You won’t believe where I went to celebrate my last Valentine’s day. It wasn’t at any fancy Western restaurant nor a romantic candle light dinner. Partly because most of the restaurants in Penang were already fully booked a few days ahead. So, we decided to have a seafood feast at Bali Hai Seafood Market – a seafood restaurant along Gurney Drive. We thought that the money would be better spent on seafood than lamb or steaks. And boy, did we make a helluva good decision!
Before the showing the foods I ate, let me give you a tour of the seafoods Bali Hai has to offer.
The restaurant is big and can sit a hundred people easily. Beside the restaurant is a transparent glass where you can see all the chefs preparing your food live.
The selection of seafoods in Bali Hai is amazing. Each aquarium tank you see houses an individual seafood! Bali Hai certainly lives up to its tagline of “If it swims we have it”. I have seen some of the seafoods like spider Crab, snow Crab, geoduck on TV but I never imagined them being available in Penang.
Spider Crab, which I have always seen on Japan and Taiwan food programmes. Their limbs are so long and meaty! They don’t come cheap too.. RM25/100gm.
The Emperor Crab, so huge!
And the cheapest crab of the bunch – our very own local meat crabs. They seem so tiny to me after looking at those huge emperor and snow crabs lol.
OMG! Lobsters! OMG! Almost every table ordered cheese baked lobsters.. made me salivate like hell!
These mantis prawns are so expensive because they are of the bigger sized species which have a lot more meat. A couple of these mantis prawns would be equivalent to the price of an emperor crab already.
Fresh Water Prawn – known as “Dai Tau Ha” in Cantonese. “Dai Tau Ha” is also used to describe someone being forgetful lol.
Some of the fishes available. Honestly, I couldn’t identify any of them! Can you?
Ah, at least I know this one – grouper! I think it’d take at least 10 people to eat one grouper of this size.
These weird looking creatures which seem to have elephant trunks growing out of them are known as geoduck (pronounced “gooey duck”) Geoduck are actually clams native to the Pacific Coast. Apparently, it is highly regarded in Asia cuisines especially among the Chinese – almost same level as abalone. An eye opener for me.
Our first dish to arrive was Kam Heong Clams – RM12. It tasted good – spicy and fragrant but it was the cheap price that really surprised me.
Then came the Salted Egg Crabs – RM35, there was only one crab. Bali Hai was generous with the salted eggs. You can see that they are fully covered with salted eggs which is a good thing. So far, this was the best salted egg crab I had.
Since this is a seafood restaurant, Bali Hai’s zhap choy (RM15) is prepared using seafood too. The usual pork or chicken meat are substituted with squids and fish. And the fresh and sweet tasting fish meat made all the difference. I never thought zhap choy could taste sooo good!
Tiger fish is very difficult to find in Penang nowadays, especially the fresh (live) ones. It’s not even available in Bukit Tambun! So when I saw they have it here in Bali Hai, I ordered it immediately. Although tiger fish looks ugly and resembles nothing like tigers, it has one of the sweetest and most tender meat among fishes. It cost RM15.
Our dinner cost RM90 inclusive of two fruit drinks, 5% government tax and 5% service tax. The food alone would cost RM77 only. I think it was reasonable considering that Bali Hai is located in Gurney Drive. To see more seafood Bali Hai has to offer, do read 24hr Mom’s dining experience. She had lobster sashimi and lobster yee mee, fuyoh!!