Soong fish head…
I have tasted this at three restaurants in Taman Johor Jaya and it’s really great! Full with omega oil immersed in ginger spice, this will appeals to fish lovers.
read this article, which I extracted from the sunday star (25/11).
Steamed fish head seems to be the delicacy to dig in to at Fortune Maker in Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur.
AROUND Jalan Kelang Lama in Kuala Lumpur, there seems to be an emerging trend where steamed fish heads are concerned. According to some, there is popular demand for the part of a fish which was once reserved as cat food.
Fortune Maker, a coffee shop in Jalan Kuchai Lama, is one of those places that have jumped on the fish head bandwagon.
Run by Patrick Lew, 46, and his wife, Chong Siew Ling, 38, the shop serves steamed Soong fish head in two varieties – steamed with shredded ginger and glutinous rice wine and the other, in a spicy soy bean sauce.
And it was while my family and I were waiting to sample the steamed fish heads, that Patrick and Siew Ling would educate me on the all things concerning eating and cooking the dish.
Of all the varieties of fish, why settle only on the Soong species?
“The Soong fish head is popular for its smooth flesh and many have commented that it does not have the sandy taste which is common in other types of freshwater fish.
“Besides, we want to specialise, not have a variety of other types of fish head which may be confusing for the customer,” offers Patrick.
And, ironically, the one thing that would spell disaster for a dish of steamed fish head is the presence of a fishy whiff.
Because of this, great pain is taken to get rid of it as Siew Ling, who is in charge of the cooking, demonstrates.
First, the fish head is immersed in a bucket of rice water with wedges of lemon to wash off the fishy smell before it goes into a steamer.
A timer monitors the steaming duration. Five minutes on the dot, the fish head is removed and the juices drained out.
This, says Siew Ling, is where the strongest of the fishy smell is eliminated. It is only after the fish head has been drained of this liquid that the ingredients, like rice wine or sauces are added in before it is topped with shredded ginger or chillies.
This ensures that the absorption of flavours will not be hindered by a fishy taste which is a big turn-off for diners. It is then steamed for precisely another five minutes.
According to Siew Ling, timing is crucial at this stage. Take a fish head out too early and it will be undercooked.
Wait too long and it will be overdone, rendering the smooth flesh rough and as unpalatable as cardboard.
Overcooking also dries up the jelly-like contents of the fish head. According to Patrick, this is the most delicious part of the fish head which is also rich in Omega 3 oils.
“Sometimes, I see customers leaving this part uneaten and it is such a great pity to see the best part of the fish going to waste,” he says.
One should first pick off the skin from the lip area where it is plumpest.
While the flesh, which should be dipped into the accompanying sauces before it is popped into the mouth, is something to look forward to, one mustn’t miss the eye.
The soft tissue surrounding it holds a rather flavourful liquid within, which is a delight to the palate.
And once all the flesh has been stripped and the fish head devoid of its skin, it is time to reach for the most rewarding part, the fish brain.
This requires a bit of work and strong teeth, deft fingers and dogged determination is required for the task.
While making small talk with Patrick, I found out that behind the fish head business also lies an interesting love story.
According to Patrick, he was a regular customer at Siew Ling’s pork noodle stall at a hawker centre in Cheras.
Not only was Patrick wowed by her delicious noodles, he also fell for Siew Ling at the same time.
Married for 13 years with two children, the couple opened Fortune Maker (which translates to God of Prosperity in Chinese) two years ago. The shop also serves pork noodles.
Fortune Maker is closed on Mondays. It is located at 8G, Jalan 2/114, Kuchai Business Centre, Jalan Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur (016-666 5886 / 016-233 8386).