The One With Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock – Sitiawan Seafood At Its Very Best

If you have just started to follow this blog, you may be surprised to know that I am not a Hong Kong local. Okay, maybe you might get the hints that I relocated here from Singapore, but yet I am not a Singaporean. I grew up in a small town called Menglembu in Malaysia, where my earliest food memories were made. It has been more than ten years since I moved away from home, but yet I remember some food places like a piece of history etched permanently in memory.

And rightfully so, for Malaysia is famous for its varied, delicious food. I could rattle all night long of my favourite Malaysian restaurants, or I could tell you that ONE seafood place which I will always, always remember. During my recent trips back home, I even demanded my family to make the one-hour journey to this obscure restaurant in the middle of nowhere near the town of Sitiawan.

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock is the place. Funny name of a restaurant, eh? Never mind the name. Let me tell you about its food. This meal took place over a year ago, but to this day I still remember the details. Vividly.

Sweet & Sour Fish Maw With Sea Cucumber

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

Succulent fish maws cooked with soft sea cucumber with a touch of shrimps, cooked in a sour, starchy tomato broth. You know, they should consider replacing shark fins with a phenomenal dish like this one.

Oyster Omelet

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

Maybe I should rename this as oily oyster omelet. Yes, it is extremely greasy – I can feel my waistline expanding just by thinking of it – yet like all fattening food this was extremely good. More commonly known as “hou jian” in the local dialect, it’s a tantalising mix of batter, eggs, oysters… and plenty of oil. Yum.

Deep Fried Garfish

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

More commonly known as “sar jui yu” – crispy, deep fried garfish. I remember when I was younger, I used to ask for an entire plate of this for myself. I love it so much that I can eat every single piece of eat whole, with bones and all. Crunchy on the outside, juicy on the itself (okay, that sounded like fried chicken). Yes, it can be prickly, so be careful, but that was part of the fun of eating this signature dish. It’s a perfect start to a seafood meal here.

Steamed Flower Crabs

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

A simple dish done surprisingly well. The crabs were not as big as I hope it was (I know they looked big in the photos!), but they were steam fresh; perfect to go with a condiment of your choice. I would recommend vinegar with thinly sliced ginger, like those you eat with xiao long bao.

Stir Fried Crabs

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

Yet another variation of crabs. Stir fried with plenty of onions, garlic with a strong taste of shallot. Perfect.

Steamed Scallops With Garlic

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

This gotta one of the hugest scallops I have ever seen in my life. Served with minced fresh garlic with bits of chopped cili padi (bird’s eye chillies), the scallops were succulent and juicy. Hmmm… it seems like I used these two adjectives a lot to describe good seafood. But hey, they are succulent and juicy!

Stir Fried Cockles

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

Not a fan of cockles? You should. It can be done in many different ways; the stir fired version was good, though I do prefer the raw-ish version. Half cooked cockles dipped in sambal belacan. But my family vetoed idea. Bummer, so I had to make do with these.

How do you know the dinner was as great as I described? Here’s the proof:

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

Everything – and I do mean everything! – was polished clean.

A word about the restaurant. We arrived somewhat in the middle of afternoon, probably around 3 p.m., so the place was (surprisingly) empty. We were one of the two tables taking an outside table. My family took over four leisurely hours eating and chatting and chilling out, and closer to dinner time the place started to fill up. So if you do visit, your best bet is to arrive NOT at meal time.

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant

Verdict? The very best of Malaysian seafood, and I am only slightly exaggerating. Seafood lovers will never know what hit them.

Ah Pek Lee Kou Hock Seafood Restaurant
135, Kampung Cina
32000 Sitiawan, Perak.
6012 540 9478

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