Using the Ipoh-Lumut Highway, Federal route 5 that is a major highway connecting Ipoh in the east until Lumut in the west, is a breeze! We can actually make it to Tanjung Tualang (TT) in just 45 minutes. This highway was upgraded from single carriageway to dual carriageway approximately 3 years ago and is fantastically wide, well made and spacious.
I spy with my eye, live and kicking river prawns and I know that a fantastic dinner is just around the corner.
Lung Seng Tanjung Tualang – everybody needs to make this ‘holy’ pilgrimage to the mecca of freshwater prawns and all things crustacean at least once in their life-time. As a matter of fact, KL city folk don’t mind the 2 hour drive to Tanjung Tualang in Perak just to satisfy their yearning for delicious freshwater prawns. Since I was just a mere 45 minutes drive from TT, I was not about to give up the golden opportunity to go visit the place.
Apparently they don’t come fresher than this (swimming outside in tanks) and the cooks actually drop them into ice water for five minutes to stun them before they prepare them for cooking. This retains the springy texture and flavour in the meat. Awesome!
Butter river prawns – good to pre-book.
You will also spot live fish and nipah crabs in a wall of tanks at one end of the corner shop lot. The restaurant is a no-frills outlet which suits the food just fine because, with all the prawns and crabs, you just want to dig in with your fingers and lick them .. not sit in some dainty joint using silver cutlery.
Except for the weekday lunch hour, most customers come here for the freshwater prawns which can be cooked anyway you like. Prawns (RM15 per 100g) are charged by the weight and each weigh between 150g and 250g. Massive!
The teem kai (frogs legs) where on the tasteless side and slightly rubbery. That is why it comes with the brands essence of chicken that they pour over the frog’s legs. My colleagues drank up all the sauce afterwards.
Soon Hock Fish or Marbled Goby is one of the high-end fresh water fishes that my colleagues love to order. The flesh of the Soon Hock is firm and taut and extremely sweet and it actually looks like a large, grouper fish. The steamed version they have in Tualang is delicious. Cooked to perfection, we polished off the fish in 10 minutes flat.
One of my colleagues commented that this looks like the head of a Platypus!
What can I say? The head of the river prawn totally rocks. Crunching into it with your teeth , you will feel the gushing of creamy, cholestrolic roe and brain matter (do prawns have brains?) neural fluids, whatever .. the flavour, sweetness and richness that slinks down your throat is like no other experience on earth. The prawns are also great in sang har meen. One is enough to turn an ordinary dish of noodles into a gourmet meal.
Then there are crabs. The ones serve at Lung Seng are Ketam Nipah that live under water. If you take them out of water, they die and that is why you will see them swimming in tanks of water outside the restaurant. I love the steamed crab (with egg) and also the chili crab. This goes fantastically well with the deep fried dumplings (man-tau) that you use to soak up the sauce with.
My gosh, this is the most addictive thing – dipping the bread into the sauce.
Steamed crabs – eggy, sweet and good till the last claw. I love this place. I will keep coming back every time I am in Ipoh.Add: Lung Seng,
10 Jalan Besar
31800 Tanjung Tualang, Perak
Open daily from 11.30 a.m. – 9.00 p.m.
(Call for reservations and to order your River Prawns, that way, you avoid tears and disappointment! )