Seafood Lovers, This Private Kitchen In Sekinchan Is Totally Worth The Trip
Zung's Private Kitchen
Zung Heng, a well known society photographer in and out of the country, recently invited T.Dining to his home in Sekinchan to show us the richness of what this sleepy west coast town has to offer. The man had started a private kitchen and he wanted to tell the world all about it.
Born and bred in a town famed for fresh seafood and rice, Zung decided to begin his own private dining experience after returning from a trip to Europe. As he often travels extensively for work, the talented photographer found himself missing and craving the foods and flavours he grew up with, as well as a desire to preserve his family's Teochew recipes.
Enlisting the help of his family members and local cooks, Zung's private kitchen is a unique by reservation only culinary experience that gives foodies the chance to sample a wide array of homemade Teochew style seafood dishes in an uncommon setting.
"Fresh" is the key takeaway from this experience, which will see guests dine al fresco at a 50 year old wooden house on stilts that belongs to the photographer's family. All you need is sunscreen, relaxed airy clothes, a big appetite and you're all set.
Those adverse to dining out in the sun can look forward to a renovation that will soon see the addition of an air-conditioned dining room at Zung's private kitchen.
Eating here will cost RM150 per pax with a minimum of six people per session, but those wishing to increase the number of items on the menu or simply plan what will be on the menu can do so before heading over.
We covered an extensive amount of dishes over the course of a day just so we could recommend which dishes are a definite must should you decide to head over.
We bet you didn't know Malaysia had oysters. Fished straight from Sekinchan's waters, which is only possible during low-tide, fresh oysters make the list of appetisers here, served with a side of lime and homemade Chinese chilli. The oysters were fairly sized with a natural briny tang and slight sweetness that doesn't get masked even after dressing it with zingy chilli.
Saitou Fish Balls
A Heng family favourite, saitou fish balls also grace the menu. Stuffed with a minced pork centre and lightly fried until its outer skin is crisp, the fish ball itself is sufficiently salty and does its job as a palate teaser and opening up one's appetite for the upcoming dishes.
Teochew Style Stuffed Squid
Another signature of the Heng household, biting into a piece reveals a fresh squid taste with a juicy pork filling that works incredibly well with the soup it comes with, which itself has a nice sweet-sour kick that resembles vinegar. Trust us, you'll be wanting seconds.
Steamed Mantis Shrimp
Although considered a delicacy, some may recoil in disapproval at the mantis shrimp's appearance, a crustacean that gets its name from its resemblance to the praying mantis insect. Brave pass the shrimp's uninviting looks and you'll find a sweet and savoury flavour that is actually rather palatable. Bonus points if you receive one with eggs, which bears a taste almost similar to a slightly salted chicken egg.
Teochew Style Cold Crab
Served cold after being cooked without any sauces or dips, Zung explains that the Teochew prefer to eat their crabs like this because it allows them to taste the inherent natural flavours of the crustacean. And right he is. The types of crabs served depends on the season and freshest catch at the available time, with our selection at the time featuring blue swimmer crab, mud crab and flower crab. Fuss free and unpretentious, the crabs were fresh, sweet and delicious.
Salted Shrimp In Ice Bowl
Teochew cuisine isn't only famous for its seafood, porridge also shares the fame, especially in a town known for its rice fields. Sweet potato porridge is a specialty here, served with dishes like salted shrimp to create a pairing that's incredibly appetising. True to its name, the shrimp gives off a concentrated mix of saltiness, garlic, chilli and a touch of sourness that opens up once mixed with a serving of porridge.
Chopped Chilli Prawns
Switch up salted shrimp for chopped chilli prawns, a dish that is incredibly flavourful and only mildly spicy despite its name. It pairs really well with porridge or even on its own, with a strong garlicky chilli flavour that won over our palate the moment we took a bite.
Stir Fried Kam Heong Seafood
If you're looking for a dish that has a little bit of something for everyone, make sure to get the stir friend kam heong seafood mix on the menu. You'll find a decent mix of crab, squid, mantis shrimp and prawn cooked with corn in a mild kam heong sauce, making for a spicy sweet flavour combo that encourages seconds and thirds.
The entire dining experience will take approximately three hours at Zung's private kitchen and is available any day of the week. Cold non-alcoholic drinks will be served but diners are encouraged to bring their own liquor for personal consumption.
With that being said, reservations must be made so that both your trip to Sekinchan and the kitchen team's cooking schedule are in sync to ensure smooth sailing. Be advised that travelling to this location can take one to two hours by car from Kuala Lumpur.
Should you like to do other things and activities after or before the meal, such as visiting the panoramic paddy fields or taking a trip to Redang beach, Zung and his team will be happy to help plan an itinerary that will give you the full Sekinchan experience.