Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prawns, Prawns, I Love You*

the gorgeous dry fried soy sauce (kon cheen) freshwater prawns from Tanjung Tualang

*Prawns, prawns I love you with an aching heart. What is your future, now we have to part? Standing on the jetty as the fishing boat moves away, crustaceans of Malaya, I cannot stay. (adapted from the classic song, Rose, Rose I love you)

1. Prawny beginnings - Freshwater prawns @ Restoran Lung Seng, Tanjung Tualang, Perak

1. Kellie's Castle, 2. deep fried soft shell crab, 3. fried paku pakis with belacan

Journeys always seem to go faster especially when you know there's something fantastic down the line such as the ultimate freshwater prawns dinner at the infamous Tanjung Tualang. When we all piled into the car in Shah Alam, some tummies were growling already, in anticipation for the ultimate feast of 6 large freshwater prawns per person, cooked in 3 different ways.

our bucket of 30 large freshwater prawns, plucked from the tank

We got a little lost taking the more scenic route to the Tanjung Tualang but we did get to drop by the famous landmark, Kellie's Castle, snapping pictures of the half completed "castle". Once we reached the small town of Tualang, locating the restaurant among the many others (some looked so commercial and big) took a little time but eventually we got to the small unassuming restaurant. Having taken Precious Pea's advice, I had called in advance to book all our prawns making sure, we had a ready supply.

healthy oats + freshwater prawns = crunchy and yummy (but not so healthy!!)

Straightway, our prawns were plucked from the water tanks that front the restaurant and sent to the kitchen. Within a few minutes, the kitchen started churning out the dishes - the crunchy and not too spicy paku pakis with sambal and the deep fried soft shell crabs. Unlike the flour battered version, these crabs had a coating similar to what you get with KFC chicken. Nevertheless it was still yummy stuff (gone in 60 seconds I reckon) especially dipped in a sweetish chilli sauce.

1. quick let us escape, 2. ready to start, 3. look at that creamy roe

Our prawns quickly came after we polished off the first dishes. The first and we all reckon (the best one ever) is the kon cheen version - dry fried with just soy sauce and spring onions. Super finger licking good, you have to take time to slowly lick the large shells coated with the delish sauce. The prawns were so bouncy and fresh with loads of creamy roe - eating each one is sinfully good. Not wanting to waste the sauce, we ordered a bowl of rice to mix it with the sauce.

goodness gracious me! the ultimate butter prawns laden with deep fried egg floss

Next it was the butter prawns, which came topped with a mountain of shredded egg floss. "It's not shredded coconut," the lady boss warns us when the dish hits our table. Super yummy, the prawns are fried till you can crunch and swallow the shells. The super fine egg floss with curry leaves is delicious eaten on its own. Equally good but (definitely not healthy), were the deep fried oat prawns. While all of us are usually more used to the healthier oats we eat for breakfast, this crunchy version tasted good and very sinful (probably with all the oil it absorbed).

ultra sweet steamed crabs with egg white

Last but not least, was a plate of 2 crabs steamed with egg white. I especially loved drinking up the soft egg white infused with the juices from the crabs - a very delicate but sweet taste. Even the crabmeat here seemed to be sweet and nicer than the bigger varieties we usually get in Kuala Lumpur. Completely satisified, we continued our journey on with full tummies to Penang and vowed to return for more freshwater prawns. By the way, before coming here, Lots of Cravings and Black Tie White Lie had no idea this place I reckon they know better.

Lung Seng Restaurant
10, Jalan Besar
Tanjung Tualang

Tel: 05-360 0735

(Open from 11.30am-9pm. The large prawns are RM65 per kg. Call ahead to book especially during weekends when they're fully booked. See Precious Pea's previous blog post on this.)

2. Prawn in the middle - Mantis prawns mixed with prawns char kuey teow @ Ah Leng Char Kway Teow, Jalan Dato' Keramat, Penang

The ultimate char kway teow or not???

No visit to Penang is complete unless you have eaten loads of char kway teow - charred rice noodles, fried to perfection with loads of Chinese chives (ku chai), bean sprouts, eggs and prawns. Just before we bid the island goodbye, we managed to squeeze some time to sample this infamous char kway teow - labelled as the ultimate luxe version with mantis prawns, large prawns and the creamy duck egg.

Costing RM9.50 per plate with duck egg, expectations were a little high probably due to the price and sadly it felt short. While the plate was laden with goodies to make a crustacean lover fall to their knees, the noodles seem to lack the requisite "wok hei" - that breath of wok and charred goodness we love in our char kway teow. As the tables and chairs were placed far away from the stall, it was a little hard to spy on how they did their frying but maybe the addition of the mantis prawns and prawns into the noodles, just gave out too much juices that made it a "wetter" plate of noodles. One unique thing we notice about this stall, they seem to like to place the fried noodles on one side of the plate. This we reckon is for the server to hold the plate on one side without contaminating the food with his greasy fingers.

