Thursday, May 22, 2014

An Evening with Seafood at Hai Boey

Literally translated to the "End of the Sea" in the local dialect of Hokkien (common language spoken on the island of Penang), Hai Boey Seafood Restaurant is a resident seafood eatery located at the far end of the coast of Teluk Kumbar; a district located between Bayan Lepas and Balik Pulau in Penang.

It has been a few years since I was first here, and my recent visit to this restaurant was indeed a far cry from its heydays during my first visit. The restaurant has fully developed into a systematic and organized outlet, with well-planned facilities for the convenience of the customers and also the efficient system in which the dining orders were taken. I have to commend their ordering system which was well-thought of; with the waiters/waitresses attending to each customer with a PDA in hand and keying in the orders to be sent directly to the kitchen. Of course, this has been practiced in many restaurants for some time now, but I really mean it when I say that their system works quite the way it was intended to, or at least when I was there.
It is also worth mentioning that the restaurant's kitchen was lined with a team of chefs; in a count exceeding five, all busily tossing and frying at their woks and pans to cook for their customers.
Then there is the serving team, who pushes metal carts around (like in a dim sum restaurant) with all the ready-to-serve dishes to multiple tables at the same time. This whole scenario really sped up the entire process from the ordering to the serving, and keeps their customers happy, which is key to their success.

One of the house specialty as recommended by the waitress is this Braised Prawns with Hor Fun (Thin and Flat broad  rice noodles) (明虾河粉)(MYR26.00)

The thick sweet and sourish flavored gravy enriched with the addition of generous amounts of stalks of spring onions and slices of ginger added to the relishing factor of the dish. Of course, the star of this is definitely the fresh and succulent prawns, which were well-sliced to permeate its natural sweetness and juicy taste, and along with hor fun, it is an appetizing combination which makes this an indefinite memorable dish. Truly, this is a specialty here worth the recommendation.

Having used to the usual style of Kung pow mantis prawns, I was enticed by the mention of their other styles to prepare the mantis prawns which was quite distinct from the regular cooking methods in most restaurants.
Kerabu Mantis Prawns (MYR12.00) is an interesting palate teaser with a burst of sourish spicy mix  to complement the dry crisp taste of the deep fried mantis prawns, which, was tender and squeaks with a juicy flavor inside.

This has totally recreated and rebuffed the regular styles of serving mantis prawns, as it introduces a more refreshing and exciting sensation to the tender tastes of mantis prawns. I might try another style on my next visit, as I hear they have other creative cooking styles for this tantalizing sea creature.

If you are bored of the usual stir fried lala (clams) or the steamed style in superior stock, look forward to the way they spice up the dish with this slightly spicy yet flavorful
Steamed Lala with Sour Plum and Chilies (MYR12.00)

The flavorful yet light broth is really enticing to the taste buds, and the addition of garlic and coriander leaves just elevates to the appeal of the dish, and the clams were really fresh and juicy to begin with that it was just the perfect marriage for the fresh sea ingredients and the accompanying cooking ingredients.

The restaurant is fond of serving their fish in clay pots, which they will always recommend to their customers as one of their regular serving styles.
Claypot steamed Red Snapper (MYR40.00) 
(~MYR7 per 100g)

Coriander leaves are served separately, for folks who are not fond of the addition of them beforehand.
It is indeed a thoughtful move, as I do know of many who would shy away from this and it is often a love-or-hate relationship most have with them.

The fish was cut up into large chunks to fit them into the clay pot; and it did seem a little queer though that the fish seemed to be a little uneven on the portion and I believed it was one-sided.

The texture of the fish was smooth and well-immersed in the light tastes of the soy sauce which gave it that extra flavor on top of its natural sweetness owed to the freshness of the fish.

Stir-fry Baby Bok Choy (Siu Bak Choy) (MYR8.00) with garlic was a simple yet healthy finish to the above seafood fare.
The soft and crunchy texture of the vegetable accompanied by the garlic and simple broth made this a light option away from the flavored dishes we had.

Sour Ambra plum juice which comes in bottles are perfect for larger groups.
Priced at MYR12.00 per bottle, it did come across as a little pricey compared to the usual but the juice was rich with the flavors of the fruit combination, giving it that less than the usual diluted tastes we get at some of the places out there.

Compared to my last visit here, I would say the quality has improved in terms of the food and also the overall system in place here.
It is definitely another reason to indulge in seafood when you have interesting places like these, and on an island known as a food paradise.

There are ample parking space for the cars, and the restaurant has even organized their parking lots by stilts to guide their customers to a well-arranged layout on their premises.
It seems that they kept everything in order here, and nothing seems to miss their mind.

With the typical setting of the countryside in the background and the seafront dining before the you, it is definitely an authentic island environment to enjoy your seafood in much more atmospheric style.


  1. I miss eating la la.... one of the restaurants we frequent here no longer does my fav la la dish, as the owner say it's hard to get fresh ones. Your post definitely made me crave for some!

  2. Baby Sumo, I totally agree, it's really hard to find good ones around! Come come to Penang, I will bring you ;-)

  3. That's interesting, the braised prawn hor fun having a sourish gravy. Bet that makes it real appetising. :)

  4. Really generous amount of mantis prawn given in that kerabu for the price u paid!

  5. Life for Beginners, Oh ya, that was really memorable!~ :-)

  6. Choi Yen, yes, it's rare these days to get the value's worth for what we pay for eh? I am not complaining, LOL!:-P

  7. good-looking stuff! i have fond memories of penang seafood from my three years of studying at usm :)

  8. Sean, gotta come to Penang again! ;-)
    Seafood? :-D