High Speed Steaming Steambot @ Zheng Xian Ge (蒸鲜阁) Restaurant, Vantage Desiran Tanjung, Tanjung Tokong
If you are looking for the latest trend of steamboat with your friends, look no further for Zheng Xian Ge Restaurant at Vantage Desiran Tanjung at Penang.
Different from the conventional steamboat boiling and dunking method, food is cooked by high speed steaming in a specialized instrument at Zheng Xian Ge Restaurant. The process of steaming a particular dish takes typically 5-8 minutes, thus allowing a window period between each dishes. Diners could well utilize the time to relax the stomach, or just chit chatting and catch up with friends.
There are a few advantage of steaming on the nutritious and health part:
1) As no oil is involved, therefore no extra fat is being introduced to the food
2) The heat sensitive vitamins and minerals are retained
3) Minimizing cross flavors
4) Ensuring the seafood is tasted in its most original ways
Remarks: Thanks to Zheng Xian Ge Restaurant for extending the food review invitation
As a matter of fact, this type of high speed steaming steambot has gained inroad into Penang last year at Golden Triangle. Zheng Xian Ge Restaurant at Tanjung Tokong appears to be targeting high end consumers, but we are surprised by the relatively affordable dishes price tag.
Note: the steaming process is usually self service and the servers will provide you guidance on how long to steam for each dish.
Our claim on the restaurant targeting high ends customers do not come unjustified. They are serving American Osyters, yet in a rather relatively affordable price (RM 10/piece). Oysters fanatics would love these gigantic oysters which encompassing the size of a palm. Be wary though as these plump, juicy and fresh oysters will eject a stream of juice on first bite.
If you are feeling lethargic, might as well order a few of these oysters for a boast of zinc!
The splendid dinner continue with Scotland Bamboo Clam (RM 22/piece). This is my second times attempting it, as it was usually hindered by its price tags. Resembling mussels and clams, the fine white flesh tasted more like squid instead. It was springy and firm, with a hint of delicate sweetness.
Shallots and spring onions have been added to give a boast to its taste, which some people might perceived as dull (which we felt was okay though). Do add some condiments to spice it up according to your taste.
The seafood feast continue with more bivalves - large fresh scallops (RM 15.00/4 pieces). It was real fresh with essence giving you the elusive essence of something coming from the water. Steaming scallops were fast, as overcooking it might destroy this legendary dish.
Look at the orangery part of the scallops, it is called as coral, or better known as roe of the scallops (for female). For males, it will be whitish in colour. The roe tasted a little bit semi-fluid compared to the firm scallops meat. Put it this way, scientifically these parts were known as gonads (ewwww). Thus, to eat these parts or not is entirely up to you.
On that night, basically we had everything with the shell offered in the menu. The last was Kappa (RM 8.00/500gm). We used to have a belief that any unopened shell upon served is an indicator of not properly cooked, and this issue was totally eliminated with steaming. If the shell does not open, just continue steam them will do.
Anyway, the kappa this time has a tad of fishy smell. Feedback was this batch of kappa was from a new supplier and they will change a new supplier.
The party switched to crustaceans then with tiger prawns (RM 28.00 / 300gm). Despite the various preparation methods of prawns available at different food outlets, the best way to sample prawns would be steaming as it retains the moisture and the freshness would be totally showcased, without being masked by any flavors or condiments used.
Then it comes the main character of the night - lobster (RM 22.00/100gm). As the size of the lobster was rather big, it is usually served by cutting into few pieces to minimize the steaming time required. Thus, if you want to take some pictures of your grand dinner prior consuming it, do remember to convey the message to the server and they are more than happy to comply with.
The lobster turned into reddish colour after steamed, indicating it was cooked well. Deshelling the lobster might require some energy as the shell was a tough piece, especially the claws. This lobster was packed with juicy and fresh flesh, and it was a great pleasure savouring it. The flesh tasted nice without the needs of dunking it to any condiments, at least for us.
One thing that surprised us was the reflux of the lobster paste upon steaming. Lobster paste, or sometimes known as lobster pâté, roe or any similar name (scientifically tomalley), is actually a combination of body parts of the lobsters, including the liver, pancreas and brain. It is distinguished by the greenish or yellowish soft substance, and some considered it as a delicacy.
The lobster paste tasted a little sticky and okay for me but we find no reason to take it in a large amount. FDA, 2008 reported that over consumption of these substances might lead to PSP intoxication. Therefore, the choice is entirely yours.
This lobster does not mark an end to the dinner feast. In fact, Zheng Xian Ge restaurants offers something more delicate than the lobster - Sturgeon fish (RM 88.00 / 300gm). Sturgeon fish is well known for its caviar and it a favorite fish of Empress Dowager Chi Xi of the Ching dynasty due to its health benefits. The exorbitant price tag is due to sturgeon has a long reproduction cycle, and therefore not easy to get their supplies.
