Yummy Steamboat @ Ahimsa

Steamboat is a DIY (Do It Yourself) food, popular in Malaysia. At the restaurants, they provide a mini stove/electrical hotplate and steaming bowl. You can choose the soup and other ingredients of your choice. At times, I even wonder, why do you need to go out DIY and eat? Of course, when a large group hangs out for this kind of food, there is no end for fun:)

Every time I see people having steamboats on the roadside Chinese eateries, I was tempted to try, but unfortunately, all served only non-vegetarian. In those places, the soup always had chicken stock or seafood as its base. At Ahimsa, a nearby Chinese Vege restaurant, they have vegetarian steamboat, but until a couple of days ago, I couldn't get proper company to tryout the dish. My friend, Grace Tan agreed to accompany me.

After discussing, we decided to go for the smallest set on the menu, which turned out to be a lot for just two of us...

I tried to label all the items on the plate, but it looks pretty unreadable on this post. So, here goes the list:

Tofu - Soya milk based chunks, similar to Milk based Indian Paneer
Seaweed coated tofu
Tofu skin - dried bean curd
Few variety of mushrooms
Fake Prawns - made of dunno what flour!
Two types of fake meat - also made of "dunno what flour", but supposed to taste like chicken and mutton...
Mixed vegetables - Chinese cabbage, carrot, greens, long beans

There was even fake fish ball, but I couldn't stand the smell, we asked it to be replaced with mushrooms.

The attendant told us that we could choose two types of soup, which can be re-filled, free of cost! First, I was puzzled, how can we choose two variety when there is one bowl to steam...then I understood how, when I opened the bowl:) After making few queries, we settled for Chinese Herbal soup and Tom yam soup.

I was thinking that everything should be dumped in one shot...but I learnt from my friend that we should be adding few items at a time and when it is ready, we serve it and then add the next round, so that the ingredients don't get soggy.

As per Indian style, the main course would be either roti or rice varieties, which is accompanied by "side dishes". But, here it is the reverse. My friend suggested that we keep the mee (noodles) for the last round...her explanation was that "side dishes" are the main course and we should enjoy them first before filling up with mee. Yet another expat experience.

Then, I was told that the items in the soup taste better when dipped in sauce. And I was not sure, which flavor to select. After tasting few sauces, we selected Thai Chilly sacuce and Nyonya sauce.

I prefer to taste the original flavor of the items before adding any other dressing. Well, in this case I liked original, and then Thai Chilly sauce, which gave a tangy and spicy flavor. But, I was not that pleased with the Nyonya sauce, maybe it is an acquired taste. (Usually, Malay styled Chinese food is referred as Nyonya food)

For the second round, we prepared the ingredients in tom yam soup. After a re-fill, and loosing cont of how many bowls of soup we had, finally we decided to call it a meal:) 

When we took stock of what was still left, I realized that my friend was right, yes, we ended up without eating mee, because we were too the taste still lingers...wish I could go again with a large group of friends, who are willing to have vegge steamboat^^

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