Written by @Lan (Photos by curiostraveller.com)
Thought of the day-“Food is a great way of communicating.”-Jan Karon
(Muslim Friendly Restaurant in Kota Kinabalu City, Sabah, Malaysia)
Kota Kinabalu city is abundant with Seafood Restaurants. While each is uniquely different, the newly-opened Fish Market Restaurant at Warisan Square is proud to be the first to introduce Sauna Steamboat in North Borneo, a pioneer, so to say, in giving the customers a new dining experience. Gone are the days when Steamboat fans in Kota Kinabalu need to heavily depend on their ‘Tom yum Soup’ to boil their preferred seafood items. They now have the choice to consume seafood items that is cooked in healthier method.
Fish Market Restaurant is located inside on the ground floor of Warisan Square Mall. It’s indeed a strategic location in a prime area and giving that convenience for diners to come to this restaurant. Visitors staying in Hotels nearby will find that the restaurant is in within walking distance. Taxi stations are all over the place. Locals on the other hand will have easy access to many parking lots inside and around the mall.
The restaurant can accommodate up to 450 customers at a time. There are 2 types of dining area, one is the common dining hall and the other one is VIP Rooms. The VIP rooms are open for customers that spend RM500 or above and it’s on first come first served basis. It is possible to organize smaller events in this restaurant.
Most of the dining tables are for 10 person with few meant for 4 diners. Duo diners may not fret as there is no problem for the restaurant to accept small number of diners. There are quite a number of VIP Rooms and such rooms ensure privacy for diners. Customers opting for Sauna Steamboat will have one designated staff to address the preparation, cooking and serving process.
We’ve been here and we ate here. We have no doubt at all that this restaurant is Muslim Friendly. Muslim customers should have no worries as pork is not served in this restaurant. The seafood items are in the aquariums, alive and fresh and not of frozen products. Opting for Sauna Steamboat perhaps will give that confidence to Muslim Visitors as the food are freshly cooked in front of them without the use of any ingredients, even salt, MSG or cooking oil!
There are many Muslim Staffs working in this restaurant and Muslim customers may personally ask for their advice. It;s not Halal Certified but it use 0 ingredients in the Sauna Steamboat cooking process thus eliminating all that worrying thoughts among Muslim customers.
Dining Choice-Healthy Cooking
Customers may opt for ala carte or Sauna Steamboat. For both choices, customers can choose their desired seafood items from the aquariums. Choose from different types of fish to prawns and many more. The ala carte menu is extensive and suggest various types of cooking style for your preferred food items. Fish Market Restaurant gets its daily seafood supply from trusted and reliable supplier. This is to ensure that the seafood is the freshest before its being cooked.
We were made to understand that Fish Market Restaurant offers wholesome food with healthy concept through its Sauna Steamboat. The sauna steamboat’s cooking process does not require any use of Salt, Sugar, MSG and Cooking Oil. Such cooking method emphasizes on nutritious, delicious and tasty food, creating healthy dishes that has less fat.
There are two layers in each sauna steam pot. The first layer, which is the surface of the rack is to place the food items chosen by customers. The second layer, which is the bottom pot is for the porridge.
When customers have eaten all their chosen preferred food items that are cooked on the upper layer, it’s time to consume the porridge. The porridge on the other hand has already absorb all nutrient and delicious flavor from the food being previously cooked on the first layer.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the Restaurant Supervisor, Mr. Yap Yee Khong. He was the person who personally became the Captain for our table. He prepared, cooked and served all the food using that Sauna Steamboat. While doing that, he explained in details about everything that we need to know. He’s indeed one amazing staff that is so knowledgeable.
Mr.Yap offered us this delicious Calamansi (Calamondin) Juice. The juice had both sweet and sour taste produced from that blended Calamansi. It’s mixed with Asam Boi or Dried Sour Plum and that already gave that pungent taste (in a good way of course!). The juice is available in either single serving (in a glass) or in a big jug. We had both servings as it’s quite amazingly delicious!
Mr.Yap then showed to us the interesting cooking process using that Sauna Steamboat. For the benefit of future customers/diners, we will be showing the steps one by one.
The pot itself was preheated until it’s properly steamed and good enough to start with the cooking process. We were lucky as our table was equipped with the transparent cover and that gave us the opportunity to see what’s going on inside (the top layer).
