The answer is at Omah's Malaysian Restaurant, located in Port Melbourne and its newly opened restaurant in Hawthorn. Omah's boasts a fine selection of Malaysian-Nyonya cuisine and hawker (street food) favorites, many which actually brings back a lot of childhood memories for me.
I've just had what was probably one of the best meals I have had in a long, long time. Together with 12 others, we feasted on 9 mud crabs with a variety of flavors (mostly chilli crab) and a selection of other dishes and dessert. The staff at Omah's were most accommodating and they did a great job making sure all the food were promptly served and drinks were taken care of, despite a very busy night!
I simply couldn't pass on the opportunity to enjoy fresh whole coconut juice...
When the first lot of mud crabs were served, we all got down and dirty with our fingers - the way we were meant to fully enjoy the experience of eating Mud Crab! Our first crab was the Salted Egg Crab. To me, it was absolutely divine... it was delicious! I loved the fried flavors and although most people preferred the Chilli Crab just because it's good to have a lot of sauce available for the Roti bread served with the crabs, I was quite happy with this "dry" version of crab because it was very tasty!!
The Black Pepper Crab was very tasty too! I'm sorry, this post will be quite boring because I will mostly have good things to say about the crabs. All the flavors we ordered were very different, so it's like comparing apples and oranges, we can't possibly pick a favorite because they were all different.
Aahhh... CHILLI CRAB. How can you possibly go wrong with Chilli Crab?! Out of the 9 crabs we had, 6 of them were Chilli Crab. We have specifically asked for more spicy, less sweet Chill Crab and the chef delivered! We couldn't ask for super spicy, as some people were less tolerant than others. So we settled for Medium level of spicy and it was just perfect. The flavors were strong, and the sauce went really well with the Roti bread, and the crab was fresh and succulent and TASTY!! Very satisfying indeed.
The Lemongrass Crab was slightly underestimated to begin with. Although it didn't LOOK like much, it looked like Black Pepper Crab, I can speak on behalf of 4 people including myself that the flavors in the Lemongrass Crab were spectacular. Do NOT underestimate the Lemongrass Crab! A lot of people on our table decided to pass on this one because they were mostly full, so it was the lucky 4 of us at one end of the table who had the chance to devour this quite happily on our own... hehe.
As soon as the mud crabs were out of the way, we all washed our hands and tried some other dishes Omah's had to offer. Firstly was the "BK Duck" - Half a duck deboned, then pan fried. Served with a piquant sauce of chilli, Bunga Kantan (ginger flower) & a dash of lemon juice. I must admit by now, I was extremely full and just could not fit it in. I had a small taste, and it was OK, but it was very hard for the duck to outshine the fantastic crabs we just had, so I left it up to the rest to finish it up.
Next came the Char Kuay Teow - it was VERY good and very authentic. I must say a job well done considering it is very hard to find a well cooked Char Kuay Teow in Melbourne! It tasted 92% close to what an authentic Char Kuay Teow should taste like in the streets of Penang or KL or Kuching in Malaysia. All it needed was that little bit of "oomph!" and a more smoky flavor which comes from the "lingering" flavors in the traditional wok used in hawker stalls in Malaysia.
The Belachan Kang-kung.. need I say more?! Comfort food to the max. Tickles my taste buds and made me forget for one split second that I was actually in Australia. Tasted pretty much exactly like how my dad would cook it for me at home. Good stuff!!
The Kong Poh Chicken I admit was a very "Aussie" Malaysian dish, haha. I didn't even try this one so I can't really comment!
The Five Spiced Calamari that nearly did not make it to our table because we couldn't decide whether to cancel it or not, and thankfully it was already cooking so ok bring it on! So glad it made it to our table.. it was so delicious! I love anything cooked five spiced anyway, and why did the calamari had to be so small, but otherwise it was very delicious!!
And here comes the dessert!
Mango Pudding - had a little taste, it was what a mango pudding should be! Soft textured and tasted very mango-ey.
Sticky Date Pudding
Ice Kachang - the ultimate Malaysian dessert, I stole a few spoonfuls and totally regretted not ordering this myself. It was soooo good!! Full of flavor and mouthwatering and refreshing and yummy!!
Hubby and I shared the Omah's Sundae - a trio of Vanilla, Black Sesame and Green Tea ice cream. The black sesame ice cream was a bit weird to begin with, had a very grainy after taste, and the green tea ice cream just wasn't sweet at all, very strong Green Tea taste, but together with the sweet Vanilla it was perfectly fine!
I cannot believe how long that took to blog, hehe. Can you believe how much FOOD we ate?! At the end of the night, all the above plus multiple serves of some dishes of the same kind plus roti bread plus drinks, etc - the bill came to about $60 per person. That's actually quite reasonable considering we stuffed our face and mostly with mud crab which is not cheap!
Thank you Omah's for the wonderful food and experience, especially the eating of the crabs without a care in the world about how messy it all really was - good food is meant to be enjoyed in a big group and if it involves eating with your fingers, then you happily dig in with your fingers!