I cannot pen down eloquently enough how excited I was when I discovered Johnny’s steamboat in Malaysia, the best I can describe it is as a combination of heel clicking in the air and imaginary snow angels on the mall floor.
I have always, always wanted to steamboat and just never got around to it until recently. I also always, always want Tom Yum soup–especially in Malaysia where they make it irresistibly good– so Johnny’s steamboat literally made me squeal with excitement. Why, what’s so special about Johnny’s- you may ask? Well, my clueless friend, here’s why…
At Johnny’s, the broths are bottomless and the add-ins are your choice! If you go for the chicken broth, it’s free (of course you do need to order some add-ins to be seated), and the Tom Yum broth is only RM. 15. Did I mention it’s bottomless?!?! But, I guarantee you won’t even need refills unless you’re more than 4 people with bottomless pits for stomachs– because that’s what we were, and we barely managed to finish the pot. In our defense, we got a lot of add-ins though.
The mechanics are fairly simple:
- You pick your add-ins and choice of broth from an pictorial menu and then tick your choices on a form.
- The server first brings the broth to the table and pours it into the pot on the hot plate, then turns the hot plate on. you are also brought spoons for stirring, scooping, and of course the bowls/spoons/chopsticks to eat with.
- Then the add-ins are brought in a stacked tower of little plastic dishes.
- You dump your add-ins into the broth, let it simmer for a few minutes, then dig in.
- The heat of the hot plate is them lowered to just maintain the broth at a warm temperature and not continue cooking the add-ins.
It’s a super engaging experience that is a lot more fun than waiting for the food to be cooked in the kitchen and then brought to you. It’s also simply perfect that there’s a giant pot of optimal temperature, spicy burn-yo-mouth Tom Yum on your table, and you can drink multiple bowls of soup without even a single spoonful having to be tepid. They also serve a sesame soy sauce that has a very mild sweetness to it for when you want to cleanse your palate a bit.
The most interesting add-in I tried was jelly fish. The verdict: it tasted like fishy jello. I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of the other add-ins, like kang kung, chicken mince stuffed chilli peppers, nori and seafood meatballs, and my absolute favorite: bean curd. The real magic, however, was in the firey, red, spicy, sour, and simply perfect Tom Yum broth!
We first tried the Johnny’s steamboat at 1 Utama mall, and I loved it so much that we went again with my sister and cousin to the branch in Summit mall. I enjoyed the former more, but that might just have been because of the ambience (Summit is such a shady old mall that I swear I can taste the dust in the air).
Another thing that makes Johnny’s steamboat attractive is that there aren’t very many halal steamboat options in general, and this is an exception. This was one of the best, most enjoyable and memorable meals I’ve had with M, and can’t wait to revisit Johnny’s the next time I’m in town.
Price: We paid around R.M 55 when it was just the two of us, and about RM 75 when we were a party of 4.
Locations: Several, just search for the nearest one on Zomato.