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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…