There is this small control panel to adjust the temperature and desired timing during the cooking process, fret not, the staff will do it for you if you come here. We did not even touch that small panel, it was the Captain (Mr.yap) that did everything for us.
Mr.Yap started the process by opening up the upper layer. There’s some liquid/water in that pot, not that much but enough for cooking the porridge.
Mr.Yap poured the rice into the pot.
He then added all the compulsory fresh ingredients which were crab, chicken feet and clam (as shown in the picture below).
He gave a good stir to ensure that all ingredients are evenly spread. The next thing he did was closing the pot with the upper layer/rack. If you do opt for this Sauna Steamboat, you will be eating that porridge after you have done eating all your preferred food items (that will be cooked on the upper layer). For us, we chose about 11 items (as shown in below images). Mr.Yap helped us to cook all of em’!.
Wild Greasyback Prawns and Baby Lobster..
Red Grouper and Corn Fed Chicken
Deep Sea Clam and Beef Ball
Cuttlefish Ball, Signature Prawn Ball and Sweet Corn
Mix Vegetables and Assorted Mushrooms
We were informed by Mr.Yap that although customers may opt for lesser number of items, it’s advisable to choose quite a number of items as that will help to further enhance the flavor of the porridge that is being cooked in the pot/bottom layer.
This is an example how the Deep Sea Clam is being cooked inside that Sauna Steamboat and after 3 minutes or so the cooking process is completed!
Another example on how the Prawns were cooked for us, 3 minutes and that’s super fast. Note that no ingredients are needed for the cooking process. No salt, MSG or sugar are needed, retaining that natural flavors from the seafood itself.
Delicious Baby Lobster!
Even the vegetables retain the nutrients as it’s only being steamed for a while and not to be added with any whatsoever ingredients. Though without Salt, MSG, Sugar and Cooking Oil, the vegetables still taste delicious and great, still with its crunchy texture!
The staff or Captain will personally serve the cooked food on your each of your plate (even if the diners are 10 pax in total!). He or she will diligently spread the food evenly as shown in the picture above.
Customers may opt to eat the cooked food directly or dip em’ a bit into their preferred dipping sauce, making it from the readily available condiments such as chopped Garlic, cut Bird Eye Chilies or that aromatic and delicious Chili Flakes Oil. There’s even light soy sauce available to be added to the ingredients in the rack. Mr.Yap told us that it’s best to eat the cooked food in two ways, with and without the dipping sauce. “First, try to eat it as it is and then have another one and dip it into the sauce. That way you get to taste the differences” he said.
When everything is ready, all that you need to do is to eat the cooked food and enjoy that moment as we did.
The finale of the dining experience was that we were served this delicious porridge. Remember the various kind of food that were cooked on the upper layer/rack? Well, all that natural flavors actually being absorbed by the porridge and that way it gives that natural flavors, eliminating the need for Salt, Sugar, MSG or Cooking Oil. The porridge we had all that natural sweetness and salty taste.
To conclude our dinner, we were given this delicious and sweet Pomelo or Limau Bali (In Malay Language). Serving the Pomelo is an initiative by the owner to have different fruit as dessert, not serving the same Watermelon or Papaya as in other restaurants. The Pomelo are produced locally in a district further south of Sabah, named as Tenom.
We enjoyed the moment during this particular dining experience. There is nothing that we don’t like about it. Everything, each tiny details, about the dining experience were truly awesome. It’s kind of opening gifts during Christmas Day, we were given multiple surprises each time our Captain (Mr.Yap) unveiled the way to cook each type of food. Having one dedicated staff to helped us arranging things from scratch was truly one different dining experience. For such an amazing dining experience, we recommend this restaurant to all of you. We have no doubt that this restaurant is worth to visit and if you do come, try their Sauna Steamboat, the first in North Borneo!
Fancy having the same experience? Visit:
Fish Market Restaurant
C-G-01, Block C
Ground Floor, Lot 1 Warisan Square
88000 Kota Kinabalu
Tel: +60 88 252255 (Restaurant)/ +60 16 810 4889 (Mr.Alan Voo)/ +60 16 833 3575 (Ms.Angeline Johnny)
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Website: Click HERE