Wednesday, March 17, 2010

kelong dinner @ Bintan pt I

So my husband's family, we all went to Bintan (baby included) over the weekend, to reside in the company bungalow that my bro-in-law rented.

Ok, so the term 'bungalow' is too humble to describe the 5-bedroom, 2-storey Villa Angsoka at Bintan Lagoon Resort; that is semi-seaview and has its own swimming pool, bbq pit & buggy.

Anyway, we brought in a whole load of food to sustain us while we're there (enough to get us into serious trouble; should we be traveling Down Under). People in holiday mood = ravenous folks. Was it any surprise that the food eventually ran out by the 2nd day?

So we're kinda 'forced' to go out for dinner. I suggested a Nasi Padang restaurant (where they'll put out a table-ful of dishes) and the old folks got excited cos' they recalled seeing one when trooping down to the little town the day before.

But when they arranged to have the 2 hired cars fetch us at 2000hrs Indo time (which is really 9pm SG time) we eventually realise the the food might just run out by then...

Enquired with the hire drivers and they were quick to 'suggest' a kelong (a form of offshore platform built predominantly with wood, to rear fish) restaurant for a seafood dinner. They remarked that the one at our hotel is very expensive and that one is much cheaper. Hmm... Earning some commission here?

It was a tedious 1/2hr drive out where we realised that the area where the resorts are located is called Lagoi and it's totally segregated from the residential area. We even have to pass through a sentry post when coming in and out of Lagoi. No wonder we can't find any housing when traveling from the ferry terminal to our resort!

And do you know that the land belonging to Bintan Lagoon resort is soo big that it's a 10min drive (in total darkness, at night) before reaching the entrance from the main complex itself??

Anyway, we noticed the sign for Bintan Sayang Resort at the entrance on this kelong restaurant so I assume this place to be a complex of its own.

The fare is seafood - the same type that we Singaporeans are used to. Such a disappointment, especially when I'm sooo looking forward to eating Nasi Padang - the real deal!

A tad too many pictures here so I'll just separate the entry into 2 different posts...

fish-rearing area

It's evident that they rear the fish here, thereby attesting their freshness as they're 'fished-out' from there upon our order.

my family in the distance

Taken from the other end. This kelong is pretty big, I tell you! The dining area can feed like over 200 pax. Thankfully we came when they're empty or we'll have to suffer from waiting!

holding area for the shellfish and crustaceans

In the foreground, the first compartment is the holding area for the cockles. Pretty big ones, I'd say.


The same species of crabs were kept in 2 differents holding areas. Notice that fish head floating there. I guess the crabs feed on that.. They're carnivores, no?

Scallops with flower & blue crabs

If I'm the one making orders, I'll gladly include the scallops and see how they'll prepare it... Chinese style? Western style? Or Indo style?

And I rather have those ketam bunga (flower crabs) & ketam renjong (blue crabs) over the Sri Lankan crabs ANYTIME.

Sadly, that's not the case so I just anticipate the dishes ordered by the 'seniors' instead.

mussels and i-dunno-what-fish

Wonder how they'll prepare the mussels.. Soup just like the way my mum does it? Or stir-fried?

In the last compartment, I noticed some live crayfish which I also consider, the 'poor-man's lobster'. I wonder how they'll prepare that, too.

Fresh coconut juice

Half the table ordered this; seeing that it's a pretty warm night out. I was lucky to get a really young coconut where the flesh is the sweet, translucent type.

Jus Alpukat / Avocado juice

Readily available at any Indonesian eatery... Wasn't surprised when I found out that it's my mum-in-law who ordered this.

Fresh avocado blended and poured our ice and mixed with a bit of gula Aren (palm sugar).

boiled cockles

From the holding area above, I assume? This shellfish is larger that the one that we're used to back here in SG. And the surface is kinda hairy so it's pretty icky to the touch.

But the meat is plump, juicy and sweet. Attributed by their freshness, no doubt.

condiments - dips for cockles

I don't mind that chili sauce (spicy!) but that soy sauce is really, really salty. Guess I'm just too used to the sweet sauce that's usually served in Malaysia.

More pics of other foods in the next post!

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