"So shall we go out and get some head?"
"Dammit! What did he put in that thing?! It's so good!". Generally, that was the consensus around the table the first time we had the fish head from Bangsar Fish Head Corner. We could see people nodding from other tables as well and then it struck, I must have cried the Dammit
thing out loud! But do the people from the other tables care that I swore out loud? That I dare to do it in front of food? Good food at that? I don't think so. I bet they are silently doing it too... with each mouthful of rice, fresh fish and the uncle mamak's secret blend of curry spices.
Bangsar Fish Head Corner has been around for ages. Apparently for more than ten years. I don't know why I haven't stumbled into this place ages ago. People come here for 5 things only, the fish head curry, the fried chicken, the fried cuttlefish, the fried fish and rice.... in that order. The stall is always manned by this nice mamak uncle from Penang and proficient in English. In this small 12 x 12 feet stall, uncle has at least 5 staff working, one in a corner seasoning the cuttlefish, on the other corner frying the fried chicken, two waiters fulfilling extra orders and the uncle manning the booth. If you stand back and watch this fiasco from afar, I swear it looks like a well oiled machine, with gears meshing in perfect harmony churning out delicious feeds for the hungry. And yes, with food this good... all the tables will probably be taken.
What makes his fish head great is the fact that he uses only fresh ones. He's normally up in some borong
market hunting for the freshest heads he could get his hands on and serves only whatever he could find that day. So, in his big 4 feet diameter curry pot, you will see an offering of seabass, garoupa, tenggiri, merah and probably jenahak. All heads. My favourite is the Merah and Garoupa heads as the meat is fleshy and the fresher the heads are, the more flavourful the fish gets. Next is the curry itself. The uncle uses his own secret blend of curry spices suitable for fish heads, just to bring out the flavour. His curry is not very spicy hot but has rich flavours. The best for his customers.
Malaysian Cuisine - The Low Down
. It is hard to get down into the subtleties of all the cuisines in Malaysia on one article, especially if you are a guest in our country for the first time. But we can certainly try and we can give you a showcase of the wide spectrum of tastes and flavours you can have by just walking down the streets in Malaysia.… More »
"Grab a handful of snails fresh from the bucket"
Fancy the ultimate ‘see food’ seafood experience? There’s this gem deep in the Selayang area that serves up seafood from all over the world, right to your dinner table. Jin Chwan is the name, and seafood is their game. Starting out as a seafood supplier (and they still are), Jin Chwan is Klang Valley’s undisputed seafood king. The huge fish tanks bursting with aquaria life is living testimony of their reputation. I must say it took us a while to locate the premises but once we found it, we were awestruck! It’s like hitting seafood lottery! Boston lobsters, Alaskan crabs, Mexican geoduck, Japanese snails – you name it, they’ve got it! From the tank to the wok, seafood doesn’t get fresher than this!
Next to Jin Chwan is BeiHai a new-ish Chinese restaurant that does justice to the freshness of the seafood. Read on at your own peril because we warn you, this review can cause you to have a sudden intense craving for fresh seafood. First to arrive was the geoduck sashimi. Geoduck is a saltwater clam that may look lewd especially when it’s just plucked from the water! With a dash of shoyu sauce and wasabi paste, the texture is firm with a nice bite. The taste is really fresh and this is my favourite dish of the day. After all, the Japanese were right when they insisted seafood is best savoured fresh.
We also had Japanese snails baked thermidor style. As these snails were fresh, its chewy texture blended well with the melted cheese and chopped ham. None of the black mushy canned escargots, fresh is the only way to go here.
"Ginseng chicken, nourishing and comforting"
Korean food has become somewhat of a favourite amongst KLites. Even though this Foodster has been to Korea and had some fine chewy Korean sashimi and went to a restaurant in central Seoul that served over a hundred Pan Chan (that’s those small little dishes of Korean munchies they serve with the meal) there’s a still a lot more to learn about this cuisine. From what I know, Korean food is not ashamed of assaulting your senses from spicy to the nose, bright red broths and pickles to the sharp scent of bulgogi (BBQed meats). They also have mellow soupy dishes perfect for slurping on hot days such as the flavourful ginseng chicken.