Ah Leng Char Kway Teow
Kafe Khoon Hiang
Jalan Dato' Keramat

3. Tis the end, my darling prawn - curry prawns around Penang (near some river, somewhere)

We're on the road to nowhere...near the river with boats, bridge and fishing rods's a secret hideaway somewhere up North. Prior to going this place, we took an oath of secrecy among all of us, to protect this place from others. Tucked near a river, this small Chinese restaurant seems to cater to a special clientele who know how to call them up and book the best and freshest ever large prawns.

1. packed with people, 2. super fresh steamed fish with brown bean sauce, 3. refreshing ice

Everything here is super fresh, arriving in plastic bags straight from the river where you can see Malay youths fishing for the prawns. Literally eating them straight from the river, the prawns are juicy and bouncy brimming with goodness. Unlike other places that steam it, they do it a little differently here - coated in a thick curry sauce that you mop up with old fashioned Benggali bread. The curry is not too pungent, slightly spicy but so delish that you will end up wiping the plate clean with the steamed bread. I also loved the steamed fish here, topped with a bean sauce that was not too salty.

the perfect way to end a great trip...slurplicious curry coated freshwater prawns

Even though we ate enough prawns to wipe out the a tiny chunk of their population and probably increase our cholestrol levels by tenfolds, I reckon we won't hesitate to this again and again. Hopefully, we'll meet dear prawns! For more prawni-ness, see the Flickr set for the high cholestrol trail of no return.


thule a.k.a leo said...

Precious Pea - Queen of Crab!!!

Boolicious - Queen of Prawn???

UnkaLeong said...

Looks like a trip to remember :D What was the damage for the 30 prawns?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I still have wet dreams abt the prawns we ate.

Precious Pea said...

YUMMYYY!! The kon cheen the best right??? I am gonna have this when I come back.

boo_licious said...

thule - me not qualified to be a queen. Maybe a peon??

unkaleong - sorry, didn't pay the bill as we paid one lump sum but I only remember the per kg price. However it was definitely way cheaper than what we get here in KL.

LL - ooooh, I was drooling so hard over these prawns pixs that I knew I better process them quickly.

Madam - thxs for the great recommendation! Damn good stuff, am still thinking how to get someone to take me there again for a day trip.

Tan Yee Wei said...

Wow i love photo of the prawn in the tank "let me out". The turquoise background is striking.

eiling lim said...

wow. I'm so tempted by the juicy prawns! yum yum

J2Kfm said...

wui?! what oath of secrecy? ahem ahem ... trade for some heong peng? =P

anyway, back then when we went Lung Seng, we never knew it's the best amongst all. since tucked in the middle of a row of shops, it's practically hidden, compared to the more prominent corner lots.

sugar & spice said...

The prawns look simply divine. Very tempting indeed.

Volvoxx said... made me 'gian' makan prawns! Omg haven't had big delicious sweet prawns in...forever!!! x.x

J said...

oh my. I think there are cholesterol alarms going off in the background wei....

(Mmm... A "once in a while" binge is ok, right?)

msihua said...

Hola.. OMG.. I love prawns!!! I want to go Penang too!!! *sigh*

Tummythoz said...

No fair. Penangites shd be privy to ALL delicious hideouts. So where's that small Chinese restaurant? Huh? Huh? Huh?

thule a.k.a leo said...

speaking of Tanjung Tualang... my friend who is a regular prawn eater told me that the best place to eat those prawns are not in the town.
He knows someone who literally cook in his own kitchen and serves you. His house is located somewhere near the river... and he will take me there when I go there once again

HairyBerry said...

i just realised that we started and ended with prawns!!! lurve the "dry-fried" prawns at lung seng! and the curry prawns! my hands had the curry smell even the next day! haha!

foodbin said...

Kon cheen prawns my fave too-esp with good Soy sauce-heavenly!

Rebecca Saw said...

oh yes, the steaming hot soft roti benggali are the best no??

They do a steam prawns with garlic thts absolutely heavenly if only i can rmbr how to go there...yeeshhh...

jesscet said...

The most unforgettable prawns i've ever eaten was from this coffee shop (maybe the one u ate at?) in Tualang my dad brought me many years ago! The steamed prawns (pak chuok) was SOOO fresh and tasty!!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

My Malaysian boyfriend had always contended that Malaysia easily has better food than Singapore. I've had a few vehement arguments with him over this... I should be careful that he does not get to see your site lest he would feel superior all over again...

New Kid on the Blog said...

uh?? ah leng CKT has now increased to RM9.50??? and it has lost its wok hei??

email2me said...

The curry prawns from Nibong Tebal is really da bomb!

Your cholesterol meter climb rapidly after you clean the plate. But who cares. It is so delicious till you forget everything. Visited this place long time ago and haven't write about it. XD

Cindy Khor said...

loads of people that i've known are all addicted to prawns, they just absolutely can't live without it (including myself). i always like the butter prawns best. curry prawns are delicious too.

Chefspiration said...

Hey there just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the kreativblogger award as I love reading your blog!

Ciki said...

queen of prawn or pawn or porn..?! (haha, dont even ask fbb to pick for her la.. :P)

excellent shots.. looks like the trip started off damn well hor.. how u guys manage to drive up north on that full stomach after, beats me:)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

aiyah u said it all..looks like my prawniness post will got to wait..

PureGlutton said...

Looking at the prawny pics alone is making my cholesterol level shoot up!

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