Thursday, February 9, 2012

Halal Steamboat BBQ in JB

There are quite a number of Steamboat BBQ restaurants in Johor Bahru today that are operated by Muslims. You know... the type where you pay a single-cost per person all you can eat until your tummy is totally full and you don't waste food by taking too much on your plate because you think you can eat everything and end up not cooking the extra stuff that you took and run the risk of being charged for the excess at RM5 per 100g. So don't be greedy...

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.
To date, me and my family have tried eating at five (5) such steamboat & grill restaurants, and they are :
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Otai Steamboat & Grill at Larkin Impian, near the Larkin Stadium.RM19.00 per pax.
  4. 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.
  5. Tropika Steamboat & BBQ at Taman Setia Tropika in Kempas, near the new Home Ministry complex. RM18.80 per person.
The last one on the list above was the latest one we tried and which I would recommend. They have a somewhat limited spread of meats but a reasonable variety of seafood and shellfish. The vegetables and frozen stuff is quite varied. Both the tom-yam and chicken soup have a thick taste, not the thin watery stuff at some other places.

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

21 comments:

Al-Manar said...

In my part of the world I do not see this luxury. It will have to be have a steamboat pot and DIY at home. Of course we can get ikan bakar at a number of roadside restaurants - without any guarantee for the fish being fresh.

Aida Marie Mohamad said...

Salam,

The one in the photo is which outlet? Personally, I find grills covered in aluminum foil a big no-no for me. If the outlet is too lazy to clean the grill then it says a lot about them.

Oldstock said...

Pakcik Al-Manar,

When I was working in Dungun many years back, one of the things I found slightly lacking is the variety of makan places for dinner. After a few weeks, I had practically tried out most of the stalls and settled on a few that had decently tasting food.

On the other hand, breakfast was wonderful... nasi dagang, nasi minyok, nasi lemok, nasi kunyit... sedap belaka...

Oldstock said...

Salam Puan Aida,

The photo is the last outlet in the list. About the foil cover, I had not thought of it that way... most places in that list use them. When I stayed in KL many years ago, there was this one restaurant that uses a specially made brass grilling cum steamboat container (no foil). Forgot the name of the place. It was located within the clubhouse at Bukit Antarabangsa. It is no longer there.

Cara Lim said...

I've not been to one where there's steamboat AND bbq at the same time. It's either steamboat or bbq. We usually have the steamboat at the chinese restaurants at Kuala Ampang (opp Ukay Heights) and for bbq, it's usually Korean bbq at Ampang Utama opp 1 Ampang Ave. Unfortunately, both are not halal.

Oldstock said...

Cara,

The newest halal steamboat/bbq outlet I went to in KL was Seoul Garden in Festival City in Setapak. Very nice place and quite a large spread too. Must be a bit expensive... I didn't know because someone belanja lah :-)

book seller said...

salam, nice blog...pertama kali singgah.... :)

Oldstock said...

Salam my dear book seller. Selamat datang, terima kasih :-)

Papa-NtiQ said...

i still prefer seoul garden though...

Oldstock said...

Papa-Ntiq,

Seoul Garden is nice... kalau orang lain belanja :-)

Papa-NtiQ said...

haha..kelakar Oldstock...btw TQ for your comments in my blog panjang lebor citer pasal history of kacang pool...skrg u keje bidang apa. Yours truly kat international petrochemical company as a manager
c ya

Anonymous said...

Tropika steamboat ni buffet ke? Berapa charge per person? Tak de website ler.

farzana said...

assalamualaikum...i just wanna ask that if the Tropika Steamboat is a buffet? i was thinking bout bringing my family there to celebrate something but im thinking bout steamboat restaurant other than seoul garden,johnny and all so if u could please reply me ASAP...thank you very much! :)

Oldstock said...

Alaikum salam Farzana,

Yes, Tropika Steamboat is a buffet.They charge RM18.80 per pax. Try calling this number for more info -> 013 741 2474. Hope you have an enjoyable time.

