Welcome Seafood Restaurant has two branches, one located at Asia City and the other in Bundusan. The first day we went to the Asia City branch because it was the easiest to get to, just a couple of minutes from our hotel. When we arrived at about 8, it was already packed and the was only three large mud crabs left, I grabbed all three!
Side note; take a piss before coming to Welcome Seafood Restaurant, the quality of the bathroom here is atrocious. If I hadn't banged eighteen Gin and Tonic's at the Regency Club thirty minutes before, I would have held it in.
We ordered the fried fish noodle - RM9, two salted egg crabs (RM30 per crab), one kam heong crab and three mantis prawns which cost us RM168 as it was RM260 per kilogram. I'll start with the worst dish, the salted egg
crab crap. When it was served, I couldn't believe it was salted egg and I wanted to return it, only to be told it was indeed salted egg crab. It looked nothing salted egg crab that I have had before, and it sure as hell didn't taste like salted egg. They cooked it with sesame oil making the crabs sweet and tasting like shit. Be warned, avoid at all cost.
Next up, the fish fried noodle, beautifully done and tasted wonderful. For a table of three, we ordered the noodle for one person and it was enough to go around. You'll get two pieces of prawns and bits of broken fish.
The sweet and sour crab was good, nothing special about it. After having two perfectly good crabs destroyed by someone that I can only imagine have never had salted egg anything. You'll read at the bottom how inconsistent the cooking style is with the other Welcome Seafood Restaurant which is supposedly the main branch.
The highlight of the night was probably the mantis prawn which cost me an arm and both my legs. The mantis prawns were cooked with salt and pepper, nothing complicated and cooked perfectly albeit a bit oily which I didn't mind. When I ordered it I honestly thought the waiter said RM68 for two pieces. Mantis prawns are pretty skinny, I'm not sure that three pieces equals 600 grams. Anyway, it was nice but very expensive.
After speaking to a few local Grab drivers, they recommended that we try the main Welcome Seafood Restaurant, supposedly the 'sifu' chef is there. I don't know if it's because I like getting punished or because I'm such a generous person that I allow people redeem themselves, I suspect it's the former.
Welcome Seafood Restaurant, the original, is located at some industrial area. The restaurant is noticeably much smaller than the restaurant that's located in Asia City. They also only had small crabs at RM9 per crab, medium sized crabs at RM15 was sold out at 7.30pm on a Sunday. My guess is they send the good stuff to where the money is. Much less tourist here, more locals, normally that's a good sign. I had less Gin and Tonic's tonight but I still had to use the bathroom, much cleaner here.
I was pretty disappointed that there were no large crabs here so I went for a fried fish, I'll eat fried fish anytime of the week. The fish sauce was thicker and sweeter than I'm used to, but it was pleasantly nice. The highlight of my dinner. The fish cost about RM35.
I'll do a direct comparison where I can so we'll start with fish fried noodles. Prawns, check, pieces of smashed fish, check, spring onions, check, egg, check. At the first restaurant they fried the noodles with cut chili, not available in the second restaurant. It tasted similar so I suppose it doesn't matter. Fish noodle cost RM18.
The salted egg crab was terrible so I didn't want to take the chance, furthermore the crabs were small so I didn't feel like having any crabs. My partner went for the kam heong and it was solidly normal, how you'd expect kam heong to taste like. You can't, and should not go wrong with kam heong, it's probably tied with sweet and sour crabs as the most widely cooked style in Malaysia.
From here on, things just fell apart really fast. The first of five horrible dishes in chronological order starting with ginger and spring onions lala (clams). This dish was actually pretty good, if the clams weren't empty. I had to retake the photos a couple of times because it showed a lot of empty shells. I'm a lazy person, I don't like using too much effort to take photos.
Some would argue that the clam fell out of the shell during cooking, that may be quite true, but these were pretty big clams and a lot of them were stuck to the shell pretty good, I had to use significant force to evict them from their shell house. Ok, maybe I'm being a bit unfair, the clams tasted really good.
Next up is a local favorite, kang kung (morning glory) with belacan. I have no idea how they overcooked this. Kang kung is supposed to be crunchy. They really dropped the ball on this, if you can't do kang kung belacan right, you should stop being a chef in Malaysia.
Since the sweet and sour crabs from the first night was good, my better half decided to go for the sweet and sour again. Always best to stick to what you know right? How wrong we were. What was served was extremely disappointing and embarrassing. You can see that in the photo below it was cooked with spring onions and the photo above, no spring onions. The sauce was so light, it tasted like cornstarch and ketchup. It was so bad, we struggled to eat it.
Last on the list are the prawns. What I hate more than shitty tasting food is food that is not fresh. In a city like Kota Kinabalu where it's located right next to the sea, there's really no excuse to serve bad prawns. Welcome Seafood Restaurant has tanks full of live prawns and they served us some frozen prawns or dead prawns or some sort.
Like the dry butter prawns above, the wet butter prawns were not fresh as well. It's not hard to tell if prawns aren't fresh, the shell sticks to the body. Normally if the cooking style requires frying the prawn, that's when they serve you frozen prawns. Utterly disappointing.
The second night without the mantis prawns we paid RM140. It's scary the amount of people that actually eat at Welcome Seafood considering the quality of the food they serve. Never again.