Grilled seafood that packs a flavourful punch

Eu Hooi-Khaw

The Thai-style grilled sotong is drenched in an addictive hot, sour and garlicky sauce. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 8, 2022.

I NEVER did find out why December Grill Fish, a seafood eatery in a repurposed old bungalow in PJ Old Town is so named. I couldn’t because the place was bustling with people by the time we arrived at 6.30pm.

The restaurant has a festive air about it, with colourful umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, while the front is draped with lights.

Portuguese-style stingray served in a hot sambal belacan sauce. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 8, 2022.

We were there for the grilled fish and seafood, with three main styles of grilling standing out from the menu – Portuguese, Thai and Nyonya.

We took all three styles, ordering the Portuguese-style pari or stingray, Thai-style sotong (cuttlefish) and Nyonya-style bamboo clams.

I can never resist grilled stingray. It’s fleshy, the cartilaginous bones are easily removed and at December Grill Fish, its lush, smooth meat is smothered with a hot sambal sauce.

Nyonya style bamboo clams – there are more shells than meat, unfortunately. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 8, 2022.

There’s a belacan aroma in the sauce, which also has dried shrimp and thinly cut ladies’ fingers in it. The stingray (RM38) is delicious with the sauce which tempts you to eat more rice.

There is a choice of other fish like tilapia, siakap, dory and chicken fish, but I would certainly stick with the stingray. Other kinds of seafood include tiger prawns, lala and hotate.

The Thai-style sotong (RM32) pleasantly surprised us with its hot, sour and garlicky sauce. Sliced ladies’ fingers were also in this parcel of sotong drenched in this addictive gravy. The sotong was not overcooked and rubbery.

The Nyonya-style bamboo clams (RM27) was the least-liked item in our dinner. There were more shells than flesh in the foil parcel and the sauce was not distinctive with nyonya flavours.

Fried namyu chicken wings with a spicy dip. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 8, 2022.

There is a section on snacks in the menu, picking out the fried namyu chicken wings (RM13, for three wings). They were well marinated in red fermented bean curd and deep-fried. The crispy skin of the wings had a perky aroma of the marinade.

The wings tasted so good with the chilli dip, so we asked for another portion. Other snacks include fried whole chicken leg, fried scallops and prawns and French fries.

Stir-fried ladies’ fingers and winged bean. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 8, 2022.

We completed our dinner with stir-fried ladies’ fingers and winged beans (RM15), and onion egg (RM10).

The vegetables were fried in sambal, and I liked the combination of the slimy, finely cut ladies fingers and the crunchy winged bean or kacang botol.

I always feel that in any hot and spicy meal you need a well-fried omelette, in this case an onion one, to give it balance.

The colourful interior of December Grill Fish. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 8, 2022.

December Grill Fish is at 45, Jalan Penchala PJS 4, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Call 014-962 0425 for enquiries. – October 8, 2022.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website

Sign up or sign in here to comment.