As we are counting the days to Malaysia Day, let’s count the blessings our homeland has bestowed upon us. This time around, food-wise. Malaysia is one of the countries to be blessed with beaches in almost every state, and a harmonious big family of different races and ethnicities to call our relatively small piece of land, home. But what do these have to do with seafood? Let’s do the math.

Beaches, equal access to the sea, for every state? That means no one misses out on fresh seafood! A multi-racial and multi-ethnic community? We can only offer 1001 different kinds of dishes to enjoy our seafood with! Talking about food always makes me (or any Malaysian I’m sure) stoked, but where do I even begin…

Seafood platter Malaysian style. Source: Gourmet Hunter KL

When visiting a seafood buffet, one can get an array of colours from the dishes: from spicy red, crunchy golden brown, to creamy yellow goodness. Us Malaysians aren’t hard to impress. Typically, we enjoy a simple seafood grill or boil and pair them with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.

Boiled mussels with dipping sauces. Source: donna.com.my
Grilled fish. Source: pergikuliner.com

Other times, when we feel like going the extra mile, we’d cook up a whole dish for the family, either for a normal family dinner, or for a special occasion. My personal favourite? Sambal udang petai and gulai lemak ketam cili api (prawns cooked with red chilli paste and petai, and crabs drenched in a creamy, spicy broth)!

Suggestion: Medan Ikan Bakar Muara Sungai Duyung, Melaka

Scenic view at Medan Ikan Bakar Muara Sungai Duyung. Source: tripadvisor.com

Strategically situated at the west coast, Melaka is well-known for its seafood scene. Ikan bakar or grilled fish is one of the many of locals’ favourite, and Medan Ikan Bakar Muara Sungai Duyung is often the go-to when the craving strikes.

Address: Jalan Padang Temu, 75050 Melaka

Contact no.: +60 12 636 2339

Operating hours: 4.30 p.m. – 11.30 p.m., daily

Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant, Sabah

Sabah is second to none when it comes to seafood. If you ever get the chance to visit Kota Kinabalu, head to Kampung Nelayan Floating Seafood Market Restaurant, a unique floating eatery situated on the lakeside of a botanical garden.

Dry butter prawn at Kampung Nelayan Floating Restaurant. Source: hellosabah.my

Address: Taman Tun Fuad, Bukit Padang, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Contact no.: +608 8231 003

Operating hours: 11.30 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. (lunch), 6.30 p.m. – 11.00 p.m. (dinner)

Other times, when we feel like going the extra mile, we’d cook up a whole dish for the family, either for a normal family dinner, or for a special occasion. My personal favourite? Sambal udang petai and gulai lemak ketam cili api (prawns cooked with red chilli paste and petai, and crabs drenched in a creamy, spicy broth)!

Sambal udang petai and gulai lemak ketam cili api. Source: rasa.my

Here in Malaysia, one can have the best of both seafood worlds: the wallet-friendly, by-the-beach hawker stalls, and the exclusive seafood platters in air-conditioned restaurants or hotels. Being in the city centre won’t hinder you from finding a good spot for that fresh seafood craving!

Selections at a Malaysian seafood restaurant. Source: vkeong.com

Most of Malaysia’s seafood restaurants will welcome you with a grand entrance of split aquarium tanks, with a pair of tongs and baskets so you can hand-pick your choice of seafood, and simply request on how you want them cooked. Fancy a more peaceful ambience? Head down to cosier cafes or our finest hotels where you can comfortably choose from the menu, whether it’s a seafood platter or just a simple main dish. My personal favourite straight from the menu? Soft-shell crab paired with mantou bun! What a duo.

Suggestion: Meet & Dine, Selangor

Soft-shell crab with mantou bun. Source: Eat Drink KL

A modern-day café that serves East-West cuisine, and not limited to just seafood (but look at that plate of soft-shell crab!). Come for the elegant ambience, and come again to tick all the selection off the menu!

Address: Budiman Business Park, Bandar Sungai Long, Kajang, Selangor

Contact no.: +603 8733 9929

Operating hours: 5.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m., daily

When it comes to food, Malaysians are quick to innovate and keep up with the trend. From the usual local dishes to seafood steamboat, our local seafood scenes are not exempted from fusion cuisines. Although our traditional recipes hardly involve cheese, the younger locals sure love to add cheese to everything. So, cheese and seafood? I don’t hate it!

Source: 33 Seafood

Another trend we’ve picked up is none other than the ‘shell out’ experience! A combination of seafood cooked in your favourite sauce, spread on the table to be enjoyed bare-handed with family and friends. Pair them with bread or rice, neither can go wrong!

Suggestion: Shell Out Malaysia

Seafood dining shell-out style at Shell Out Kota Damansara. Source: The Garden NOM

Creating its prominence in the urban seafood scene, Shell Out has expanded its franchise to 7 outlets in Klang Valley. Visit their website to check out their menu and the outlets near you!

Don’t feel like going out, but not in the mood to turn on the stove either? Malaysians have a solution for everything. Presenting our beloved Sarawak delicacy: umai (pronounced umei). A special seafood ‘salad’ that cooks itself!

Take out your choice of seafood from the fridge (e.g. fish fillet, prawn), defrost them while you prepare the rest of the ingredients: onion, red chilli, shallots, ginger, and lime juice. Mix everything, and let the lime juice do its magic! The acidic nature of the lime juice will cook the seafood in a matter of minutes. Season with some salt and/or sugar (whichever fits your taste buds) and garnish with some coriander leaves and ground peanuts for an extra kick.

Prawn umai. Source: kuali.com

Talking about seafood has me famished… What else is there to say? I guess to put it simply; when it comes to seafood, Malaysians are spoilt for choice!