“Have you ever been to steamboat?” Voon asked me one day. Steamboat? I’d never heard of it before so answered with a negative. “We definitely have to take you then,” she enthusiastically replied.
Well, it turns out that steamboat wasn’t as adventurous as I anticipated. It is the Malaysian equivalent to hot pot- or shabu-shabu-style cooking. In this interpretation, each person gets his or her own small pot of soup instead of sharing one large pot in the middle.
There were several different types of soup ranging from mild to spicy and flavored with shoyu or other ingredients. The pot is placed on a burner in front of each person, and then you turn the heat on to make the soup boil.
As the stock is simmering, you can order different meats from the server or select vegetables, fishcake and other delights off the conveyor belt of goodness. The meats, when they arrive, will be raw, just as the other ingredients are. When the soup is at a boil, you plop in your selections and let them cook in the stock.
The mixture of ingredients seasons the stock, and the more you add, the better it’s supposed to taste. For added deliciousness, there are different dipping sauces you can use on the side. Being Malaysia, many of these are of the spicy variety.
Voon and Beng took me to a place called Shabu Shabu, and some of the things I tried in my soup were fishcake balls, beef, chicken, lamb, mushrooms, choy sum, seafood dumplings and other miscellaneous ball-shaped things. Despite not knowing what these balls were made of, everything was scrumptious and I gorged like a pig.
The steamboat restaurant charged by the person in a buffet-like style so you could eat an endless amount if you could fit it into your belly. Also included in the price were drinks and desserts. For dessert we had ice cream. Any day that ends with ice cream is a good day for me.