One of our restaurant regulars, Phil, had his 50th birthday party at Goodies this week, affording me the opportunity to try out something new in the way of food. Phil married a local girl, Reni, and they have a new baby. Phil’s parents, sister and brother all flew in from Perth, Australia, for the occasion. The flight to Singapore is about 4-5 hours, followed by a taxi ride to the ferry terminal and the one-hour ferry across the strait to Batam.
It’s a pretty substantial trip for his parents, who are pretty elderly. His mother hasn’t spoken to his dad in 20 years, I was told, and I’m not sure that the mother and some of the family are too keen on the “marrying a young Indonesian woman” thing. Still some allegiances to the first wife, I’m told. Anyway, everyone seemed to have a good time, except mom.
The main meal was called Steamboat, a Chinese favorite dining format. There was alo food from the grill available for those who preferred Western food.
Steamboat goes likes this: First, you grab a bowl and an under-plate for the bowl, as the final dish will be quite hot. Then you start at one end of a buffet line, where the raw seafood is. We had calamari, whitefish and prawns. You are basically making a soup so you take what you want. Then you have a selection of fresh vegetables – cabbage, baby keylan, carrots, mushrooms. Then you have a choice of several condiments, like chopped green onions, coriander, etc. You can also add hot peppers.
At the end of the line were two pots of boiling brown liquid. Here, you first put in your vegetables to simmer for a couple of minutes. Then you add the seafood for a minute. Then you scoop it all out into your bowl. The broth we cooked the food in turned out to be pretty spicy but the soup was excellent. Steamboat soup.