Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kelong Restaurant Citra Utama 188 @ Batam Island [Near Barelang Bridges]

From memory; every time i visited Batam Island, the tour guide would bring us to the exact same seafood restaurant known as 933 and maybe because it was part of the package, the food wasn't great and i often had to seek additional options to fill the stomach.

In our recent day trip to the island, we specifically told Mr Iwan (the main coordinator for our rented car arrangement) that we would prefer somewhere different, better and were brought to this rustic looking place. 

Without the signboard, i would honestly think this were a lazy fishing village that was economically wealthy enough to build sheltered walkways for the residents!

Free range chickens - like many customers of the kelong restaurant, we did wonder if this would be served as one of our dishes later on. 

Humans are complicated creatures; on one hand, we would like to eat like the locals and experience the local life yet on the other hand, we could not help but cringe at the sight of unsanitary conditions. Well, at least the premise didn't stink like a rubbish dump!  

The long walk in!

Notice the numerous man-made fish cage structures in the seas; i don't see many boats around so i guess pollution has not become an issue here. Basically, food should be safe for consumption. 

Reaching the main wooden building that housed the reception of the kelong restaurant.

Further in (yes, more walking is required) was the seating area; unlike seafood restaurants in Singapore, you don't get the overcrowding feel where tables are literally side by side and you have a good chance of bumping into the chairs of the neighbouring tables. 

View, which wasn't much if not for the Barelang Bridges (Tengku Fisabilillah bridge) that provided a beautiful backdrop!

Two seating sections were available and just in case you are wondering, there wasn't any air-conditioning; do welcome the natural sea breeze instead. Anyway, you can choose from either the fixed structural area or the floating area.

I guess it would be more interesting to select the latter but i am super prone to motion sickness and hence, opted for the seating area that was fixated to the seabed using the wooden stilts! 

Next to the floating platform was the live seafood section; the above picture actually showed the physical link between the fixed and floating sections.  

For the kids, the live seafood area was an eye-opener! Pity their uncle me wasn't knowledgeable in the specific marine animals and could not go beyond, prawns, clams, lobsters and fishes! 

This gentleman was enjoying his prawning session. 

After seeing a staff pulled up the net full of clams, Jovyn earnestly did the same and with her baby milk power (and strong arms), it was an easy feat! 

Okay, i have written too much and it's time to look through the menu and make our order. It was your typical seafood tze char kind of dishes and didn't take us long to decide.

Crab is a must and we were given the option of 'reviewing' the live and kicking product before the kitchen gleefully slaughtered the crustacean. Don't be sad; i would eat it happily to respect its sacrifice! Sound morbid though....

Items on our table; the container kept our steamed white rice which was chargeable at 5,000 rupiah per person; we ordered for only five persons yet we felt it was a bit too much for our family. 

Coconut Juice - as you can see, this was an old coconut and as expected, the juice wasn't sweet and the flesh, though soft, wasn't very soft. Plus, it wasn't chilled beforehand. 

Stir Fried Baby Kailan - normal tasting; i wouldn't expect much variation from this dish and we had this purely due to its healthier label as a green vegetable.

Fried Sotong - given its pale appearance, i would never have though they were so flavourful and fresh; would have benefited from a thicker cut. 

Furong Egg - i used to think this was an easy dish; however, it has been quite a while since i last had a plate of authentic tasting furong egg with a strong infusion of wok hei! This was pretty good but i would have classified it as an onion egg with a layer of diluted tomato sauce. 

Hot Plate Tofu - unexciting.

Beancurd Soup - didn't turn out to be the healthier, soupier version we assumed it to be; it was more a thickened soup and since this was ordered for the kids who are soup drinkers, the texture was unfortunately a turnoff for them.

Taste wise, unspectacular and the one word that came to mind when i recollected back our day was "ginger"; there were so many slices of them in the soup!

Salted Egg Yolk Crab - i have been craving for crabs for a long time (the expensive pricing was a major deterrent preventing me from having any) and this was just salty; deviating from the usual salty - sweet flavour Singaporeans are more accustomed to.

Chilli Crab - more tomato than chilli, it had just that slight tinge of spiciness. I did like the freshness of the meat although the two sisters begged to differ. If the crab were bigger, there's a higher chance that they would like it better! 

Done with lunch! Want to guess how much it cost us? Look below!

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Location
Sebelum Jembatan 1 Barelang, 
Kampung Tiawangkang, Batam, 
Riau, Indonesia

Contact Number
(0778) 7821188

Price 
As above. Including of a glass of orange juice and three coconuts, the damage was about S$51 for my family of five adults and two kids. 

Additional Information
Just a few pictures of the functional fishing village which was known as Kampung Tua Tiang Wangkang! If you have a keen eye, you might have noted that one of the structures is likely a toilet and you don't see any pipe running underneath it. 

Some of the staff members of the kelong restaurants lived in the islands as shown in the first photograph and would take the ferry to and fro work. 

As there is a number on the ferry, i believe you can also arrange for an offshore island visit if you have time! 


For more information on my day trip to Batam and contact details to rent a car with a private chauffeur, please click here

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