Sea Queen is the culinary magnum opus of sorts for its 67-year-old proprietress-chef, Madam Loh Yeng. She was born in Gertak Sanggul, a coastal area on the southern tip of Penang island that is lined with fishing villages. Madam Loh’s brothers were all fishermen, so she was well-acquainted to all types of seafood from an early age. She got married in 1971 and, together with her husband, Lai Kiew, became the main seafood supplier to many of Penang’s main restaurants of the 1980s, like Hollywood restaurant in Tanjung Bungah, Marco Polo restaurant in Batu Ferringhi, and Jade View on Penang Road. Madam Loh also had her own seafood restaurants : Kampung Nelayan and Harbour View in the 1990s.
Today, Madam Loh concentrated her efforts on Sea Queen at Straits Quay Marina, a swish Chinese restaurant overlooking the yachts berthed outside.
It’s a wet Friday morning. Rain poured down relentlessly on the marina as soon as we got into the restaurant. But there’s no stopping a good yum cha breakfast at Sea Queen. Madam Loh ensured her place served some of the best dim sum selection in town: all made fresh-to-order, which could also entail a half-hour wait from the time one placed an order till the time the food is served.
The char-siew pao is the restaurant’s forte, and its taste is reminiscent of the ones served at Haloman, one of the prime Chinese restaurants in Penang in the 1970s, along with Fortuna, Lee How Fook and Prosperous.
The koon tong kow, a giant seafood dumpling served in its own individual soup bowl is the best I’d had in a long while.
The cheong fun with shrimps inside were perfect.
Scallop and chives dumplings - these were pretty standard.
Lor mai kai - steamed glutinous rice with chicken, Chinese waxed sausage and shitake mushroom was not very good. I’d avoid that here in future.
Wu kok - Cantonese-style yam puffs filled with char-siew. The ones here were ultra-light & crispy. Nice, but a bit too crispy for me - like, perhaps, the dumplings had been fried in oil which was too hot, or they’d been left in the oil for a bit longer than needed.
Cantonese-style fish congee - this was pretty tasty, but I’d rather try other congee options on the menu next time.
The lau sar pao, with molten salted egg & custard filling, is also really good, and a must-not-miss here.
Overall, I’d venture to say that Sea Queen is perhaps one of the top 3 dim sum spots in Penang at the moment, alongside Hong Xing No. 1 at Precinct 10, and Fu Er Dai on Northam Road.
Sea Queen Restaurant
3C-G & 3A, Ground Floor, Straits Quay
Jalan Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong
10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +6010-4040 299 / +6010-4050 299
Opening hours: 9.30am-2:.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm daily.