The furthest I have been to in Melaka is Umbai – a town famous for seafood, notably ikan bakar. As far as I know there are two places you could go to satisfy your seafood craving here. It could be either at the older Medan Ikan Bakar (in which the Parameswara stall is most popular) or at the spanking new floating complex blessed with a nice view of the sea known as “Perkampungan Ikan Bakar Terapung“, or PIBT in short.
We decided to check out the latter for no particular reason. And no, that’s not my Kancil.
It was only 5.30pm so there weren’t many people there yet. Only a handful of stalls were operating while the rest was just starting to open up for the night. Of course, as expected there will be a few stray cats lingering around, but generally the place seemed clean and well maintained.
After surveying the options available, we chose to order from stall no.5 Enak Rasa Ikan Bakar. Like any normal ikan bakar stall, you get to choose the type of seafood you want and the cooking style you fancy. If you are undecided, the cooks are friendly and happy to recommend according to your preferences.
Being the biggest ‘New Village’ on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Jinjang has been infamously known for gangsterism in the past and common perception is that it is an unsafe area. This is most likely why the public tend to shun Jinjang and go to Kepong for food instead, even though Jinjang has plenty of cheaper eateries and seafood restaurants waiting to be discovered.
As for me, I too have been shunning Jinjang for the same reason mentioned earlier. But one day we decided to venture into Jinjang after learning there is a good seafood restaurant worth trying called Restoran Loong Grilled Fish Seafood. After seeing for myself, honestly I could say that Jinjang is not THAT bad of a place. It is quite similar to any new village you would come across like Seri Kembangan and Sungai Buloh – poorly planned township, often connected with narrow, crowded and bumpy roads. But still it is not the best place to bring a guest, especially if your purpose is to impress.
Ah Loong is quite well known for their ample supply of large crabs, which was also the main reason for us to come here. We were not disappointed at all. Although the size is still a far cry from the one we had before in Singapore, it is one of the largest we manage to find so far. If you ask me, I prefer to savor crabs in their natural flavor so I tend to have them baked or grilled with minimal seasoning.
If you like your Ikan Bakar to be tongue-numbing spicy, then I am pretty sure you would like Fend Ikan Bakar at Kelana Jaya. Before they establised themselves in a shop lot, they used to operate with a van-cum-stall and were already very popular with the locals.
Ikan keli, ikan pari, tilapia, ikan kembung and siakap are only some of the available items you could choose from. Typically, a set that comes with rice, curry and sambal cost in the region of RM6 to RM7. I think the curry is meant for those who couldn’t handle the spicy food, as the spiciness is very much toned down compared to the sambal with an appetizing and sourish taste.
Hidden behind Istana Negara along Jalan Bellamy is an array of ikan bakar stalls next to each other forming a medan ikan bakar. Despite its secluded location it gets extremely crowded especially during lunch hour. Not knowing which stall to go for, we chose Gerai No.3 that was the busiest among all.
Three huge frying pans were used to pan fry (instead of grill/bakar like the name actually implies) a wide array of seafood like fish, prawns, squids and kerangs. The sight of the ikan bakar here is simply delightful. With so many choices, you are sure to have a difficult time to decide which items to take. Just for fish alone there are a few types like ikan keli (catfish), ikan pari (stringray), siakap and ikan terubok.
What attracted me immediately when I stepped into Gerai No.3 are the larger than life sotongs, which some even as big as six inches. Coated in an orangish-red colored marinating, they looked absolutely delicious and I just got to try them. So I got one sotong for each of us along with some prawns and the smallest slice of ikan pari I could find in the pile.