Located along the Malacca Strait, the state of Selangor has access to rich fishing grounds and, consequently, has become a seafood destination for weekenders from Kuala Lumpur. Our introduction to the local seafood started with a cooking challenge at The Kabin Hotel, a new boutique beach hotel constructed from container vans located at Pantai Remis (Remis Beach). Tour participants of the Eat Travel Write Selangor Culinary Adventure were first split into groups of three. The challenge started with a scavenger hunt for the ingredients, recipe and tools buried somewhere in the beach. With the aid of a smartphone app, we searched for the buried items and brought them back to the hotel. We found all three items: fresh oysters, gloves and a recipe for spicy pineapple oysters served with caramelized pineapple slices.
Here’s the recipe for you to try at home:
Spicy Pineapple Oysters with Caramelized Pineapple Slices
3 fresh oysters
3 slices pineapple slices
3 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of minced onion
For the sauce:
1 small stalk of cilantro
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of tabasco sauce
1. Open and separate the oysters from the shells but keep the shells for display later.
2. Heat the butter until it melts.
3. Put in the pineapple slices and sauté until slightly brown, then remove from the pan for garnish.
4. Saute the onions until brown.
5. Put in the oyster flesh and cook for 15 seconds over high heat until the sides of the oysters curl a little. Remove the oysters and place them on half shells.
6. Add in all the sauce ingredients and cook for five minutes.
7. Spoon the sauce on the oysters and set them the caramelized pineapple slices.
8. Garnish the dish with cherry tomatoes and fresh cilantro.
It was tough opening the oysters, even with Chef Afiq Abdullah, a local restauranteur, teaching us the proper technique in opening the shellfish with a butter knife while wearing a pair of gloves. After getting through with this hurdle, it was somewhat smooth sailing for us, as our team carefully followed the cooking instructions in the recipe. We were one of the first teams to finish. Chef Afiq later judged our dishes and our group emerged in second place – despite our slightly burned pineapple slices. Now I know how it feels to be on Master Chef!
Another destination to savor seafood in Selangor is Sekinchan, a small town in Sabak Bernam district now known for its high-yield rice farming but actually began as fishing village in the 1920s. One of the best seafood places in town is Seri Sekinchan Seafood Restaurant, which specializes in Thai and Malaysian cuisine.
Here, our group had a wonderful feast of seafood dinner that consisted of fried squid, fried prawns, cockles and sweet-and-spicy ikan siakap (barramundi). There was also fried chicken and stir-fired vegetables with mushroom. The dishes were mildly seasoned, a welcome break from the hot and spicy Javanese cuisine we enjoyed during the rest of our tour.
Seafood dishes can also be enjoyed at the food court in Pantai Redang (Redang Beach). Inspired by our enthusiasm during the cooking challenge, Chef Afiq Abdullah invited us to try his fusion cooking at his food stall, De Serai Café (Tel. +60 17 2382182 or +60 11 28128299), before our group returned to Kuala Lumpur on the last day. We sampled his new dish of seafood tom yam pie, which was a Thai sour-and-spicy soup with mussels served in a bowl covered in a baked pie crust. It would be intriguing to see what the experimental chef will cook up next.
This blog post was made possible through Eat Travel Write Selangor Culinary Adventure, a media trip held last June 11 to 14, 2015 in Selangor, Malaysia. The event was organized by Tourism Selangor and media coordinator, Gaya Travel Magazine.