We were told Sturgeon fish is not available elsewhere in Northern region of Malaysia and only Zheng Xian Ge restaurant served it!
Sturgeon fish possess a vast healthy benefits which justified its price tags. Not only rich with proteins, it also has selenium (antioxidant against cancer), vitamin A, Omega-3 fatty acid, Omega-6 fatty acid and Vitamin B12 (Nutritiondata). This is our first times testing sturgeon, and indeed the texture was different from other fishes. It is soft, and at the same time biting sensation is there.
That marks an end to our seafood feast but the dinner do not stop there. Dongguai wolfberries chicken (RM 10.00) is a good choice to balance all the iodine heavy dishes. The integration of dongguai to the chicken meats introduced a type of elusive herbal sweetness to the chicken.
The smoked duck (RM 18.00) is something should not be missed. During the process of steaming, the aroma emitted from the steam funnels are irresistible. The proportion of lean meat to fat meat is just perfect, giving a balance between soft and chewy part. Most importantly, the duck faulty smell is totally absent!
After all those carnivorous diet, it is essential to introduce some fibers to balance the diet. It was our first times having all these Enoki mushrooms (RM6.00), white mushrooms (RM 6.00), cauliflowers (RM 7.00), broccoli (RM 7.00), ladies finger (RM 6.00), scallops balls (RM 6.00), special fish balls (RM 6.00) steamed, as usually we tend to have it fried with condiments.
Nevertheless, dip those steamed vegetables into the condiments for a greater pleasure of sensation. Each of them works differently with different types of condiments, so do have the pleasure to try out.
Though the name is cha siew bao (RM 1.80) but it was chicken meat actually. If was not told by the person in charge, we would not be able to tell the differences whether it is chicken or pork.
Thinking the steamboat has finished after all the delicacies? Not yet, there is an even more interesting dish which can only serve in the end. In the beginning before we steam everything, a pot of rice and a few chicken slices were added to below the steaming pot. As we steam the seafood, the seafood essence drops to the rice, which is cooked to become porridge eventually.
The porridge has a natural sweet scent after the mixture of the essence of so many different seafood. It is the type of porridge which elsewhere unable to provide.
Look at the different types of condiments provided. There ought to be one type which matches different type of seafood.
Besides steamboat, Zheng Xian Ge also offers various dishes and noodles, particularly for those who are in rushing and cannot afford to spend quality time for steamboat. The varieties offered are numerous, and some dish are unique. For instance, Lyechee balls (RM 12.80 small; RM 22.80 big).
The lychee balls has a deep fried crisp outer layer, and a soft inner lychee with mayonnaise filling. This combination worked perfectly, as the fructose sweetness of lychee is further enhanced by the crisp biting sensation. We were impressed with the dish as it was unique.
Kerabu Algae (RM 22.80) is another special dish. Ladies would prefer this slight sour algae, complement with small prawns to give a sweet taste.
Fried crabs with salted egg yolk (RM 68 / 2 pieces; RM 98 / 3 pieces) is such a sinful dish due to its high cholesterol from the salted egg yolk but it is almost impossible to say no to it. The joy of this dish would be licking the salted egg yolk casing the crab shells. Of course, crabs lovers would enjoy it as the crab flesh is fresh.
One tips if you are ordering the dishes and having steamboat at the same time - do remember to arrange your dish in a manner which does not contradict each other and diminish the good natural taste of the seafood. For instance, after you have had a strong taste salty crab, it will render the sturgeon fish tasteless and kill off such a delicacy.
Whenever it comes to melted cheese then the food is definitely irresistible. Fried prawns with cheese (RM 28 small ; RM 58 big) here will give a smack of cheesy flavor to your oral environment, leaving such a pleasant taste lingering in the mouth for some time. Aside of the cheesy, the flakes topping the prawns serves the role well in enhancing the taste.
Again, try not to have steamboat after this dish as it will kill off the natural flavor of the seafood.
Spring Chicken (RM9.80) is actually young chick or poussin, usually 2-3 months old. Spring chicken meat is tender soft, which is different compared to conventional chicken meat with more fat. It is believed the spring chicken has more protein content thus is beneficial for muscle builders whom enjoys eating chicken.
Check out the menu by Zheng Xian Ge Restaurant, they do have steamboat package set and a la carte set as well.
Zheng Xian Ge (蒸鲜阁) Restaurant
A-3-1 & A-3-2 Vantage, Jalan Desiran Tanjung Tokong,, 10470 Penang, Malaysia
Operation hours: 11am - 10pm (Closed on Monday)
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