When I realised that this shop specialises in steam Song fish head (carp) 蒸松鱼头, I immediately thought of the Chan Sow Lin Jalan Tiga steam Song fish head stall 陈秀莲蒸松鱼头 in Kuala Lumpur.
I worked in Kuala Lumpur for a few years and still travel there regularly for leisure. There are many really awesome eateries in KL and one which I always go back to is the legendary Chan Sow Lin steam Song fish head stall 陈秀莲蒸松鱼头.
It's not really a stall at all - more like a ramshackle shack under an untidy clump of trees in a messy backyard industrial area at the cowboy fringe of the great city. But, Chan Sow Lin steam Song fish head stall had over the decades achieved national fame and was even a tourist attraction for foodies from all over Malaysia and Singapore. Chan Sow Lin steam Song fish is on my list of top, top favourites. (Chan Sow Lin steam fish had moved to new premises in 2010 after the old Jalan Tiga area, where it was at, was redeveloped.)
Inside Zhuang Yuan (Senai) restaurant, there was this large framed poster telling the Chan Sow Lin steamed fish head story. I posted this picture in large size so that you can read their inspiring story. You can also click on the picture to view a KL blogger's post on the original Chan Sow Lin steam fish head stall.
We sat down and I let Byran make the orders as he was more familiar with this shop, it being his favourite.
We had a Song fish head steamed in fermented bean paste, steamed tofu and bitter gourd soup.
As we ate, I can't help but reminisce about the old Chan Sow Lin stall, retelling how wonderful their steamed Song fish head was. Inevitably, I was comparing this steamed Song fish with the mythical Chan Sow Lin fish head that lived on in my memory.
You know a Song fish head had aced the taste test when customers gleefully sucked the last shreds of gelatinous tissue out from in between the head bones.
The tofu brick was soft and the sauce was lightly flavoured, thus allowing us to savour the gentle taste of soy bean.
The bitter gourd soup was really a misnomer. If anything it should be called "sweet gourd" soup as the thin slices of crunchy gourd were sweet and refreshing. The pieces of pork innards were very well cleaned, and were tender and naturally sweet. The soup was tasty and I couldn't detect much, if any MSG at all.
Our lunch for two guys, including rice and drinks came to RM45.
After our lunch, the boss of Zhuang Yuan graciously let me photograph them at work in the kitchen.
The Song fish head in a blanket of finely chopped ginger, my preferred style, ready for the steamer.
The fish head goes into the standing steamer.
These were other customers' orders which I will try at the next visit :)
The braised belly pork
Zhuang Yuan's signature deep fried pork.
Whenever I am in the Senai area, Zhuang Yuan will definitely be a good choice for lunch.
Address: 295, Jalan Utama 2, Taman Bintang Utama, Senai, Johor
Hours: 11:00am to 3:00pm (Closed on Sunday)
Date visited: 19 Nov 2012
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