Original Nyonya Recipe | Chai Buey (Leftover Vegetables Stew) – The Best Kept Secret

Chai Bui, Chai Buey or Kiam Chai Buey, all of these are Hokkien (Chinese) dialect that refers to the leftover vegetables stew. When I was a child, after each great feast of festivities, there were always lots of leftover dishes ranging from poultry, pork to vegetables. Hence, to salvage all these my grandmother combined them in a large pot, then stewed for a few hours and it would turn out to be a dishes that no one can resist. Presenting all variety of colors, tantalizing savory taste that includes a part of hot, tangy and yummy (sweet), Chai Buey is always a perfect, appetizing dish even with steamed rice alone. What a wonderful, creative turnaround eh!

Kiam Chai Buey - Chinese Leftover Vegetables Stew
Kiam Chai Buey – Chinese Leftover Vegetables Stew

Despite the dish is like haven in a pot, not many know the secrets to cook a fresh, original Chai Buey from scratch. Combining lots of ingredients, it can be a resource challenge or time constraint as its preparation and stewing may take up to 2 or 3 hours. 

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Penang Bukit Tambun Seafood Restaurant @ How Kee

Bukit Tambun is synonym to the best place for Penang seafood, though some may confuse you with fancy names include Floating Restaurant, Bagan Prawn Village, Seafood Restaurant, Gee Seng or even Cia Xiang (fragrance house), all refer to the same ‘hotspot’ – Juru or Bukit Tambun or Batu Kawan seafood on the mainland of Penang.
Chili Crab
The Best of Tambun Seafood Restaurant

It had been ages since my last seafood treat, so when a friend organized a Christmas gathering, I shouted ‘Tambun seafood’ straight away. Recommended by a local that How Kee as the best place for Tambun seafood with reasonable price, we went straight without second thought. Driving out of the island in 2 cars, we vroomed passed Penang Bridge, continued south on North-South Highway, then exited at ‘Bukit Tambun’. From the toll booth, we followed the direction to Batu Kawan Stadium. It were merely 5 minutes and How Kee Seafood Village sits on the left hand side on the main road. If you need navigation assistance, then pluck the GPS coordinates at the bottom of this post into your WAZE or Google Map.

La-la @ Steamed clams with lemon juiceSteamed fish
Yes, finally the long awaited moment arrived.

Armed with 9 growling tummies and 9 salivating mouths, we went for all kind of exotic seafood. Led by a local foodie friend, our menu was composed of chili crabs, steamed prawn mantis in wine, steamed clams (la-la) with ginger and lemon juice, bamboo shrimps with a twist of Nyonya flavors, deep fried calamari, steamed grouper in soy sauce, stir fried Chinese spinach and a platter of stir-fried seafood noodles.

Steamed prawn mantis with wineBamboo shrimps - Nyonya StyleStir fried water spinachDeep fried calamariStir fried seafood noodles recipe
Riding on our luxurious menu, a bottle of hard liquor to accompany the alcoholic fans (BYO), a jug of nutmeg juice and a bottle of plain water.
VSOP Cognac Courvoisier
As soon as the first dish landed on our dining table, it was gone in merely minutes. And that’s was just the appetizer – stir fried noodles. Bamboo shrimps came next followed by the rest in a row, and the last – chili crabs that took the center stage whereby wooden hammers took up the show to break the shells, in order to reach out for the juicy, fresh flesh. Yum..yum..A good tip that I learned from this Tambun seafood trip, always lick or wipe clean the sauces that wrapping the crabs before hammering then you’d spare the chance of getting messy chili stains or splashes all over and around.

We paid a total of RM532 for 9 people, it means almost 60 bucks for a just-nice seafood dinner, not overwhelming in term of size but absolutely a luxury mess.

A treat of great seafood & a toast to our friendship!
How Kee Seafood @ Bukit Tambun
p.s. And we dropped by at Juru Auto City flea market for shopping on the way back to the island.

Getting there?
Restoran How Kee Seafood Village 
Jalan Bukit Tambun, Bukit Tambun, 14100 Simpang Ampat, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia ‎
Phone: +60 4-588 2736 or 012-5759534  or 017-4185075
Opening hours: 11 am through 12 am daily.

GPS Coordinates: 5.273486,100.450015