BY CK Lam
We could not resist the offer from our friends to track down the crab clay pot rice at Kedai Makanan Jia Hian. We travel over to Simpang Ampat Penang to enjoy the simple pleasure of this fabulous rice dish.
Kedai Makanan Jia Hian is another neighbourhood cze char place. Previously located in the corner house on Taman Merak Jaya, it has since shifted to a shop house in nearby Taman Idaman.
The signature dish is obviously the crab clay pot rice. We could see that most tables have at least a pot or two of this dish.
Jia Hian signature crab clay pot rice
An impressive array of male and female crabs are supplied daily to the restaurant. You get to choose the number of crabs and if you don’t want to go to the trouble of picking your own, the workers are more than happy to do it for you. Interestingly, we were shown their differences, with the male having a triangle shaped flap while the female with a smooth oval-shaped flap.
Diners decide the number of crabs needed and of course, will be charged according to the market price. We ordered a pot that comes with roe crabs.
Our orders did not take long to arrive though the place is crowded. The clay pot rice is the first to arrive on the table. The aroma of the crabs and baked rice wafted around the table when the lid is lifted off.
The rice is nicely moist, hot and fluffy and with each mouthful filled with the sweetness of the crab. The crab roe is guiltily delicious especially when mix with the rice. The bottom of the pot however did not have the charred crispy burnt rice which was what would have make it nicer for us.
Other popular dishes are the curry fish, roast duck (pei pak arp) and stew pig trotter. We had half a portion of the roasted duck. The portion is rather small and the duck is not plump. It is served with chili and Chinese sweet barbeque sauce. The meat is a bit tough and needs a hard thug to remove them from the bone.
The stew pig trotter comes with the bones intact. The skin is glossy and the meat fell off the bone easily when we cut it. The taste of the dish reminds me of those imported tin cans stew pig trotter from China. The meat is soft with a good bite. The sauce is light and smooth, not too over powering with hints of Chinese herbs.
The claypot curry fish fails to meet our expectation as the fish is cooked with curry powder rather than freshly grounded curry spices. It lacked that lush aroma of fresh spices, but the ingredients are aplenty with fresh fish, lady fingers, onions and tomatoes.
The last dish is the sweet potato leaves fried with chilli and medium size prawns. We would prefer if they prepared it with dried shrimps for a more pungent and robust taste.
Click here for the google Map Location.
Kedai Makanan Jia Hian
No 2 Jalan Idaman
14100 Simpang Ampat
Seberang Perai Selatan
11.30am – 3pm
5.30pm – 10pm
Closed on Mondays
* This is a reproduction of my article published in Makansutra