I tried the famous Malaysian Steamboat dish…This is what you need to know!

 I didn’t know it before I visited but Malaysia is a haven for foodies. Indian, Chinese, Malay and Western options are available everywhere; from hawker stalls to suit even the most thrifty traveller to expensive restaurants for those who prefer to dine in luxury. 

Whilst on the road Tim and I tend to eat cheap (to avoid blowing all our budget on tasty treats) but after a few weeks in the country and signs for the famous Malaysian Steamboat plastered everywhere, we decided to splash out. 

What is Steamboat food?

Steamboat is a Chinese style fondue where you cook raw meat, fish and vegetables in a boiling broth at your table. More generally it is known as hot-pot, with Malaysia and Singapore exclusively christening it Steamboat. 

The food is cooked in a steamboat cooker which gently heats the broth for the duration. Usually the dish is eaten in winter as it is the pinnacle of warming comfort food but owing to its rising popularity, people are indulging in it all year round. 

What are the Steamboat ingredients?

Different types of steamboat food will vary in terms of ingredients. The Malaysian dish will tend to include some variation of the following, depending on what is ordered. 

  • Meat
  • Fish 
  • Vegetables
  • Noodles
  • Egg
  • Mushrooms
  • Tofu

How much does Malaysian Steamboat cost?

 A steamboat option cost RM35 ($8.50USD) for the two of us and I’m pleased to report it did not disappoint. Although this does not seem expensive on the surface, the steamboat buffet costs above average for a normal meal in South East Asia. 

Malaysian Steamboat restaurant
Steamboat is served all over Malaysia.

Our waitress brought over a yellow gas stove, complete with a vat of soup. This is the base for the meal which you will cook the other steamboat ingredients in. Usually, the broth will be chicken or pork flavoured. The dish simply improves in taste as more and more food is cooked in the broth. After cooking the meats, these are then dipped into a sauce. Any leftover broth and sauce should be eaten like a soup at the end of the meal. 

As we were shown how to heat the soup, the table then became flooded with plates of noodles, fish, meat, vegetables and tofu. Being the chef that he is, Tim took charge of the cooking whilst I began prioritising what to eat first. (It’s my role and I do it well.)

Tim instantly fell in love with the steamboat as he loves a hands on meal, though the food was undeniably delicious was well. I also enjoyed the steamboat and loved the fact that we were in control of cooking our own dinner. Although it wouldn’t be my choice every time we go out for eat, it certainly was a novelty. For those who are looking for more of Malaysia’s best dishes to try, check out this mouth-watering post for inspiration!

Why is Malaysian Steamboat great? 

Perhaps the best thing about steamboat is not the variety of meat and fish, though this is a definite plus in my eyes, but the extension of the meal time. Organising and cooking our food at the table gave us plenty of time to chat and get excited about the meal before being able to eat, something I think always results in more satisfaction.

As you cook your own meal at the table, it is also a good choice if you are on a time limit as you are in control of how much time you dedicate to cooking. Steamboat is undoubtedly a fantastic choice for large groups, doubling up as not only a meal out but effectively a team building activity, whilst you delegate who cooks what. If you’re visiting Malaysia, steamboat is a must try – don’t miss this dish!

Malaysian Steamboat buffet
Steamboat is a must try dish during your time in the country!

Where can I eat Malaysian Steamboat? 

Luckily, Malaysian Steamboat is served all over the country. Although many tourists enjoy and indulge in the dish, it is also a favourite among the locals as well. 

Best steamboat in KL (Kuala Lumpur)

  • The Garden BBQ Buffet Steamboat

This may be one of the more pricey steamboat restaurants but the cost is well worth it. As of the time of writing (Jun 2019), the price for adults was 51 RM ($12.50USD) per person. Steamboat dishes are available as are BBQ options which makes it a good option if eating with a diverse group of people. 

  • Steam Era Seafood Steamboat Restaurant

Boasting some fabulous fresh seafood, Steam Era is a great choice for fish lovers. You can choose from a meat or veggie base and then add in whichever ingredients you prefer. Staff are particularly helpful for first-time steamboat-eaters and will help you to get the cooking times of each food right!

Best steamboat in the Cameron Highlands

  • Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant

Using only organic ingredients from their very own farm, this is a great choice if you want to support local businesses. Vegans and vegetarians will appreciate the choice in broth flavours and the restaurant’s commitment to healthy options. 

  • OK Tuck Restaurant

This is one of the most popular restaurants in the Cameron Highlands for Malaysian Steamboat. Steamboat served with chicken, prawns and vegetables are served here for 2 or 3 people and cost around 50 RM in total ($12.20USD). 

Have you ever tried this Malaysian dish?

Malaysian Steamboat

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