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What to eat in Kuantan: Fresh sashimi & delectable sushi at Kawa Japanese Restaurant

>> Tuesday, May 31, 2016


This restaurant is such a gem! I'm glad to be introduced to this place as I wouldn't have noticed the restaurant since it didn't have an outstanding/bright-looking signboard outside the shop.

Sake Sashimi (RM23.00/serving of 5 slices before GST)
Salmon Belly Sashimi (RM26.00/serving of 4-5 thick slices before GST)
Kamori (RM48.00/serving of 4 types of sashimi before GST)
If you love sashimi, this IS the place in Kuantan for some fresh, thick-cut, firm-textured raw fish/seafood. Every piece of their raw fish in this impressive-presentation sashimi bowl is so fresh & well-chilled. A true master piece!

Although prices are slightly on the higher end, we were really pleased with the freshness, quality, portion & taste of all the dishes that we ordered that evening.

The restaurant is fairly new (opened last October) & is located along Jalan Beserah, next to Alliance Bank, same row as Ten Ten. It has a very contemporary ambiance & is spacious enough to fit quite a lot of people since they have both floors opened for the restaurant.

We had a scrumptious & sumptuous feast, catching up with one of my close friends cum 'family', whom I used to stay with during my uni days. Good food, great catch-up, & lovely food - SO EXCITING!

Hotate Mentaiko (RM26.00/serving of 2 large pieces before GST)
This was the final dish that was served to us, but it was THE BEST! You'll get a big, fat, juicy piece of scallop (maybe from Hokkaido? :P), wrapped with salmon & grilled to perfection! I think there's mayo at the top & it's torched before serving...SO delicious! If you intend to splurge on something worth paying for, go for this - we have no regrets!

Fresh & plump scallop that wasn't over-cooked :D

Durian Maki (RM18.00/serving before GST)
Yup, you read it right. It's durian! I was a 'lil bit apprehensive to try it, but I have to say that the combination was delightful! I can't recall what's at the centre of the maki (prawn, I think), but the durian 'sauce' was placed at the side & you can dip your maki into the sauce for the durian fragrance. Yummy!

King Prawn Maki (RM23.00/serving before GST)
This was another of their recommendation. I love the freshness of the king prawn & the soft, creamy slices of avocados at the top of the maki. So satisfying :) 

Unagi Sushi (RM16.00/serving of 2 sushi pieces before GST)
 Ah, unagi is AP's & my all-time favorite. We certainly didn't have any complains for their unagi sushi. It's slightly pricey, but at least the slices of the unagi weren't tiny nor thin ;)

Takoyaki (RM13.00/serving before GST)
 I love takoyaki & I really missed the takoyaki that we had at Sapporo :( Those were lip-smacking, especially when eaten piping hot on a cool & windy night! The takoyaki here are half the size of what we had in Sapporo & weren't as 'melt-in-your-mouth', but they are actually quite tasty, just not alike the actual Sapporo ones.

Dobin Mushi (RM13.00/serving before GST)
 This was something very unique to us although we didn't realize that it's a common thing in Japan. According to what's written on Wikipedia, "dobin mushi is a traditional Japanese seafood broth, steamed and served in a dobin tea pot with shrimp, chicken, soy sauce, lime, and matsutake mushroom." I don't know how it tastes like as I didn't taste-test it, but it sure looks interesting!

Tempura Udon (RM16.00/serving before GST)
The kiddo ordered this & was enjoying herself with the hot bowl of slurpy udon noodles with a side of crispy tempura-battered shrimp & vegetables. 

Yaki Udon (RM16.00/serving before GST)
Taste-wise, it was well-balanced & fragrant with a decent level of "wok hei". It's a very safe, comfort food that could hardly go wrong. This is for those who want something simple, disappointment-proof, & filling.

I think this restaurant is a great place for those who fancy some good Japanese meal, be it for lunch or for dinner. It's constantly full, so you need to get there earlier or later to avoid disappointment :) If you're planning for a large-group lunch/dinner at the restaurant, you may want to make a reservation first instead of walking in.

