Zi Wei Yuan is quite a mouthful in name, but wait till you get a mouthful of their steamboat. It was a big spacious place. The shop was extended outwards to provide the space. It was adorned with typical Chinese red - red steel structures, red lanterns, red curtains, red blinds. Thankfully the tables and chairs were spared.
Despite the gaud, it was really a very pleasant place. There were lots of empty tables when we arrived there but as we progressed through our meal, the place gradually filled to capacity.
The highlight of their steamboats is fish. The other goodies in the menu are add-ons. There was a choice of fried fish or grouper. We opted for the former.
They used the traditional charcoal pots.
Strictly charcoal. No gas, no electrical stoves.
The only "modern" appliance was this battery operated fan to stoke the flame.
This was the soup in its original form. In it was the fried fish that we had opted. There also was abundant vegetables.
More interestingly, there were pieces of fried yam. They certainly added flavour to the soup, which was sweet and tasty even without the array of food that we were going to put in.
The pieces of fried fish in the soup were fresh and delicious.
Besides the fried fish, we also ordered a plate of grouper. They were super fresh.
These were pork belly strips. I made sure they were not overcooked.
Good size prawns that were also very fresh.
Fish and meat balls.
Sotong. One of my favourites, especially the "janggut" (tentacles).
Pork tripe. I love them for the texture. Particularly delicious in steamboats.
This was fried fu chuk (腐竹- bean curd skin).
This was listed in the menu as abalone slices. It certainly tasted like abalone. Very nice indeed. But I seriously doubt if it was genuine abalone. The slices were big. A dish of such a big abalone would had costed a fortune. It definitely was a seafood. I just wonder what kind of abalone wannabe this was.
Quail eggs. These are supposedly very high in cholesterol. But recently readings told me that eggs are good for us and should not be a cholesterol concern. So I had them without any guilt.
Another of my favourite - fish maw.
Tong ho (唐蒿- grand chrysanthemum) is a popular vegetable for steamboat. But they shrink in the soup. They are not expensive. I wonder why they could not serve a bigger portion.
The steamboat in this place is apparently very popular amongst the folks in Butterworth, Prai, Penang and as far as Sungei Petani. I can see the reason why. It was very good. The soup, although looking murky was very tasty. The ingredients were very fresh and of good quality. I enjoyed the meal totally.
Happy New Year 2015.