But lets get to the food. Bulgogi here is very good. You can cook it yourself on the charcoal stove in the middle of the table. There are nice slivers of meat you can get all nicely marinated to cook on the pit. Also order the ribs which is aged- very tasty and has a lot of flavour. When popped in the mouth, it's chewy yet at the same time tender. The sam gyup sal here is also recommended which are cuts of pork that turns into bacon when you grill it.
With this you will get lettuce leaves, whole garlic and a thick sweetish sauce. After the meat is grilled, put in some garlic and sauce in a lettuce leave, roll it up like a Cuban cigar and munch away. There will be an explosion of flavours, the burnt taste of the meat, the tangy sauce, pungent garlic and the freshness of the leaves. Fabulous!
"Soft, silky and just so good..."
Being a Foodster from Ipoh, I always get a hankering for good horfun. You know, the soft smooth as silk kind that drops down your throat and hard to find in KL. Happily one day I discovered TK Chong that serves very good hor fun. You can have it in a soup which is a wonderful prawn broth full of fat prawns and prawn wantons. The portions here are big and there’s loads of hor fun, white and wicked soft slithering down your throat like a whisper of decadent fabric. It does come all the way from Ipoh. I like it dry with a generous dollop of oil and oyster sauce on top. Again portions are very generous with loads of white chicken and prawns on top. Mix it all up on your plate and slurp it up!
"You know they use good stock for the rice"
It's hard to find halal nasi ayam hawkers that has been serving 'kai fan' for a long time, and it is even harder to find one that is Halal. This one is. Laily's customers are old timers and even kids whom has grown up eating her chicken rice. Nasi Ayam Laily is located at the SS15 Subang Jaya Food Court called the Square. A typical chicken rice here will consist of a plate of roasted chicken, a bowl of chicken broth, a plate of rice with cucumber slices and of course, garlic chili paste for that extra kick. No steamed version but just as good.
They don't make chicken rice like Kak Laily's anywhere else. The rice is delicious and flavourful. You can taste the chicken stock in the rice, not too overpoweringl, just right. The tender chicken is glazed slightly with honey and roasted crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. We suspect that the chicken is semi-boiled, semi-roasted and then fried in a huge wok to give it the nice distinctive Laily flavour. On top of the chicken, light soya sauce is poured.
"You sweat like a horse and come out smelling like fish"
It's noon and you are craving for some really good ikan bakar. What are you going to do? You can either drive down to Umbai, Port Dickson or opt to stay in the state and drive behind Istana Negara at Jalan Bellamy. People from all over town congregate here to eat ikan bakar from three stalls that specialises on ikan bakar . At noon, this place gets really packed. The only place to park your car is on top of a tree. By two o'clock, most of the ikan bakar would have probably sold out.
The stall on the left is Ikan Bakar Jaafar and on the right Ikan Bakar Ramli (rightmost corner where the Air Batu Campur is). Lets talk about ikan bakar Ramli. New to the ikan bakar business, Ramli started selling ikan bakar here only a couple of years ago although their family has been in the food business for years. Now, there are two things that make ikan bakar stalls distinctive. One is the kuah/sauce thay they prepare and the other how well you grill the fish. Ramli's stall serve you two different types of kuah whereas the others have only one. The sour hot chili sauce is a mixture of soya sauce and their secret ingredients whereas their other sauce is a mixture of sour tomato sauce, limau kasturi, belacan and their 'other' secret ingredients. To those of you with a butter tongue or cannot take chili, this is good news because you can opt for the tomato sauce. Ikan bakar goes great with sour sauces. Either way, both sauces are very delicious and distinctive.