Big on prawns at Saba-Hae

Big on prawns at Saba-Hae

Was looking for a dinner venue and literally stumbled upon Saba-Hae. Game for anything new and especially if prices are accommodating, we gave this a try.

The simple, fuss-free restaurant is styled after outlets that offer quick-grab-and-go services. There is also a long table and chairs lining the wall for those who want to linger and eat here.

A bit slow on the uptake, my friend and I finally figured that the name was a translation of “Sabah prawns” in Hokkien. Ooooh… I see, heh, at first we thought it was some new Korean food trend! LOL!

Turns out Saba-Hae is a well-established Sabah-based exporter of fresh water prawns since 2009 that sells its products worldwide, considered to be one of the top 3 shrimp producers in Malaysia. Its shrimps are said to be fresh and antibiotic-free, farmed in the coastal estate of Tawau in the western Pacific Ocean waters.

Now, it is venturing into cooked food for the first time, this being its very first outlet.

There are a number of freezers here as well, showcasing seafood products on sale. You can just buy the seafood, frozen shrimps being the key product, of course, or get them to cook something for you for a small fee of RM5 (lightly pan-fried/seared) for your meal while you wait. You can also ask for more complicated cooking styles but the price would then be different.

A box of fairly large fresh water frozen prawns is about RM32 while salmon and other seafood range from RM17 to RM50 and above for the more exotic such as scallops, caviar and what-have-you.

Food is served in paper boxes and after eating, diners are encouraged to dispose of the utensils and packaging in the prepared bins for recycling. Most of the items in the menu are rice box choices with prawns cooked in varying styles, with one pasta and one croquette offering. Order at the main counter, and the kitchen up front on the right corner prepares it on the spot.

Mine was the Sambal Edamame Shrimp and rice that came with an onsen egg, the recommended signature dish, while my friend had Salted Egg Shrimp with rice. Hers must have been good as she tucked in so super quick that I didn’t even get a chance to snap a picture!

The sambal for the edamame was Malay/Nyonya sambal prawn style – slightly sweet and sour that’s just a touch spicy so those who can’t take hot stuff should be able to manage this too.

Usually, I stay away from rice as far as possible but it’s quite impossible to eat this without devouring the carbo. The fact that I kept eating until I had to consciously stop myself from finishing the last few mouthfuls of rice says a lot about the scrumptious taste. This came with 5 prawns for RM13.90, and an additional RM2 for the set which includes a drink. All the sets fall in this price range.

We also had prawn fritters – I confess I’m a sucker for fried food – and rather than covered in thick batter, the coating for the prawns reminded me of Japanese fried foods or perhaps cucur, mixed with strands of vegetables. I quite enjoyed munching on the crispy bits!

Generally, Saba-Hae offers simple, quick meals at decent prices, with a focus on its food, both fresh and frozen, rather than Instagrammable corners. Better this than cafes that look so pretty and inviting, and then, the food is disappointing or priced out of the world, I say.

Add: 72, Jalan SS 21/39, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya. Tel: 03-7731 9631