Eating, food and steamboat in
Cameron Highlands

Night view of the walkway where patrons are having a steamboat meal.

"Makan!" that's what the local says when going for a meal. Looking for a meal in Cameron Highlands is simply easy. With so many available choices, you can never savor them all at once. Good food, it is a celebration of life! Our penchant for eating and trying out new cuisine give rise to the many varieties of style and ethnicity.

Malay, Chinese, Indian and Western, take your pick! We have the ever popular steamboat, nasi lemak, roti chanai, satay¬Ö Uh, if you are not from around here, you'll be asking, what kind of food are these?

Let's see if I can explain. Of course pictures are worth a thousand words, but can never replace the culinary experience of trying it out first hand!

Typical steamboat found in Cameron Highlands

Let's start with steamboat; this is not your riverboat variety, rather it is a pot of boiling soup heated constantly by gas stove fire, or for a rare one of kind, heated by charcoal fire. Uncooked chicken, fish, prawn, various kinds of meatballs, fish balls, crabsticks, variety of vegetables, tofu, noodles, beehun and eggs are served on plates to the patron.

The patron will then proceed with putting some portion of the above into the boiling cauldron of soup till it is full. If there is a cover for the pot, use it, as it will cook the dishes faster. For the uninitiated, here's a rough guide: normally, the meat dishes goes into the pot first as they take longer to cook. Prawns cook real fast so a quick dip till it turns red and it can be taken out to eat. Tofus thrown in tend to break to pieces while rummaging for grub, this is normal, just eat the pieces whenever you scoop it out.

The utensils of steamboat meal
Oh, the restaurant should pass out two types of ladle, one with holes in it and one without. The ladle with holes is to scoop out the grub without scooping out the soup thereby flooding your tiny bowl with soup. Soup is to be savored midway or later as it would be most tasty after boiling countless meat and vegetables.

Charcoal steamboat at Highlands Restaurant in Brinchang.
Vegetables are usually thrown in sometimes halfway through your meal but there is no fix rule, you can throw them in anytime you feel like it. Noodles, beehun and eggs are usually the last to go in. Noodles and beehun get cooked really fast, all it needs is just a dip for a minute and you are good to go. Scoop some soup to your bowl of noodles or beehun to complete the dish. For variety, some restaurant serves what they call "Ying Yong" steamboat, where there is a partition in the pot separating it into two halves. The reason for that is to have two different kinds of soup to make your steamboat experience more interesting. Depending on the restaurant, there is a choice of usual plain soup, herbal soup, or for those who like a kick, the spicy tom yam soup!

Wait a minute! I listed three types of soup, and there is only two halves! Yeah, you can only choose any two out of three choices.

One popular steamboat is the charcoal steamboat. It is only available in Highland Restaurant located at Brinchang. The charcoal gives it an interesting smoked aroma to the dish. Only one choice of soup though. If you got the chance, try it soon. Heard the owners are planning to retire from the restaurant business. No one else is using the charcoal for steamboat. I guess it is troublesome to use charcoal for steamboat.

A kiln that is used for making naan & tandori chicken.

For Indian cuisine, there is the ever popular Banana Leaf Rice consisting of plain white rice with a mix of vegetables variety and papadams placed on banana leaf standing in as a plate, hence the name.

A variety of meat dishes can be chosen to complete the meal. Choices include chicken, mutton, beef, fish cooked in various styles of curry or deep fried with spices added.

If you happen to come a across a kiln in an Indian restaurant, those are for making tandori chicken and naan. And not to forget the ever popular Indian bread known as roti chanai that goes very well with a cup of pulled tea what we call it as teh tarik.

For good value Southern Indian food, try the Restaurant No. 14 in Tanah Rata.

A row of food stalls.

There are many variety of Malay food that can be found in Cameron Highlands. Hop over to the food stalls opposite the main row of shops in Jalan Besar. They are usually inexpensive. Some of the more popular Malay food includes the Nasi Lemak, and Satay.

Nasi Lemak translated literally means oily rice! Actually it is not oil but rather santan - derived from coconut milk - which gives the nice aroma fragrance to the rice. Nasi Lemak is sometimes packed in a pyramid shaped packing using banana leaf and oilskin paper. The rice is sprinkled with fried peanuts, "ikan bilis" (anchovies), cucumbers, and completed with curry and sambal gravy.

Depending on the shop, some meat like chicken or "sotong" (squid) may be added to make a complete simple meal.

Of course there are much more varieties of food that I have not mentioned. So roam around the towns of Cameron Highlands, you just might find something intriguing!

Related pages:

Let's Makan!

Cameron Highlands Food Blog! Have Your Say!

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Cameron Highland Restaurant OK Tuck 
OK Tuck is a very famous restaurant in Cameron Highland with reasonal price at brinchang nearby pasar malam.They have steam boat @ RM16 per head and the …

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