Last night, I joined my friends and their families for dinner at Zhen Wei 珍味阁海鲜 at Taman Setia Indah, Johor Bahru. We had a great time, enjoying the food and each others' company.
Inside Zhen Wei, it's simply furnished but bright, clean and comfortable. There are also two private rooms which we can book for parties. Our party was assigned one of these rooms.
The first dish to arrive was this stewed lamb 砂煲羊蘭 in claypot at RM40 for large serving. The tender lamb tripe, meat and a bit of ribs were enveloped in a thick savoury slightly herbal sauce. There was very little gaminess which was hardly discernable underneath the savoury herbal sauce.
My friends enjoyed this dish a lot as they do not like lamb gaminess. As for me, it would be perfect if there was a slight gaminess. Anyway, I feel this dish is value for money for RM40 as there was a lot of meat in the claypot.
My friends all like this Crispy Honey Chicken 沙皮雞 RM47.50. We like the chicken skin's crispness and the savoury sweet sauce.
Stewed Giant Grouper fish 龙趸 in a claypot for RM96.
Lots of gelatin and collagen in the thick jelly gummy fish skin. The grouper fish was served in large meaty chunks with mildly savoury stewing sauce with sweet notes. Giant Grouper is one of Zhen Wei's signature dishes. One of the must try dishes at Zhen Wei.
Indonesian Style Prawns 印尼蝦 for RM80.
Huge sea prawns in a creamy spicy curry. Little Meryl didn't like the pungent aroma of spices as it rises to her nose while taking this picture. Disclosure: We coaxed Meryl to smile for the camera 😂 But, the adults relished the aromatic flavoursome spices in the curry made with evaporated milk.
I couldn't resist drinking spoonfuls of the curry. Oh, by the way, the meaty fresh sea prawns (when shelled they are bigger than my fleshy thumb) were crunchy and sweet 😋 I love this.
Thai Style River Prawns 泰式水蝦 RM120. Meaty river prawns halved, lightly battered, deep fried and then tossed in a Thai style savoury spicy sauce.
Then, we are ready for the crabs! 😍
Salted Egg Yolk Crabs 鹹蛋黃金螃蟹 RM109.20.
We all love this salted egg yolk crab as it was meaty and fresh, and the sauce was just right for us. The smooth, rich, creamy salted egg sauce was savoury and sweet, leaning slightly on the sweet side. The meat of the live Indonesian crabs was sweet and ocean fresh.
Chili Crab 辣子螃蟹 RM110.
The sauce didn't have layered savouriness but it's savoury sweetness have a nice mild bite from fresh chilies. The same meaty ocean fresh live crabs. Likeable but the salted egg crabs got all the attention 😄
Of course, we had a dozen fried buns RM12. Crispy outside and fluffy spongy inside, they are perfect for lapping up the salted egg yolk and chili sauce.
三王九枝菜 Gao kee cai vegetable with three types of eggs RM25. Nice leafy greens with layered flavours from salted eggs, century eggs and fresh eggs. A pleasant and delicious way to have our greens for the meal 😋
For carbs, we had this large plate of char kway teow with blood cockles RM15. Well....., we finished all the char kway teow 😆 We like the slight caramelisation on some of the noodles, the crunchy bean sprouts and the fresh blood cockles. At Zhen Wei, they buy live blood cockles and extract the meat one by one by hand, so the cockles are fresh and taste good!
On the way out after our scrumptious meal, I saw workers getting ready to slaughter and fillet a live Giant Grouper. The Giant Grouper is delivered live to Zhen Wei. The fish is kept in a tank for a week to purge it's stomach before it is slaughtered and cooked.
Our total bill came to RM620 (including GST, tea, rice, peanuts and disposable wet towels).
Owner Chef Xiong started as an apprentice at the famous New Lucky restaurant in Sri Tebrau when he was a teenager. He set up his own restaurant Zhen Wei after nearly 20 years at New Lucky.
4-Star I am always very hesitant to recommend seafood restaurants because consistency is often a challenge especially when a restaurant becomes very crowded. Still, I am glad to recommend Zhen Wei because owner Chef Ah Xiong 阿雄 personally does all the cooking in the kitchen, so we don't have to worry about consistency. Chef Xiong also personally visits the wet market every morning to select his supplies, so we get hand picked fresh seafood. We wish Chef Xiong the best and keeps up the good work at Zhen Wei 😄
Restaurant name: Restoran Zhen Wei 珍味阁海鲜
Address: 23-25, Jalan Setia 10/10, Taman Setia Indah, Johor Bahru
GPS: 1.571643, 103.766638 / 1°34'17.9"N 103°45'59.9"E
Tel: 016 7109 085
Hours: 2:00pm to 12:00 midnight (Mon to Fri) / (Opens at 1:00pm on weekends)
Date visited: 16 Mar 2016, 17 Sept 2016
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