Kawa Japanese Restaurant
B-402, Jalan Beserah
25300 Kuantan
Pahang Darul Makmur
Tel: (+609) 560 0032
Business hours: Daily 12:00p.m.-3:00p.m.(2:30p.m. last order) & 6:00p.m.-11:00p.m.(10:30p.m. last order)
GPS: 3.8327793,103.3445733

Looking forward to be back again,


Road Trip to Kemaman: Otak-Otak, Satar, Keropok Lekor

>> Monday, May 30, 2016

It was a short yet fun time to tag along my colleague & her family on a road cum eating trip to Kemaman! All we needed was just 4 hours to travel, sit & eat, snap photos, gather the kids & we were back in Kuantan again :D

We drove up to the row of Malay stalls along Pantai Teluk Mak Nik in Kemaman, just 5 minutes after entering Terengganu's border with Pahang.

Warung Otak-Otak Che Wan
Tel: (+6013) 987 3557
Business hours: Daily 2:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.
GPS: 4.2027424,103.4388227

The otak-otak here is slightly sweeter than those from Muar. I personally prefer the Muar style, where it's more savory, but this isn't too bad. At least you can taste the fish!

This stall sells pulut mangga (mango sticky rice) & pulut durian (durian sticky rice) as well.

As keropok lekor is such an east coast snack, you can find numerous stalls selling this type of fish-flavored snack. The best part with the keropok lekor here compared to those in KL is that you'll find more fish than flour :D

You can also try their 'boiled' keropok lekor

Unfortunately, their satar was sold out by the time we were there around 3:00p.m. on Sunday! *boooo* We ended up getting this from another stall down the road, which weren't too bad. I remember having a larger size satar few years back. Seems like the size has shrunk although the price remains at RM0.50/piece.

A group photo before we left the place 

We drove further down the Pantai Teluk Mak Nik after our snack time just to snap a few photos before leaving Kemaman...

Since the kids have never been to a turtle sanctuary, we stopped for 10 minutes at the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary on our way back to Kuantan :) Admission is free, but you're encouraged to contribute some cash into the turtle conservation fund.

Here are some photos of my favorite turtles!

I call these the 'watermelon turtles' :P

Awww...look at 'em babies... 

My colleague called these the "Nemo turtle"...hahaha... 

This trip here reminded me so much of my university days where my uni friends & I, all girls, spent a night on the beach, just waiting up for turtles to lay their eggs here...hahaha...we ended up seeing no turtle, but some of us got bitten by loads of sandflies! Ahahahahaha...memories...

Ah, what a fun few hours! I love road trips like this!


What to eat in Kuantan: Have you heard of/had "ikan Kerai"?

>> Sunday, May 29, 2016

It was a fruitful, educational & fun weekend for me *yay!!* It's prayers answered as I was wondering what's there to look forward each week for people who live in Kuantan & it's been quite a challenge for me to get 'readjusted' to the lifestyle here.

One of my colleagues came over to Kuantan for a weekend getaway with her family & she introduced me to "ikan Kerai", what she comments as a really delicious fish that I HAVE TO try!

Ikan Kerai
This fish is an 'exotic' river fish, apparently available only in Sungai Pahang (Pahang rivers). My colleague actually traveled to Kuantan for this fish & each time she comes here for a family holiday (once every quarter just because they love east coast food! *oh my my*), she's sure to pop by for her dose of ikan Kerai.

One of the very few places that you can find ikan Kerai is at Akob Patin House 3, opposite East Coast Mall, on the same side of the row with Zenith Hotel. The restaurant sells Malay-style mixed rice, featuring their river ikan Patin/catfish cooked in various styles like in 'tempoyak' (fermented durian) & lemak-buah (fruity-milky gravy) among the many styles.

As we're here mainly for their ikan Kerai, I didn't bother with taking the ikan Patin, but I just had to take my favorite ikan Keli (also a type of catfish) & "pucuk manis masak lemak" (sweet leaf shoots cooked in coconut milk).

Deep-Fried Ikan Keli + Pucuk Manis Masak Lemak
I like this fish cos there's very few small bones & the flesh is sweet.

