Steamboat, to many, may be a tedious kind of meal. The main grouse would probably be that you have to cook the meal yourself, at the dining table. And you may have to put up with some hot waves of air from the boiling pot of broth and the cooker too… on top of having to cook your food! Some people avoid steamboat because well, the food gets kinda monotonous here because most of the stuff we have are made from fishpaste – a variety of shapes and sizes, but basically, fishpaste is the core ingredient.
Me – I love steamboat for its simple and healthy connotation. Everything is cooked in boiling soup, so there’s no excessive oil… and everything is eaten fresh as soon as it’s cooked. How much healthier can that get?
Spoonfuls of crabmeat + salmon + tobikko; prawn fritters and fried organic mushrooms
When Jeannette Han invited a group of friends over to try out her Hongkong-style steamboat at Elegant Inn in Menara Hap Seng recently, I was fortunate to be included. While we sipped cocktails and nibbled on the delicious appetizers on the patio overlooking the city, Jeannette explained what Hongkong-style steamboat is all about.
Live Irish Rock Oysters
For starters, the soup based used in HK-style steamboat is usually flavoured simply. No heavy stock is used – it’s usually a light chicken/meat soup. The focus is not on the soup and the soup should not overwhelm the freshness of the main ingredients to be dipped in it. We had 2 different types of soup for the steamboat: simple superior pork bones soup and chinese parsley + century eggs soup. By the end of the meal, the flavours from the fresh ingredients dipped and cooked rendered the soups totally nutritious and delicious!
Oh… and the dips are different too. There’s none of the pungent sambal chilli sauce type. Instead, you concoct your own dip from a selection of chopped spring onions, chinese parsley, garlic (both fresh & fried), superior soya sauce, fragrant fried shallots oil and for that added fire, some chopped chilli padi and chilli oil.
In Hongkong-style steamboat, fresh meats and seafood form the main servings. We had platters of fresh prawns, crabs, scallops, live Australian mussels, marinated chicken fillet, US Snake River Farm Kurobuta pork, fish maw, Australian organic beef, watercress dumplings…
Marinated chicken fillet and own-made pork balls (none of the commercial types!)
Slices of organic Australian short rib beef
US Snake River Farm Kurobuta Pork Loin
Plump Watercress Dumplings
And fish… oh yes, the fish! A whole live sea garoupa…
Just look at the clear eyes and luscious lips – signs of super freshness… no doubt about that – it was swimming just moments before!
I was careful not to overcook the slices of garoupa fillet – just dip them into the boiling soup for a minute or so and they’re done just right – pure sweet succulent freshness.
The fish head, fins and bones – oh no, they didn’t go into the soup. The chef had better use of them – they were lightly battered & deepfried with salt and pepper, resulting in the crunchiest chunks of these…
This was such a hit – we devoured every yummy crunchy bit of that plate!
Cubes of soft powdery yam – they are so good for steamboat!
We loved these Nachos – you can eat them just like this – crispy – or dip them for a few seconds in the soup.
These are made from beancurd skins smeared with a thin layer of fishpaste and then deepfried. Actually I can munch on baskets of them without stopping – they’re just so darn addictive!
Of course, no steamboat meal is complete without vegetables…
Tofu puffs from Bentong, organic mushrooms, imported HK-wood fungus, sweetcorn, soft silky white tofu & baby “lai pak” vegetables
What a spread we had! By the time all these were dipped and cooked in the soup, we didn’t waste any of the super-delicious soup – we dunked in some noodles and slurped everything! There’s something about those smooth, slightly-spongey noodles that made us slurp every single strand of it. Do remember to ask for them.
No meal in Elegant Inn should end without one of my favourite desserts… perfect Sesame Balls…
If you want a taste of the freshest foodstuff cooked lightly in naturally-flavoured wholesome soup, this steamboat will be available in Elegant Inn this month. Do call them to make prior booking if you want a taste of authentic Hongkong-style steamboat.
2.01 2nd Floor, Podium Block
Menara Hap Seng
Jalan P Ramlee
50250 Kuala Lumpur