This place doesn’t need any more publicity, nor any introduction, especially among crab lovers. Crab lovers from far and wide make a beeline to this humble looking restaurant every night – the place is packed all the time. During weekends diners hog the tables as early as 5pm and if you go after 7pm, you can be sure all their bright red plastic chairs will be occupied. Tucked in the depths of Pandamaran, this restaurant is located beside a Chinese temple and next to it is actually another restaurant, a rather quiet one.
People come to Kali Little with one objective in their minds: Salt-baked Crabs. Almost every table has a platter of this. Although they do serve their crabs in other ways, the salt-baked option is the most popular. When our plate of 4 huge scarlet-hued crabs (each weighing 700g) was served, I thought they were rather plain looking. However, looks can be so deceiving.
Once the top shell is removed and the white-fleshed crustacean is exposed, I could sniff the unmistakable aroma of smokey marine sweetness. The salt-lined shells may taste a bit salty at first but once you bite into the soft tender flesh, the saltiness seems to disintegrate into it, flavoring the crabs in the tastiest way!
No chilli dip is served with the crab and rightly so, as I found myself totally enjoying the pure unadulterated sweet taste of the crabs with no distraction. At RM65 per kg, the big fat crabs are pretty good value.
Next to the baked crabs, the Salt-baked Prawns are also expremely popular. Price is seasonal. The plain looking huge prawns hid the big flavours that explode in your mouth when you bite into them. Succulent, juicy and very umami, these prawns are to die for.
Other seafood dishes are available besides crabs. The Clams in Superior Soup (RM28) are served in a claypot with lots of ginger and chilli padi floating in the broth. The clams are slippery and chewy at the same time and the soup, despite its fire, is quite addictive.
A unique dish here is shelled crayfish – we had this cooked in a ginger paste (RM40). The crayfish pieces were very fresh and sweet; the texture is similar to mantis prawns. The thick ginger paste smothering the crayfish was so good we had to order plain rice to mop it up.
Fish served here is always very fresh. If you crave for something to warm your stomach, the fish head claypot soup is an excellent choice. We had the Long Tan (giant garoupa) head and the huge pot of simmering soup was more than enough for our dining group of 6. Ginger strips, spring onions and coriander leaves lend their aroma to the sweet soup. We paid RM85 for that pot of soupy goodness.
On another occasion we tried the Steamed Garoupa Teochew-style and the medium-sized fish (about 700g) was served in a big metal tray with its broth covering the fish. Salted vegetables, tomatoes, tofu and ginger were strewn generously over the fish. The broth was very tasty with just the right levels of tartness and moreish from the fresh garoupa.
If you must have meat in a meal, the Deep-fried Pork Belly (RM18) is a good non-seafood item to balance the meal. Marinated with red fermented bean paste (“nam yue”), the crunchy slices of pork belly hit the right notes with us.
A must-order item is their Lala Meehoon (RM9 for Medium portion). The mini lala is used for this fried meehoon which is tossed with dark soya sauce and executed with lots of “wok hei”. The strands of meehoon have a tinge of smokey caramelized flavor clinging to them – this is what probably makes this meehoon dish their signature noodles.
Kali Little Restaurant
89 Jalan 2
42000 Port Klang
Opening hours: 5.30pm-12.30am