Ikan Kerai
I've no clue what's the English name for ikan Kerai. It's an interesting tasting fish & it's to no surprise that it left my colleague such a great impression that she would want to have this each time she visits Kuantan. Mind you, it's an expensive fish! I was told by the uncle who works here (not sure if he's the boss), that this fish doesn't come by that easily. It's not easy to catch such a big fish & what more this type of fish. A fish around this size costs around RM160.00! *eek!!*

It's best eaten with the sweet-salty-spicy dip 

The flesh is almost transparent-white, sweet, has the "river-fish taste" & it actually 'melts in your mouth'! It's not a flaky fish nor is it a fatty fish...words just can't accurately describe how the actual texture feels. The skin was perfectly deep-fried & deliciously crispy *yum yum* The major down-side for me is that the fish has LOADS of small bones!

What an interesting discovery for me *yay!* I'll be sharing more discoveries that I experienced this very weekend in the next post or two, so stay tuned! :D 

Akob Patin House 3
24, Jalan Putra Square 6
25300 Kuantan
Pahang Darul Makmur
Tel: (+6012) 951 4212 - Iwan/ (+60112) 561 1316
Business hours: Tuesdays - Sundays 8:30a.m. - 5:30a.m.
GPS: 3.8185356,103.3259451

Very excited with such new discoveries!


What to eat in Kuantan: Western food at East Grill Steak House

>> Saturday, May 28, 2016

Which resident in Kuantan has not heard of East Grill Steak House? If you happen to visit Kuantan, just ask around any Kuantan residents & they'll be able to tell you more about the food here at this established restaurant.

For the many years that I've studied, visited & stayed in Kuantan, I've only been here once in the year 2009! *oh what a shame....* I don't even remember dining here...seems like it's been too long ago :P It's only when I did a search online that I found my own blog post popping up...ahahahaha....my poor memory...

East Grill Steak House is one of the more well-known western food restaurants in town. I was there with C2 on a Friday for lunch & the place started getting packed by 12:30p.m. (I think that's the normal Kuantan lunch hour?). People of all races were dining here, enjoying their meal together with family members & friends. The restaurant serves quite a variety of local/fusion food as well for those who don't fancy western food.

Set Lunch C - Deep-Fried Chicken & Fish Fillet with Chips, served with Black Pepper Sauce (RM19.90/serving before GST)
I just wanted something simple, quick & hassle-free for a weekday lunch, so I ordered their set lunch, which comes with a glass of 100 Plus. Frankly speaking, it's not that cheap, but it's not too bad for the price & portion. As for taste, I've no major complains. It's not the best chicken chop nor fish & chips, but it's acceptable. I just didn't like the buttered corn side dish as it was soft instead of crisp.

Set Lunch C comes with a piece of chicken, a piece of fish & a 'slice' of fish cracker. A somewhat strange combination, but it's SO Kuantan...hahahaha....

Set Lunch D - Baked Salmon with Worcestershire Sauce, served with Baked Wedges (RM25.90/serving before GST)
When it was served in front of C2, the 1st thought that came to us was, "The portion's so small for the price paid!" & the 2nd thought was "My, my...looks so 'healthy'...." Taste was quite nice & the fish was baked perfectly; it wasn't dry. We just felt that it's kinda expensive for a set lunch, although yeah, perhaps the price of salmon has gone up? *shrugs* It's certainly something different as it's our 1st time trying baked salmon with Worcestershire sauce.

Busy lunch hour business 

We left around 2:00p.m. & it was still busy 

The restaurant opens for both lunch & dinners. I've yet to try their steak here since it's a "steak house". I'll be back someday to give it another try. I think throughout the years, the quality, price & portion may have declined, but Kuantan doesn't have that many varieties to offer, so I guess places like this will still survive as long as the food doesn't taste bad.

East Grill Steak House
B62, Jalan Air Putih
Taman Sentosa Baru
25300, Kuantan
Pahang Darul Makmur
Tel: (+609) 567 6190
Business hours: I can't recall, but I think it's 12:00p.m, - 3:00p.m. & 6:00p.m. onwards for dinner. I just recalled seeing some 'split shift' business hours.

I'll be back to try their steak,

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