"...Can call all you want but there's no one home, you're not gonna reach my telephone. I out in the club and I'm sippin that bub, you're not gonna reach my telephone..."
I don't know why but my mind has been busy buzzin Lady Gaga's 'Telephone' for the past few weeks as I extended invitation after invitation to very busy people for a visit to (where else?), Restaurant Talipon along Jalan Kuchai Lama.
The usual reply were things like:-
"Sorry, I've got wedding dinner this weekend"
"No thanks, got other plans oledi"
"Got to do household work today :-("
"I can't join. Have dinner with friends later...", bla bla bla... (Yeah, and you know who you are! :p)
Well, whether the overly negative responses to my invitations were an aversion to Lady Gaga's telephone (hmmm, maybe my constant redention of her song at the karaoke is scarring people off?), Restaurant Talipon's food itself (why????) or the SENDER himself, I leave it to the processing powers of others to fathom. :p
In any case, I still managed to scrap together a small posse of three, consisting Kam Keong, Jady and myself for a visit to staunch my intense craving for BBQ Steamboat food! :p
Once on Jalan Kuchai Lama, it is really quite hard to miss the restaurant along the side of the road. From Old Klang Road (Jalan Klang Lama), take the traffic light junction into Jalan Kuchai Lama. You'll have to go over a rather high slope, before finding a slip road running parallel called Jalan Indrahana 1.
Restaurant Talifon is right next to the signboard and across from an Air Asia advertisment promoting flights to Chengdu featuring two cute pandas(at least that's what the advertisment board was showing at the time of this writing) ;). For those with the benefit of GPS guidance (hey it's the 21st century! ;)), the coordinates for the restaurant is N 03 5.470', E101 40.842'.
We arrived at Restaurant Talipon at about 7:45pm on a Sunday night. There were still quite a number of seats available, although after 8:00pm the restaurant was packed full. :p
What I like about the place is that it is one of the few steamboat restaurants that actually allows you to BBQ your food around the soupy steamboat pot. In fact, the relative size of the pot vs the area available for the BBQ seems to imply more of an emphasis on the BBQ than the traditional steamboat soup option.
Settling down, I went over to the counter where the foods are arranged to be picked up by eager customers. Oh, and did I mention that tthe place is almost 100% self service? Chopsticks, plates, spoons, forks, bowls, sauces will have be brought back yourselves to your tables from a communal tray.
To open up the taste buds, the restaurant offers a choice of fried wan tans, fried rice, curry chicken, fried chicken and below average sushi :p. I skipped all that and went straight for the main course.
Choices for the BBQ range from black pepper marinated beef, chicken, pork, to curry powder covered fish, chicken marinated satay style and even pieces of sliced chinese sausage!
For the soupy side, you'll have a choice of clams, lala, 'see-hum', mushrooms, pork intestines, meat balls, fish balls and lots of vegetables.
When preparing the BBQ plate, don't forget to grab a few scoops of butter. They are the clumps of yellowish durian fruit looking stuff on a plastic sauce plate located on the table near the sauces. The butter is used to lubricate the BBQ plate as overtime, burnt pieces of skin and meat tend to stick to the BBQ surface rendering it eventually useless. :p
For soups, I believe there is only one standard choice as the Bangladeshi looking workers there didn't present us with alternatives. So if your idea of having steamboat is to have varieties of soups for boiling your food (ie. asam soup, herbal soup etc.), this is probably not the place for you :p.
Also, there is a 'no wastage' rule which is posted on boards located near the food pits. Apparently, 'every 100gm of food wastage you will be fined RM5'.... how much this is enforced I am not sure as a table of Thai speaking people sitting right next to us left 'unmolested' with I guess more than a few hundred grams of food left there unattended. :p
Switching to 'buffet' eating mode, Jady, Kam Keong and myself ate slowly but steadily, going for a few rounds until we were stuffed. Fortunately I had already put in a 'deposit' at the gym before I came over. ;)
For drinks, we had the standard chinese tea in a pot, although fruits juices and soft drinks are available for order. Ice creams, fruits and ice kacang are choices for dessert. The total cost per head? RM21.80 for adults and RM12.00 for children. Of course there is an extra charge for the drinks.
The crowds begin to thin after 10:30pm, the dessert table becoming more popular as people wind down from the main course.
We stuck around for a quite a while as Jady and Kam Keong exchanged 'life experiences'... ;) Only after I have received a summon from Vincent and Eric to attend our weekend football gathering at Emak Nik did I *ahem*, drop a hint that it is time to perhaps go(?). ;)
We left Restaurant Talipon at 11:00pm, stomaches full and Lady Gaga finally silenced (for a while at least). ;)