On the second night, we find ourselves at the resort’s fine-dining Fisherman’s Cove, seated in a private pavilion overlooking yet another tranquil evening on the bay, the twinkling lights of the city of Kota Kinabalu winking yonder over the water.
A large brass pot is brought out, it consists of a raised island for grilling the meat, while the channel surrounding it holds the broth into which the juices from the grilling meat run, adding delectable flavour to the vegetables cooked in the broth.
We are provided with a large platter overflowing with meat- beef, chicken and lamb, seafood comes in the form of a variety of fish fillets, squid, prawns, scallops and octopus, and vegetables such a romaine, mustard greens, spinach, cabbage, eggplant, baby corn and mushrooms. Next, a pitcher of savoury hot stock redolent of lemongrass, chilli, tamarind and ginger is brought, with further accompaniments of bean curd, rice vermicelli and four dipping sauces.
Joy, our server demonstrates: first the channel is filled with hot stock, into which goes a combination of vegetables, the meat is cooked on the hotplate to your preferences, then the soup and vegetables are dished out to complement the grilled items. She explains there is no hard and fast rule to what goes on the grill and into the soup, and soon we are left to our own devices, taking turns to play chef and serve each other.
We experiment with the different dips, developing favourites and some of us even personalise our sauces. All to soon, the banquet is polished off and we sit back, satiated and satisfied at our skilful mastering of this traditional meal.
To end the night on a sweet note, a chilled dessert of mango pudding garnished with ripe mango and sacs of pomelo is served.
The Sinigang Steamboat is priced at MYR280++ per person is by guests of Gaya Island Resort through www.gayaislandresort.com.