意槟情 Yi Bing Qing Fish Head Steamboat

You know, I hardly venture into Georgetown these days. Actually, I hardly venture in Georgetown at all. There are actually tonnes of delicious food and restaurants to be discovered there, much more than Bayan Lepas (where I am living in). But the jams in this capital city of Penang can be brutal, sometimes as bad as those jams in KL. To make matters worse, there is that minor issue of parking spaces. You can hardly find parking spaces wherever you go to in Georgetown. Now you know, traffic jams and scarce parking, either one of them would already be a deal breaker for me and deter me from hanging out in some places under normal circumstances. Both of them happening together? I swear I’ll tear my own face off if I have to deal with them regularly.

Which is why you only read about those wannabe cafes and restaurants in Bayan Lepas in my blog most of the time. Because, much as I loathe most of them, they are the only places I go to for my outside meals most of the times. Only once in a blue moon would I venture into Georgetown, when there is a gathering of some sort and my friends all suggested so-and-so for dinner.

This blog post comes from one such gathering a couple weeks ago. The so-and-so for this time is a steamboat place called 意槟情 Yi Bing Qing Fish Head Steamboat.

This restaurant operates out of a rather small shop lot on Nagore Road, the street adjacent to New World Park. That’s a good thing for parking. If you cannot find any parking spots near the restaurant, you can always pay more to park at New World Park’s car park and take a 10 minutes walk to the restaurant. (New World Park is a relatively new alfresco dining area with different sections for cafes, fine dining restaurants and food court)

Because the shop lot is small, the restaurant has limited seating capacity. And this restaurant is actually highly popular, so it is always full. To dine here, you actually need to call them and make reservation a week in advance. I came here twice before, without reservations, and both times I had to leave disappointed. This time, we finally did the smart thing and got a table reserved.

Okay, the food. Since this is a fish head steamboat restaurant, you should know by now what we are going to eat here, don’t you?

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Steamboat

But if you are worried about having to deal with fish head and all those bones, fret not. The soup base is cooked with fish head, but they are served to us without it. It will just be the soup with some other herbs. Of course, they don’t just offer fish head soup, there are a few other types of soup base which you can choose. But then, that would not be the smart move, obviously.

How this works is you order the soup base, and a bunch of ingredients that you want to go with the steamboat. According to the friends, their homemade meatballs are amazing. I agree.

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Some of the ingredients, meatballs in the middle

Another amazing thing according to the friends is their yam rice. I agree with this too. It was very flavorful and packed with yam chunks.

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Yam rice

They also offer a range of freshly brewed beverages. I ordered the 腐竹薏米 fu chuk yi mai (dried beancurd skin with barley). It was wonderful too. Actually this is one of my favorite beverage of all time. The beancurd skin was cooked till dissolved and the resulting drink is thick and delicious.

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Iced fu chuk yi mai

Tsk, I was trying to capture a photo of my drink, but my camera’s smart features switched the focus to my friend’s baby boy instead. See how eager he was. Baby boy can’t wait for the soup to be ready too.

As with every other steamboat, the standard operating procedure is the same. Wait for the soup to boil, then throw in the ingredients, then wait for the soup to boil again, and that means your food is ready.

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And then you start eating and forget about the camera. Seriously, it’s true. Steamboats are the only dinners that consistently make me forget about my phone and my blog after the first round of food is served.

Actually, this place does not need any more publicity. They are already doing great business as it is. You need to make reservations in advance, remember? They are almost on par with Jamie Oliver’s or Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurants in this regard. Not the Michelin stars dining experiences, but the reserving in advance thing.

Still, here’s their Facebook Page with contact details for those who are interested…

26 Comments

  1. Yam chunks in rice – that must be a very filling bowl. So no surprise the portion looks rather small. Sausages in steamboat? I think only Malaysians do that 😀

    • That’s because we’re special. But seriously, what’s wrong with sausages in steamboat? I also do sausages in instant noodles! 😀

      • Nothing with sausages in steamboat. I’ve never seen Australians eat sausages with steamboat or with salad or fried rice. Here sausages are eaten by itself or with bread, and that is fascinating to me and how its eaten in Malaysia 😀 We’re certainly special 😀 😀

        • I think what happens in Malaysia is that we use sausage as poor man’s smoked bacon. Both are flavored meat to give extra kick to whatever it is we are cooking. 😀

  2. I never liked steamboat when I was a kid. It’s different now, I am all for steamboat! It’s fun chucking stuff into the soup and then fishing them out again 😀

    • Really quite fun. The only downside is every time after a steamboat meal, your clothes will smell wonderful. 😛

  3. Fish head steamboat must be nice, because of the soup.. Usually, when I eat fish head bihun, I don’t order fish head, I order fish paste, easier to eat ma.. I only fancy the soup with lots of evaporated milk.. I guess your steamboat fish soup must be really really flavourful towards the end of the meal..

    • It is not exactly healthy food though. There’s some serious soy sauce and spices going into the rice LOL!

  4. I love steamboat and often eat this with my wife over any slightest occasion we have!
    I also bring guests to slowly eat and chat when they visit KL. Recently there is a new craze for tomato soup steamboat and the crowd is crazy! Yours gave me a fright that needs a week’s reservation ahead. I love any fish head noodles here esp the soup. My wife always shook her head looking at how patient I could nibble their fried fish with bones.

    • If you come here, you would need to specially request for those fish and bones. Their soup are just soup, they don’t add the fish head inside when served.

  5. no wonder you need to make reservations the “michelin star” style, because according to RG everything is nice there!! and yes, I can see the fish head soup is white and you did not mention about milk, so that’s naturally white?? must be so flavorful then~~

    • I’m not sure if there is milk or not. I didn’t ask. But it didn’t taste like the usual milk fish head soup though… 😐

  6. Looks like you love the meal there. Somehow I don’t like to eat steamboat outside so I avoid it at all costs until I was forced to go by friends or inlaws. Dislike having to wait for food to cook and having to wait for food to.cool down and also sometimes ignorant people will put their utensils into their mouth and also into the communal pot of soup. Yucks!

    • Tsk, that’s the Chinese way of eating what. We have been doing it for a few thousand years without much problem (nothing that we know of), so it is probably fine. Don’t think too much la 😛 …

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