This is my second post on Lai Kee fishball noodles 来记西刀鱼丸. I first posted about Lai Kee 来记 in Jan 2012 and it was one of my first posts since I created Johor Kaki blog.
I passed by Lai Kee a few more times since that first post but had to save my tummy space to try out other eateries in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah.
Today, I decided to stop by at the spur of the moment for no particular reason other than I can't control my craving for Lai Kee's fish ball noodles any longer and I wanted to say hello to the boss, Ah Lai 亚来.
It was already minutes to closing time and Lai Kee was still packed with customers. Ah Lai was personally doing the cooking. I said my hello to Ah Lai, he still remembered me from the first visit and I ordered my bowl of his famous fish ball soup and noodles.
Lai Kee hasn't changed much since I last ate there in Jan 2012.
In fact, Ah Lai told me much have been the same since 1987 when he first started Lai Kee. Same back street, same people. Same old school 古早味 fish ball noodles.
But of course much has also changed in the last 25 years. The once quiet back street is now a thriving food street with many popular food outlets. The same customers are now parents and even grandparents, and their children and grand children are Lai Kee's new customers.
Ah Lai's ikan parang fish balls were dense, firm yet springy. Basically solid authentic 真材实料 ikan parang fish meat with nothing else but salt added.
Ah Lai has always insisted on using only ikan parang. If there was no fresh ikan parang supply for the day such as because of bad weather, Ah Lai would close his shop for the day rather than compromise and use another type of fish or add starch into the meat.
Making the combi pork and fish balls
Ah Lai's fish balls are freshly hand made every day at the shop. No MSG, no preservatives, so the fish balls just have that appealing delicate sweetness and ocean freshness.
These are Ah Lai's popular fried combi fish and pork balls.
Ah Lai shared with me his famous ikan parang fish cake. They were also made with 100% ikan parang meat.
Ah Lai's fish cakes are a popular takeaway item with out-of-town customers and Singaporeans.
Lai Kee's savoury noodles sauce had that distinct old style lard flavour 古早味 and a slight spiciness from the chili paste.
Ah Lai's partner fries the pork lard everyday
Lai Kee makes these pork lard and lard crackles everyday.
Hundreds of these fried ikan parang bones were used as stock bones for the soup - so you can imagine the tastiness of the resulting soup.
The standards at Lai Kee are maintained consistently high all these 25 years (since 1987) as Ah Lai and his long time partner had been in charge of the operations and are personally at the shop all the time.
If you want old style 古早味 fish ball noodles, Lai Kee 来记西刀鱼丸 is the right place.
->> JB people's favourite fish ball noodle place.
Restaurant name: Restoran Lai Kee 来记西刀鱼丸
Address: 90, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, 81300 Johor Baru
Hours: Daily 7:30am to 3:00pm (Closed on alternate Weds)
Date visited: 10 Jan 2012, 29 Aug 2012
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