Dive into a hearty selection of live seafood cooked to your liking amidst a laid-back, resort-like ambience at South Sea Seafood Restaurant.
MOST male patrons find it disconcerting, and understandably so, that they are supposed to urinate into the large aquariums that take pride of place in the men’s restroom at South Sea Seafood Restaurant.
Not only is the toilet spotlessly clean and air-conditioned, there isn’t a single urinal in sight! At least not conventional ones.
“Yes, it’s my quirky idea that you should pee into the aquarium,” restaurateur Terence Wong says with glee. “The urinal’s actually designed to trick people into thinking they’re urinating into a tank of swimming fish.
“Personally, I can’t stomach going to a restaurant with filthy toilets. So I’m determined to ensure that ours are spotlessly clean and consistently well-maintained. They make great talking points for our patrons.”
While the female restroom is less elaborate, it is equally clean and includes a diaper-changing table.
Yes, you’re bound to find South Sea Seafood Restaurant quite different from the typical fluorescent-lit, seafood eateries, thanks to its unique location at the end of an airport runway.
At dusk, mellow overhead lighting and towering rows of potted plants surrounding the restaurant’s wooden, high-ceiling structure give it an airy, resort-like ambience. Tucked away in a corner are multiple display tanks of swimming seafood — a perpetual attraction for the patrons, especially the kids.
“It’s a family-run business that formerly was known as New Nanking Seafood. As the restaurant’s popularity grew in tandem with our seafood supply business, we decided to rebrand it into South Sea Seafood to reflect our evolution, varied customer base and fresh business approach.”
The savvy Wong not only roped in renowned Hong Kong actress Michelle Yim for an advertising campaign in 2009, he also had huge eye-catching billboards placed along the Federal Highway. Now he is using online and new social media, in addition to a customer loyalty programme, to create greater awareness and induce repeat patronage at his restaurant.
“Our supply of fresh seafood comes mainly from Sabah by air-freight, four times weekly,” says Wong.
“Diners are spoilt for choice with the wide variety available: Mexican geoduck clams, giant humpback and estuary tiger groupers, South Australian rock lobsters, local and Sri Lankan crabs, Japanese escargots, fresh oysters, South African abalone, mantis and tiger prawns, etc. Our modern water filtration system ensures their freshness is maximised,” adds Wong.
The restaurant’s most popular dishes, says Wong, are the Sashimi-style South Australian Lobsters and Geoduck Clam, Stir-fried Crabs with Chilli and Curry Leaves, and Cheese Baked Japanese Escargots.
When our appetiser of Steamed South African Baby Abalone with Garlic and Glass Noodles (RM32++ each) arrives, Wong points out to us that the minced garlic topping has undergone a special preparation process to temper its natural pungency. We like the contrasting textures between the abalone’s slight chewiness and the softness of the glass noodles, not to mention the tasty juices pooled within the abalone shell.
The subsequent starter of Cheese Baked Japanese Escargots (RM15++ onwards) wins us over with its buttery richness and rubbery tenderness. Ardent seafood lovers would have eaten Butter Crabs at one time or another but not many would have tried South Sea Seafood’s latest creation of Creamy Butter Sweet Corn Crabs — a simple but ingenious pairing.
The stir-fried crabs are coated in a butter and cream sauce studded with corn kernels that greatly enhance the crustacean’s sweetness. For this delectable offering, you can opt for local crabs (RM38++ each; minimum order of two crabs) or the meatier Sri Lankan crabs (RM50++ each).
Mindful that some of his corporate and foreign customers may find the Chinese way of serving and eating a whole fish troublesome, Wong has his team serve up a Steamed Sea Garoupa (RM120++ per kg) that is completely deboned and cut into rectangular pieces.
“It looks more presentable and is easier to partake,” he says. “There’s no compromise on the naturally sweet taste and smooth texture of the fish.”
Delicately flavoured, the Stir-fried Lotus Root with Fresh Lily Bulbs and Macadamia Nuts (RM18++ onwards) provides a welcome change to the surfeit of seafood dishes.
Another good choice is the Indonesian Fried Rice (RM12++ onwards) which is a mound of fluffy grains generously topped with crispy fried crabstick, dried prawns, garlic, long beans, egg and chilli flakes.
Following recent upgrading works, the 500-seat restaurant now has an air-conditioned section that can accommodate 110 persons.
i> For reservations, call (03) 7846 1401/5813 or visit www.southsea.com.my. Address: 229, Jalan Dua A, Kampung Baru Subang, Selangor.