Monday, 23 March 2015
Johor Fish Ball Noodles at Lai Kee in Tun Aminah JB 来记西刀鱼圆（皇后花园)
Lai Kee fish ball noodles 来记西刀鱼圆 is a household name in Johor Bahru, especially in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah 皇后花园 where the shop is located since 1987.
Lai Kee has a strong following of loyal locals, many of whom are third generation fans who grew up eating Lai Kee fish balls. So, the shop is always busy, filled with young and old customers from open till close.
More often than not, you will find the founder Ah Lai 亞來 leading from the front, personally cooking the noodles.
Ah Lai is ably supported by his working partner and all his staff. So, waiting time is reasonable (up to 30 minutes) even during peak hours.
At Lai Kee, the fish balls are freshly made every day using 100% fresh Ikan Parang (Wolf Herring) fish. The only added ingredient is salt for seasoning.
Each and every fish ball is made by hand with only a spoon, the old way.
The freshly made fish balls are kept fresh in buckets of ice and water.
As Ah Lai's fish balls are hand made, none are perfectly round or golf ball size. Neither are they snowy white as they are not bleached. They also don't bounce like ping pong balls as they are 100% fish meat without flour and starch.
At Lai Kee, every part of the Ikan Parang is put to good use. The fish bones, stripped of flesh, are fried in oil and then used to make broth.
Fresh lard crackles and lard are made everyday at the shop. Ah Lai uses copious amounts of lard in his sauce (you have been warned ;-p ).
My bowl of yellow noodles with blended sauce and topped with thin slices of fresh lean pork.
We can also ask for fish cake slices.
The generic yellow noodles are tossed in a heavy lard and soy based sauce. I usually ask for their fresh house made chili sauce for an extra bit of spicy kick. The savoury flavours are robust and some people might find it slightly too salty and oily.
The fish balls are served separately in a bowl of soup. The soup is robustly savoury, laced with lard crackles and quite greasy.
The fish balls are firm and bouncy to the bite. Each bite releases a subtly fresh fish flavour. The fish balls are also quite salty as salt is used to season the fish meat.
The fried fish balls have a slight crisp and chewy spongy bite. Slightly more savoury and still has that nice fish flavour.
There is the soup version for those who prefer it wet ;-p (I have not tried the soup version before.)
If you love lard crackles, you can eat to your heart's content.
For sides, many people order Lai Kee's fish cake. Sliced thick, it's slightly too salty for my taste buds. Texture wise it's firm and dense. The tangy spicy dipping sauce tasted generic.
Lai Kee's fish cake is good for taking home and when thinly sliced, it is perfect.
The weather beaten signboard at Lai Kee. Lai Kee been serving the community for 28 years now.
I like it that this is a crowded, bare bones old shop as I love to mingle ;-D
Come to TUTA specially for Lai Kee fish ball noodles if you like robustly savoury flavours, heavily laced with lard. If you are a fish ball lover who prefers milder, gentler flavours, do check out Lai Kee, if you happen to be in TUTA.
->> JB people's favourite fish ball noodle place. Real, hand made ikan parang fish balls. Strong savoury, salty taste with generous splashes of lard.
Restaurant name: Restoran Lai Kee 来记西刀鱼丸
Address: 90, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, Johor Baru, Malaysia
GPS: 1.522671,103.664653 / 1°31'21.6"N 103°39'52.8"E
Hours: Daily 7:30am to 3:00pm (Closed on alternate Weds)
Dates visited: Numerous times since 10 Jan 2012
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