Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Sunday dinner at Sunshine Bay Seafood

Weekends are synonymous with crowds and holidays here in Penang island; and we have gotten used to the trend here where there are always eager tourists hanging around our little island.
It is not an out worldly thing when you are living in a world famous (if not Malaysia alone) island, famed for food, heritage and the hills and the sea and is one of the world's most livable cities.
With the island filled with tourists almost every weekend (and sometimes even weekdays during the peak seasons; public and school holidays), there is pretty much no place for the locals to escape to a quiet little sanctuary to have that piece of local life. Not that we are complaining much; but traffic can be really horrendous and worse, seems like the costs of living are just increasing exponentially, and there are just so many places which are falling into the zone of over-commercialization that sometimes, to be honest, it just gets a little tad, well, frustrating.

Anyway, as the saying goes, the going gets tough, we, just play tough and get going; hunting for different places to try out sometimes whenever we get bored of our usual places, or they are just starting to move into their tourism zone. *Laughs* Now it sounds like the locals are running away from the tourism, how ironic that sounds!

We are not really active hunters for new food places; mainly because I am also a rather habitual person where I tend to sink into the comfort zone when I like a place and the food served that I would tend to stick to that place and frequent it until I decide that I am bored, and usually that is not in a short term.
However, the good thing is, recently, I am starting to, and wanting to check out some new places because there is just way too many new places and I haven't been doing it in a while. So it seemed like a great time to spice it up again and just, be a little adventurous.

Sunday dinners, like everyone is usually with the family (unless we have prior plans or events) and we don't usually go to new places unless otherwise requested by the elders.
This round, we decided to go to this seafood restaurant in Tanjung Bungah.
Well, they have all visited this place before, and I was the only one visiting for the first time.

Sunshine Bay Seafood restaurant is located right before the traffic light and after the post office if you are coming from the Gurney direction, facing Harmony Residence in the opposite direction.
If you are at the traffic light, you can see Maybank. Therefore, you should turn left/keep left when you see the post office (which can be quite hidden) on your left and there is a slightly upward slope heading into their premises.

We were there quite early on a Sunday evening, and the place still looked pretty vacant at around 6-ish. However, we noticed that there were two tables with the reservation tags; reserved by their regular customers I suppose.

We had an elderly woman who came over to help us with the ordering and she gave a list of recommendations based on the menu they have and we just ordered a couple of simple dishes which would suit the tastes of the elders as well. (In fact, our parents decided on the ordering as well).

With the hot and dry weather in the afternoons, coconut juice seemed to be a perfect choice to complement the meal.
The coconuts were priced at MYR5.00 each.

Coconut juice is always a good thirst quencher and one can only understand the cooling sensation when the soothing taste of the clear liquid gushes down the throat. It is indeed a refreshing treat, and the best part is that it is rarely overwhelmingly sweet (unless it was sweetened in some way) which is the reason the coconut juice is also always referred to as coconut water, because it is just so similar to the pure H2O in so many ways except with that slight hint of sourish sweetness and that it comes in a hard husk.

Kung Pow Mantis Prawns (MYR10) is a delightful combination of deep fried mantis prawns which were then stir fried with the light touch of Lea Perrins sauce (or other similar sauce) along with spring onions, onions and dried chilies as the main ingredients.

There are many other ways to enjoy this delicacy of the mantis prawns, such as salted egg yolk being the other popular choice, but I would not have it any other way except this. It is just my own definition of the perfect way to enjoy this; provided that they do it well.
Somehow, I found this version a little salty for my liking and also, the mantis prawns were inconsistent with some being a little over the top in the deep frying process. It is never easy to perfect the deep frying of the mantis prawns, as I was told, as too much would lead to it being totally dried and crispy while an instant deep frying might lead to the prawns being undercooked.
The perfect texture is in the equality of the outer crispy texture, while maintaining the soft and juicy flesh inside when one bites into it, and so far, I have only found probably, less than 3 restaurants which could really perfect this dish.

(I am not sure about you, but it seems to be rather tough to find this dish being on the menu of many restaurants; perhaps of the scarcity of its kind? In Penang, it is still generally found in most restaurants, thankfully, but they are still seasonal items).

Homemade Signature Beancurd (MYR10) is a recommended dish by the restaurant; with their fresh and smooth bean curd braised with a light broth served with finely minced chicken meat and spring onions tossed atop the dish.

Most of the restaurants these days are all proud to call their own signature homemade tofu dish, and it seems that all the signature tofu dishes are made from their own kitchen. I am not complaining, as undeniably, the texture can be really smooth (though not fully delicate) and there is that tinge of freshness when one bites into the juicy bean curd.

Stir fried Qing Miao vegetable with crunchy fish crisps (MYR12) is another interesting vegetable dish, which was something new to me as I have often known the Qing Miao or any Miao suffixed vegetable to be in the form of a fine and thin shoot/stalk-like type of vegetable. After all, it is indeed a type of pea shoot. Therefore, when we first saw this dish, it seemed like it was a wrongly prepared dish.
It was still quite an enjoyable dish, as the vegetables were quite crunchy and fresh, though the same cannot be said of the fish crisps which did seem like they could do with a little bit more to kick that goodness into complementing the vegetable.

To complete the meal is this Steamed Fish (a sea perch) with sour lime sauce (MYR36)
The fish was half of a whole fish; and the spicy and sourish sauce was the highlight of the dish and was indeed an appetizing addition to the spread we have on our table. In fact, this dish stole the limelight (pun intended) from the other dishes with the slightly fiery taste of the wicked combination of pounded chili and finely grounded garlic mixed with the bitter and acidic sour juice of the lime as a surefire way to weasel into everyone's appetite. The tantalizing and tempting taste of the sauce, along with the freshness and lightly steamed flesh of the fish is the grand finish to the entire meal.

It goes without saying that this is my favorite dish of the night.

(Perhaps it was my personal tastes, but I did find the overall tastes of a dishes a little salty for my liking).

The overall bill costs approximately MYR85++ for four pax; and was a little higher than expected due to the price of the fish. This goes to say that the costs of dining out are indeed on the rise towards the higher end these days.

The restaurant do serve prawns, crabs and other seafood fare in a home cooked style and a homey environment.
This adds to another restaurant explored on my quest to hunt for more seafood restaurants on the island, to add to my personal list of favorite and frequented restaurants :-)


  1. So nice to read your post today! I'm visiting Penang this weekend and you're getting me in the mood for great food. ;-)

  2. Oops I don't know what happened there! Sorry about the multiple comments. Blogger...Grrr...

  3. The Yum List, no worries, Blogger have all these issues sometimes! LOL!
    Great to hear you're visiting Penang, do drop me a note if you need recommendations, although there are so many pro bloggers out there too...hehe ;-)
    I'd be happy to help if I can, enjoy your trip to Penang! :-D