When we booked our week in Malaysia, I decided that we needed to spend some time outside of Kuala Lumpur. The problem that I have with much of South East Asia is that I simply don’t handle the heat or humidity very well – I feel constantly lethargic and tired, and most shockingly, I lose my appetite and don’t feel like eating! To try and combat this, we decided to spend two days in the Cameron Highlands, a four hour drive from Kuala Lumpur.
We took a bus up to the township of Tanah Rata, using the Unititi Express bus service ($35RM per person). Almost as soon as we stepped off the bus, I gave a huge sigh of relief – the temperature was cool, and there was no humidity at all. I felt comfortable walking around outside, and had a huge boost of energy as a result!
Given that K was still suffering from the effects from a dodgy stomach, we decided to stay away from the Indian and Malay cuisines again when we were wandering around the town. Luckily, many of the restaurants in the Cameron Highlands seem to take advantage of the cooler climate by offering steamboat as their primary menu option. We chose to dine at Restoran Mayflower, a Chinese-run restaurant and ordered a juice each, but unfortunately both were over-sweetened with sugar syrup. I needed to wait for the ice in my orange juice to melt to water down my juice a bit to make it more drinkable!
On our first visit, we decided to skip the steamboat menu as we weren’t feeling particularly hungry that night, and K’s stomach was still feeling funny. He ordered a Mee Hoon with Soup – something plain to help settle his stomach. The clear chicken soup, delicious vermicelli noodles, and scattered greens on top was just simple enough to bring him some comfort. It’s such a simple dish that it’s not unlike what I would normally make at home whenever we’re in the need of some simple comfort food!
I chose to have a Fried Mee Hoon Singaporean Style, or what we would call Singapore Noodles in Australia. Interestingly, this is a dish that’s almost exclusively found on the menus of Chinese restaurants, and you wouldn’t necessarily find it on the menu in Singapore itself! This was a bit different than other Singapore Noodles I’ve had before as it lacked the curry flavour you would normally find, focusing instead on the wok hei and soy sauce to flavour the dish. Still, it was surprisingly more-ish and I found myself finishing the whole dish.
The next evening, we returned to try their steamboat option. I won’t lie, part of this decision was motivated by FOMO as almost everyone else in the restaurant the night before had been having the steamboat. We chose to have the Chicken Soup Fantastic Steamboat ($20RM per person) which included nine types of fresh local vegetables, chicken, beef, crab stick, fish meat, prawns, soya strips, cuttle fish, jelly fish, fresh mushroom, fish balls, eggs, tofu and two different types of noodles.
How do you use eggs in steamboat/hot pot? Normally I’ll crack a raw egg into my bowl and mix it with sauce and herbs to create a dipping sauce. This time though, I decided to actually poach the egg in the steamboat itself, which worked very well. The tofu was particularly fresh and tasty too.
All the seafood and meat provided (perhaps with the exception of the beef) was particularly fresh, but the real highlight for me was the range of vegetables they provided on this platter under all the other ingredients. I always find it particularly difficult to eat enough green vegetables in countries like Malaysia where many dishes tend to be carb and protein heavy. Steamboat is the perfect opportunity to eat lots and lots of fresh green vegetables, especially as it meant that we got to try some new types of local vegetables that we don’t get access to in Australia.
Restoran Mayflower provides great, home-style Chinese food at a very reasonable price in a town that’s overrun by foreign tourists. While the restaurant is tourist-friendly (with an English/Chinese menu), it’s more well-frequented by locals and other Malaysians when compared to other restaurants in Tanah Rata. It’s a fantastic option especially if you’re looking for something a little bit plainer and not too spicy!
Restoran Mayflower is located at No 81A, Persiaran Camellia 4, 39000 Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.