Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fatman Steamboat

No, I'm not saying the guy is fat. Or the steamboat serves a fat man. Ok. Let's just get serious. It's the company name of the truck that transforms into a steamboat stall. It still puzzles me. How on earth do they manage to stuff everything onto the van. Food, ice blocks, equipment and all.

Anyhow, spotting such a truck is a common sight. You see them in the morning, noon and even in the wee hours of the morning. Usually by the roadside, everywhere, anytime. For this particular stall, I found it at Bandar Sg. Long near Utar college. This one operates everyday from 2pm-2am.

Fatman Steamboat serves up a selection of food that is non halal. Meaning that they do serve pork. Most of the food stuffs are partially cooked. Like fish balls, meatballs, squid balls, sausages, seafood taufu, to raw stuffs like sotong, cockles, kangkung, chicken liver and gizzard, and pig intestines. Not up to it? There are ready cooked ones too like char siew, century eggs, quail eggs, and taufu pok stuffed with cucumber. All of which is skewered with different colour codings and lengths... to help the operator to charge you accordingly.


The concept is similar to that of a fondue. To Malaysians we call it as lok-lok (Chinese) or satay celup (Malay). Satay means skewered meat and celup means to dip. And lok-lok means to dip in boiling water/stock.

How to eat?
Simply step up to any of these stalls. The operator will usually hand you half a polystyrene take-away food container as a plate. Grab a stick and dip it into the furiously boiling pot of stock. Be careful. Scald or cook it depending on what you take. Those skewered by toothpick are usually not to be dipped. Ask the operator if unsure.

There are 4 types of sauces available. Sweet sauce, satay sauce, and two variety of chili sauces. They're placed next to the hot pot. Never ever dip your food into them. Use the spoon/ladle provided please. Mix and match the sauces to your liking. When done eating, place the sticks on the table top, separating from the other customers, call the operator and he'll charge ya.

As for me, I've always liked fishballs. I know we can get fishballs just anywhere but it is fun. Dipping and cooking there. The waiting and ambience makes it tastier. My favourite combinations:
  1. Fishballs + sweet sauce. (all time fav)
  2. Century egg + sweet sauce (weird but nice to me)
  3. Seafood taufu + chili sauce (the sour one)
  4. Hock chiew balls + chili sauce + sweet sauce + satay sauce
  5. Scald kangkung and sotong + combination of satay sauce and a lil sweet sauce, yummm... just like sotong kangkung!

You might be thinking, it's unhygienic. Dipping into the same pot of boiling stock. Raw food and sauce uncovered. Well... I don't know for sure how unhygienic can it be since the stock is constantly boiling. One thing for sure is that if the colour of the raw stuffs are off or it smells bad, or better yet, a swimming fly in the sauce... just stay away from them.

Like any other street food, forget about 5 star services. Just dig in and enjoy.