Monday, 23 November 2015
Chinatown Seng Kee 119 Famous Steamed Fish Head Singapore 成记驰名酱蒸松鱼头 JK1307
I don't know since when, but I've long been a junkie of the Cantonese classic steamed Song fish head. In Singapore, the best place to get this dish is Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre. There are many steam fish head stalls here, so I will try them one by one, starting with Seng Kee 成记 which is the most famous (going by mainstream media mentions).
(Thanks to Melvin of Jing Ji braised duck & kway chap stall #02-156 who gave me a guided tour of this sprawling grand old food centre and pointing out Seng Kee to me.)
There are many steam fish head stalls here at Chinatown food centre, so I start my exploration with the most famous one, Seng Kee 119 at stall #02-190 in the "Blue Zone". (The numbers are confusing, I know.)
The cavernous Chinatown food centre is divided into zones of different colours to help customers locate the stalls. (I said cavernous because parts of the food centre are dim with many nooks and crannies like in a cave.)
Seng Kee's signature "steam fish head in hot sauce".
With so many steam fish head stalls here, pricing is very competitive. SGD13 for half a fish head, enough for two persons seems to be the "standard" price. (The fish head was sliced laterally through the middle).
The white meat of Song fish was soft with a very slight springy bite. There was a very slight earthy taste but it was not bothersome at all. The fish was very fresh.
Every steam fish head stall have their own signature sauce 醬. At Seng Kee, the thickened sauce was tangy, sweet, spicy and savoury. Preserved plums added a salty sourness while fermented soy beans provided savouriness. Bits of chili peppers gave the sauce spicy notes. It's like a Thai style sweet sour spicy sauce - but balanced and held together with savouriness which moderated the sharpness of Thai sauces. Seng Kee's sauce is milder and thickened with starch.
Bits of freshly fried pork lard crackles and lard added a porcine flavour to the sauce.
I enjoyed the many flavours blended together in a well balanced sauce. It complements well the Song fish which is a freshwater pond raised fish with characteristic earthy taste. The signature sauce was sufficiently robust to mask the earthiness, yet gentle enough to highlight the fish's freshness.
I enjoyed my fish head by digging and scraping out every bit of soft, gelatinous tissue between the bone crevices and sockets.
Warning: Please be very careful when eating Song fish head as the head and body are full of tiny and huge sharp bones like needles, nails and knives. (This is also a reminder to myself too.)
Seng Kee 119 occupies two stalls in the "Blue Zone". They were getting ready to close for the day at around 10:00pm.
->> If you are a steam Song fish head fan, Chinatown food centre is the place to be. If you are new, start with Seng Kee 119 :-D
Restaurant name: 成记驰名酱蒸松鱼头 Seng Kee 119 Steamed Fish Head in Hot Sauce
Address: Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, 335 Smith Street, #02-190, Blue Zone, Singapore 050335
GPS: 1.282668, 103.842873
Tel: +65 6222 8202
Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm (closed on Tuesday)
Date: 22 Nov 2015
Which is your favourite steam Song fish head stall in Singapore, Malaysia and beyond?
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