I love steamboats, of any kind – be it the Japanese-styled shabu-shabu, our local Malaysian style or the more refined Hong Kong style. Then along came this “Ding Ding” style from Private Kitchen and I was intrigued. I mean, it sounds so cute and catchy… ding ding? So, off I traipsed to Private Kitchen in SS2 on one rainy Thursday and realised that Thursday is not a good day to be in that part of SS2 due to the weekly pasar malam. But since I was already there, it was a good opportunity to check out the pasar as I made my way to the restaurant – yeah, talk about killing 2 birds!
Private Kitchen used to be in Damansara Uptown but has relocated to SS2 several months ago. The kitchen is still helmed by Chef Lam Fai, a native of Hong Kong. So, according to the chef, “Ding Ding” is an area in Hong Kong that’s abundant with freshwater fish, hence the inspiration to use such fish in the steamboat here. Two choices of fish are offered: the Australian Jade Perch (RM98) or the local Red Pearl (RM58). For the steamboat, diners can opt for 3 types of broth: Fresh Tomatoes & Sweet Corn Soup, Fragrant Spicy Soup or Typhoon Shelter Spicy Garlic Soup.
We had the Red Pearl in Fresh Tomatoes & Sweet Corn Soup (which turned out to be my favourite!) and the same fish in Fragrant Spicy Soup. The grilled fish simmered away in the rectangular tray, its marine sweetness seeping out to flavour the soup even more intensely. The flesh remained tender yet firm even after being simmered for some time. It’s a good idea to polish off the fish, lift out the bones before putting in the rest of the steamboat condiments.
The Fresh Tomatoes & Sweet Corn soup became even sweeter after the fish had been simmered in it. There’s no muddy or fishy smell at all. The tomatoes gave it a refreshingly tangy edge.
For a bit more kick, the Fragrant Spicy Soup would suit a stronger palate. A separate bowl of various types of fried chillies was provided to up the level of lethal spiciness. Slices of radish and beancurd puffs were simmering in the soup with delicious wafts of coriander leaves-enhanced aroma.
We lost no time in adding the condiments into the soups. There were big fresh succulent prawns, sliced chicken and pork belly, house-made pork and shrimp balls, wantan, dumplings, beancurd sticks, mushrooms and vegetables. Of course, as the meal progressed, the flavours of the soups intensified and the umami-ness was really delicious.
If you are used to other types of steamboat where sauces are provided, this may seem a bit lacking as no dipping sauce is provided. At most, only soya sauce with cut chillies is available. The main reason is that Chef Lam believes the fresh ingredients should be savoured on their own.
So, for a touch of “Ding Ding” and some sweet fresh flavours, check out Private Kitchen.
(above HK Kitchen)
20 Jalan SS 2/10
47300 Petaling Jaya