboat is that they only have two sauces ; a homemade black pepper sauce and a commercially produced chilli sauce. Perhaps when I have become a regular customer of this place, I might drop a hint or two to the owner.
Okay then.... that's my post for `Another Good Makan Spot in JB - Part 5'.
|The boys do most of the grilling|
|Coolers where the foodstuff are|
|Stove placed on a thick marble tile to protect the table|