BJ Grill Seafood – Unique Yuan Yang Stingray and Cheese Sotong
As an ardent lover of seafood, the question “Would you rather eat only seafood or meat for the rest of your life?” does not stump me at all. Without an inkling of hesitation, I’ll choose seafood in a heartbeat.
Thus, upon coming across BJ Grill Seafood at Old Airport Road, a stall selling only seafood, I was stoked to delve into the variety of dishes available here. According to online reviews, the “Yuan yang stingray” (will explain more later on) is extremely popular. Other options such as sotong, crayfish, mussels, la la and even chut chut (a type of snail commonly found in mangroves) are also available.
BJ Grill Seafood opens at 5pm, but actually starts taking orders only around 5.30pm. I was interested to know the story behind the stall, even though I was unfortunately met with a fiercely private owner, who was quite reluctant to share his motivations behind setting up the shop, even after further probing. Nonetheless, he mentioned that there was no specific reason behind the setting up of the stall, as he did it simply to make a living.
We ordered the BBQ stingray ($10/$12/$14/$16) in the yuan yang version (this is sort of a “secret menu” option, you have to specifically ask for it) instead of the sambal-only stingray option on the stall’s display board. Opt for the yuan yang version, and you get half your stingray smeared in a flavourful sambal, and the other half dressed in a deliciously savoury garlic butter sauce. You get the best of both worlds at the same price! What’s not to love? We ordered the $12 BBQ stingray, which I must say is really cheap as compared to other hawker stalls selling the same item! The portion was not too bad either. Unfortunately, the stingray was a little tough, even though the sambal and garlic butter slathered on top were fantastic. The house-made sambal was strong and flavourful, while the garlic butter was salty and paired extremely well with the fish. Instead of simply terming it “garlic butter sauce”, I would say that the garlic butter is more like a spread of minced garlic with a little butter flavour and a slight smokiness. I wished they were more generous with the garlic butter, as the sambal sauce took up ¾ of the fish, while the garlic butter took up only a quarter. Additionally, while some parts of the stingray were tender, other parts were tough.
For the sotong ($10/$12), 2 flavours — chilli and cheese — are available. We opted for Cheese sotong ($10), since it is really rare to find sotong doused in a cheese sauce. I have to say though, that the cheese sotong was more creamy, than cheesy. There were light hints of cheese, if you really try to detect it. I definitely would not have guessed that it was cheese sotong, had I not ordered it myself. Furthermore, the cheese sauce started to separate and became slightly coagulated after awhile. Overall, while the cheese sotong sounded interesting, the actual execution was a bit of a letdown.
Everyone knows a must-order along with BBQ/grilled seafood is Sambal Kang kong ($6/$8). We picked the $6 version, and were rewarded with a very spicy and mildly sweet plate of veggie. I’m guessing BJ Grill Seafood sprinkled some sugar in, which could have contributed to the sweetness of the vegetbles. The sambal kang kong packed a throat-burning punch, and if you do not take to spicy food, I would suggest ordering the baby kailan, which does not have chilli, instead. The sambal chilli, which was made in-house, was really tasty! Perhaps you can pair the kang kong with rice, which may turn the spice level down a notch.
BJ Grill Seafood sells interesting dishes, but some of the dishes could do with some refinement. It is not often that stalls sell chut chut too, so if you fancy having some mangrove snails for dinner, make a trip to BJ Grill! We loved that the dishes are pretty affordable!
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.