Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Melaka Satay Celup

Last evening on the way to Kuala Lumpur, my friend insisted on stopping in Melaka to try out the famous Capitol *satay celup, or satay dip. Like the satay sauce, it is made from grounded peanuts, but according to my friend, its tastiness is due to the addition of pounded dried shrimp fried in chili paste.

Don't ask me how to get there as we also took some time to locate the restaurant. All I know is that it is on Jalan Lorong Bukit Cina. We had to call up a couple friends in Kuala Lumpur to give us directions.

When we got to the place, one of us got down from the car and proceeded to line up to wait for a vacant table while the rest of us went to find a parking lot. She was still waiting for a table when we got there.

Somehow satay celup did not catch on in Batu Pahat although there was once a shop selling the same thing some years back. The Ocean restaurant recently had a satay celup corner in the restaurant but it never caught the fancy of diners and it died a natural death.

Capitol is so famous that even celebrities, or at least the Chinese ones have eaten at the place. But be forewarned for a messy eating experience. Those who like to keep their hands and table clean and tidy while eating will find the experience unpleasant with gravy spilt all over the table and prawn shells and wood skewers strewn haphazardly.

You go to the food display section and pick out the things you want to eat. There is a wide variety, ranging from huge prawns to fish balls. All for the same price of 60 sen per stick.

Dip the skewer of food in the pot of boiling satay gravy and let it cook. An Indonesion worker would come periodically to add more gravy and stir it so that it remains consistently thick throughout the course of dipping skewer after skewer of either pre-cooked or raw food into the pot of sauce.

We had altogether 66 sticks among the four of us. And the bill came to fifty two RM inclusive of drinks.

How was the food? It was nice for a change, except that I could not stand the sight of a table splattered with gravy and strewn with prawn heads and shells, and wood skewers.

*Satay: Skewered meat (chicken, mutton or beef) barbecued over a charcoal fire.

The restaurant, located on a narrow street, opens until 2 am

Customers lining up patiently for a table

The interior of the restaurant. "Capitol Satay: The 3rd generation" presumably the third generation is running the business

Food arranged neatly for customers to choose

Pick up a tray and take your pick as you survey the food

A man holding a tray, as he contemplates the choices

Some of the food selected by me: pork, tofu with fish paste, tofu skin with fish paste, fish balls, a prawn and vegetable

Another tray of food selected by a friend: chili with fish paste, dried cuttle fish, dried tofu balls with cumcumber, vegetable, quail's eggs, meat balls and tofu skin with fish paste

The satay gravy as it is brought to boil

Skewers of food are left in the pot to cook

We selected more food to cook

A skewer of 'kerang' , a type of shell fish

An Indonesian worker helping to ensure that waiting customers have a table

A wall covered with pictures of celebrities who have graced the restaurant

Close-up of celebrities. I think some of the pictures show a Singapore actor and actress doing a tv programme on food in Malaysia

The Indonesian worker calculating our bill which came to 52 RM. It is an easy task: she counted the number of wood skewers and multiplied it by 60 sen

Time to use the toilet. It is relatively clean

It was an inexpensive meal as the prawns (not shown in the pictures), a costly item, were fresh and huge. In addition there were pork and chicken.

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