Anonymous said...

YOU ALSO CAN TRY ANOTHER HALAL STEAMBOAT AT RESTAURANT LAGI BEST STEAMBOAT & BBQ. YOU CAN FIND IT AT NO 31, JLN SASA 4, TAMAN GAYA ULU TIRAM JOHOR. PRICE FOR ADULT IS RM 18.50 PER PAX AND FOR CHILD 5-12 IS RM 9.00 PER PAX. THE OWNER AND STAFF IS ALL MUSLIMS. YOU CAN TRY IT FIRST.

Oldstock said...

Anon@12:53,

Yes, I have tried Lagi Best Steamboat at Taman Gaya some time ago, for buka puasa. Ok jugak la...

jvBuyer KL said...

Try stimbot kat Shabu One, Lot 10. Byk seafood, meat & veggie kat situ. Halal food. No non-halal. Skrg ni ada promo RM20/pax .. kalau nak tau lebih lanjut gi kat www.jvbuyer.com.my .. carik deals Shabu One ..

Anonymous said...

hai, may i know which one of all restaurant in your list is " all can eat " means all we can eat with the price giving?

Oldstock said...

Anon@09:09,

All the restaurants listed are `all you can eat'. But please note this post was done quite some time back so the price might have changed a bit. Also I discovered a few more steamboat buffet places since then. Maybe I'll do an update of the list later.

Qiss RainbowSeeker said...

Salam...
Before I start my question, I want apologize if I wrong...
Are you sure the restaurant have halal certificate....?
And are you sure all the worker are muslim...?
Last time I had my dinner at Rawa Steamboat and few day later I try to recommended to my relative and I was shock because they said tht restaurants is not halal even they not sale non halal item...
And the worker is orang asli...
But I saw mostly the customer is wearing tudung and and we can see they are muslim...
Plz help solve my problem...

Oldstock said...

Salam Sdri Qiss,

Thank you for your questions. Firstly my apologies for the delay in response because I've been away from blogging for a terribly long time. Secondly, I had not thought a fairly old post (almost 2 years) would still generate some interest. Since then, I have been to a few more of such steamboat places and should actually try to post an update to the 5 places mentioned here. In fact, some of those mentioned in this list have gone out of business.

But your questions are very pertinent and I'll try my best to answer them. The issue of `halal' certification is a hotly discussed topic in a Facebook food group of which I am a member and I'll take some pointers from that forum to share here.

Ok then, here goes...

Q1. Am I sure the restaurants have halal certificate?

A1. No, I am not. So how do I determine that they are halal? I look at whoever is running the business. If I am confident that the owners are Muslim, then yes I'll have my meal there without any reservations. Is this assessment equivalent to a certification from JAKIM or any other relevant Muslim authority? Of course not. The establishments I have recommended here are your normal eateries run by small family-owned enterprises, not very much different from any other daytime restaurants or gerai makan that do not carry any formal certification whatsoever. The Halal certification process in food manufacturing or preparation is actually a voluntary exercise but its impact is huge. Perhaps we can elaborate on this aspect in a separate discussion.

Q2. Am I sure all the workers are Muslim?

A2. No, I am not. The only way to be sure would be to ask each worker to recite the syahadah, but I am being extreme... sorry about that. But judging from their physical appearance and the way they speak, I would say that they are.

On your next point about Rawa Steamboat (which does not appear on my list), I can understand your predicament because I have been there. Rawa, when I last checked, also does not carry any halal cert... but the certification becomes an important point because the owners/operators of Rawa are not Muslims. Still, this does not prevent Muslims from eating there, right? So why this is so? Again, maybe we can discuss this at a different time.

I do not intend to be able to solve your problem, Sdri Qiss. But I do hope that whatever makan place that I recommend in this blog to be halalan toyyiban, wallahu aklam. Thank you for dropping by and commenting.

P/s - if you are on Facebook, try to look for the Johor Sedap page.