Steamboat, BBQ Steamboat
Based on Happy City‘s popularity and their ability to offer good value for money to steamboat lovers, it comes as no surprise to me that a new branch has opened in Kota Damansara (occupying the now defunct Dragon Gate Dim Sum) to expand their business. As a matter of fact, I had been wondering when a second branch would appear ever since my first steamboat meal at Happy City Kepong about 2 years ago.
If this is your first time hearing about Happy City, just know that it is a slightly upmarket steamboat restaurant that features live seafood in their set menus. Since most seafood like tiger prawns, clams and fish are kept in the live tanks and only served at the dining table upon order, freshness could also be guaranteed.
Cheaper and more affordable run of the mill steamboat sets are also available (RM33 for 2 pax)
The special thing about Sumi Nabe‘s steamboat is their Bincho-tan charcoal-fired stove which they use as the restaurant’s main marketing tool. If you are wondering if it is effective, well I did dine here because of that. And the price seemed quite alright too considering it is only RM37 for a two person set. Usually it is around RM14.50 to RM18 per pax in Kepong area.
Here’s the imported Bincho-tan charcoal (備長炭) they use for the steamboat. It is also known as white-charcoal, produced in Japan and has great benefits like not emitting any smoke and burns longer than the usual charcoals. So it is suitable to be used in a closed and air-conditioned area. Needless to say the charcoals also contribute a good part of the sum you pay for the steamboat at Sumi Nabe.
I don’t always buy vouchers from group-buying sites. But when I do, I make sure it is worth it. Recently Groupon had a deal for Tian Siang Hui Wei – a restaurant that could be summarized as a fine-dining grade of steamboat/hot pot based on their pricing and service. I have heard a lot about them from friends who have dined there before and although all the feedback was encouraging, they all shared the same comment that it is not cheap too.
Anyway, the Groupon’s deal I mentioned earlier was that each RM50 voucher cost only RM25, which is equivalent to a saving of 50%. The catch is that it could only be used solely for food only while drinks and service charges must be paid in full. Regardless it was still a great deal and being a steamboat freak that I am, there is no better opportunity than this to try Tian Siang Hui Wei.
The restaurant looks like a proper Chinese restaurant rather than a normal steamboat place – clean, comfortable. Each diner is given a set of individually wrapped cutlery as well. Also, let me tell you about their “immaculate” service – it is quite extreme that we feel it was borderline intrusive.
At Tian Siang Hui Wei, you are expected to be seated and do nothing but pick food from the pot. I don’t know if that’s how steamboat is enjoyed back in Taiwan/China or wherever the waitresses come from, but I think part of the joy of steamboat is that you get to cook your own food at your desired pace. Here, the waitresses would help you dump everything into the pot unless you stop them. And boy do they look unhappy about it lol.
Other than that the meal was great and this is no doubt one of the best steamboat in town (if you do not consider the price factor) There are two types of soup base here – either spicy (Tain Siang Pot) or non spicy (Hui Wei Pot) like what you would have expected. We chose the latter because all of us don’t really like the spicy and numbing sensation. It cost RM35 for a pot and luckily any subsequent refills are free or else.
The reason they are charging for the soup, as opposed to most steamboat restaurants that provide it for free is that it was boiled with 60 all-natural ingredients (mostly Chinese herbs) without any MSG or food chemicals. I could vouch for that since I drank like tens of bowls of the delicious soup but did not feel thirsty at all. But make sure you consume a few cuppa of their specially concocted cooling tea later to reduce heatiness in your body.
We ordered more than 20 items from the menu so I am going to be brief and not going into detail for every one of them. But just so you know both the meat and seafood are very fresh so don’t worry about the quality. The most expensive meat we had that night was the 5 Cereal Beef @ RM48 – great marbling, tender and very flavorful.
Following a complete facelift and revamp, the steamboat restaurant formerly known as Xin Chun Seafood Steamboat Restaurant at Kota Damansara has been rebranded as Ba Sheng Zai Huo Guo. They have a new slogan too called ‘The Joy of Sharing’ that well, you know, refers to the food and happy moments shared with your companions over a steamboat meal.
Ba Sheng Zai used to look like the ordinary run-of-the-mill steamboat restaurant, open air and the tables are equipped with conventional gas stoves. Now, the restaurant is fully air-conditioned, looks vibrant and uses flat electric stoves for cooking the steamboat. The differences between pre- and post-transformation of the restaurant are quite striking if you compare them side by side.
The Silver Pomfret set @ RM53/pax (min order 2 pax) was highly recommended for dining couples, especially if you love seafood. It does sound a little pricey but that thought will go away as soon as you see the mountain of seafood given. When I first saw the set my mind went “wow, we are going to finish this?” Well, challenge accepted.
Aside from a few pieces of Japanese tofu and beancurd, seafood makes up for the rest of ingredients. And the best thing is that most of the seafood is live from their tanks (except scallops and mussels) so you can be rest assured of their freshness. And as per the standard steamboat set, some yee mee, bihun and eggs are also included as well.