"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.
And don't get me started on the fried chicken, dammit! I can't believe what a splash of our simple, generic, mundane tumeric powder and some store bought salt can do to a piece of fried chicken. In our Foodster language, we call it 'Kicking Good!'. I am not going to explain what that means. Come here.... and try this for yourselves... and you will know what I mean. This is where his skills shine. You don't need to coat the chicken in some fancy smancy truffle sauce to posh it up. You just need to fry the chicken using the right temperature, and timing is of the upmost importance here. The chicken should be taken out and allowed to rest so that the heat cooks the drumsticks through. So its the heat from the drumstick resting and not the wok that adds the final touches. So, yes uncle! we know your secret now! To decode all of your secrets, I just need to know what is the frying temperature and other secret ingredients you put in the chicken and also perhaps the secret blends in your curry spices. I guess that I am still a long way away. A veeery longway away.
Anyway, he uses the same concoction for his other signature dish which is fried cuttlefish and mackarel(kembung). And there you go.. Dammit! again. It's so addicive I could have swore that he puts opium in it but that would be illegal now, wouldn't it? The cuttlefish is crunchy with crispy batter on the outside and al-dente on the inside. This is the first time I am using 'al dente' for cuttlefish, but that is what it is. The mackarel shares the same praise. Crunchy outside, soft and juicy on the inside. There's something about the frying batter of these dee'licious
food. I think the uncle adds in some curry powder and are you ready for this?... Lime. That is why his fried goods are slightly sour but yet flavourful. The perfect balance. But I could be wrong...
Whatever it is, the team was lapping up everything as if we were making up for lost time. Uncle... one more fish head.... and bring some more cuttlefish and fried chicken on the side.... uh.. what?..ok.. no... not full yet. Just keep bringing more food until I pass out, okay?
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