Time to feature another oldie but goodie in Nibong Tebal. Located right by the main road, this zi char restaurant (a restaurant serving a variety of Chinese food meant for sharing) is popular with both locals and tourists. Long waiting times are expected during peak meal hours as this place is family run - parents do the cooking while their children are at the front of house.
They offer a relatively limited repertoire of dishes and only serve the freshest catch of the day. Let's taste if it's really quality over quantity.....jom makan!
Seafood Porridge (5/5)
Their iconic porridge is prepared Teochew-style, with the individual grains of rice still intact. The broth packs a ton of flavours from the fresh seafood, preserved Tong Choy (preserved chinese cabbage), and a variety of aromatics such as ginger, scallions, and cilantro. There's even a subtle hint of peppery bitterness from the addition of Tong Oh (Chrysanthemum leaves).
Since we're offered a choice of fresh mud crabs, flower crabs, prawns, fried or fresh fish, or assorted seafood, we ordered two versions of the porridge : Mud Crab Porridge and Dau Chior (Chinese Silver Pomfret) Porridge.
It's not hard to understand why the Mud Crab Porridge is their best-seller. The
huge and meaty crabs were bursting with sweetness and even had crab roe! It really can't get any better than this.
The fresh Dau Chior had extremely delicate flesh and did not taste fishy. If you're lazy to deal with crustaceans or fish bones, then this fish is a good choice as it's known for being easy to eat - even for children!
Fried Kembung Fish (4/5)
This humble fried Mackerel dish is a popular local staple. The fish is fried to the right degree - crispy on the outside and still moist on the inside. Finished with a splash of soy sauce and lime juice, it's a winning combo when enjoyed with the porridge.
Steamed Lala (4.5/5)
This signature clams dish is prepared with generous amounts of garlic, cili padi (bird's eye chilli), and lime juice. The Lala was so plump and juicy that it made me question the quality of Lala I have been eating all these while in KL & PJ. The light and refreshing flavours are dangerously addictive and I might have accidentally finished half a plate myself!
Boiled Octopus (5/5)
They also serve the iconic boiled octopus with fragrant shallot oil. Wonderfully fresh and tender, the sweet & sour sauce with crushed peanuts complements the dish perfectly.
"Dry Fried" Prawns (5/5)
This dish is similar to Cantonese "Har Lok" but cuts back on the sauce. I've never tried anything quite like this but the simple cooking style really allows the sweetness of the fresh prawns to shine through. Not to be missed if you love prawns!
e decided to forgo the usual leafy greens and try a new vegetable dish. The sweet & salty fragrance of tau ceo (f
Bitter Gourd with Egg (4/5)
We decided to forgo the usual leafy greens and try a new vegetable dish. The sweet & salty fragrance of tau ceo (fermented bean paste) and spiciness of the ginger gives a good balance to the bitter gourd. The smooth eggy sauce should remind you of a delicious plate of Wat Tan Hor (Cantonese Hor Fun). If you're a fan of bitter gourd, make sure you give this dish a try!
Overall a hearty meal with a touch of home-cooked deliciousnes. Their prices are reasonable for large portion sizes and extremely fresh seafood. Even if you tend to avoid porridge due to the typically mild flavours, this version should not be missed. Just remember to avoid peak meal hours especially on weekends if you are hungry!
Sabbylicious Makan Rating
Food : 4.5/5
Price : 4.5/5
Environment : 3.5/5
Service : 4/5
Must order : Porridge (any type of seafood), "Dry Fried" Prawns, Boiled Octopus, and Steamed Seafood. Bitter gourd is also worth a try if you're a fan of this vegetable.
Operating Hours Wednesday - Monday (11.30am–2.30pm; 5.30pm–9.30pm). Closed on Tuesday.
Restoran Law Cheang Kee
1962, Jalan Che Ahmad, Taman Sentosa, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Pulau Pinang