As one of the highly recommended restaurant in Pangkal Pinang, Mr Asui proudly presents itself as a mighty warrior in Chinese cuisine. Though emphasizing greatly on fish dishes which undoubtedly quite interesting, clearly what caught my attention was not exactly the food. It’s a matter of endurance.
A bright red signboard in front of an alley says out loud that Mr Asui is the place for best culinary experience in Pangkal Pinang intrigued me. This kind of feat is usually achieved by restaurants who have been visited by our culinary idol. Yes, who else besides Mr Bondan Winarno. Apart from that feat, you can easily tell yourself that by this high-profile signboard then I bet everything’s gonna be okay.
But that was just a facade. As we entered the alley, what we found first before entering the restaurant on our right side was the dishwashing station. So we get to see dirty dishes, leftovers, and other foul stuffs there. I can’t recall whether I saw trash bins as well, luckily. Either way, it was a filthy welcome and a brilliant positioning of the dishwashing section. Even the word ‘dirtilicious’ would be too good for this place.
The horror continues with the appearance of their massive dining room. Though we arrived just way past the dinner time but the cleanliness level was even worse than Bantar Gebang. Leftovers, dirty dishes (again), wet tables and messy floor with ants are everywhere to be found. The only one who cared about it was this old man who worked slow, cleaning up the mess like he had all the time in the world while enjoying a cigarette in the process!
Well anyway, if you can bear with it and endure everything that you see and feel, then off you go with the food like I did.
The grilled mackerel tail is indeed the signature dish here. You won’t find it arguably anywhere but in Bangka. It takes a while to serve but when it arrives, the humongous size of it, fit for 3-4 people, that came with a friendly price of around IDR 75,000 should trick your tummy into contention for at least many hours to come. Grilled plainly without any seasonings, the fish is then supposed to be consumed with warm rice and good sambal terasi using a good squeeze of local jeruk kunci and bird-eye chilis according to your preference.
Thanks to the good grilling technique, Mr Asui manages to grill the fish suitably, maintaining the moisture inside while the outer skin left burnt. If this huge fish not enough for you then you can pick the salty (to my liking) butter fried squids and stir-fried kangkung using tauco (fermented soy sauce). A decent combination there.
Feel free to also derail from the mackerel since Mr Asui presents other fishes and crabs. Snapper, stingray, garoupa, kerisi, and even chicken could be an alternative. The method of cooking? Boiled, grilled, steamed, fried, and even made into soup using the native recipe of lempah kuning and lempah nanas. Needless to worry, the lempah section would be explained better in the next story.
So again, if you’re up with the messiness, decent dishes are waiting as the prize there. But honestly, I found my next stop at Belitung island that provides even more delicious seafood, clean place, and smiles from the locals. Stay tune!
Halal-ness to be confirmed
Some menu suitable for vegetarians
Address & Phone Number: Jl. Kp. Bintang Dalam no. 93/12, Pangkal Pinang – Bangka // (0717) 423 772
Opening Hours: 10 am – 1o pm.
BB Pin: N/A
Atmosphere: Your quite modern Chinese cuisine restaurant – provincial style, feels like entering a food war battlefield.
Ambiance: I imagine it would be loud during dining hours.
Service: Helpful with low cleanliness awareness.
Pricing: IDR 150,000 – IDR 200,000 for two