Driving along the familiar main road towards Kukup, I noticed a street side stall directly across the road from Lee Biscuits which I have not seen before. The stall looked well patronised, and the big fish on the stall's banner got us curious enough to swing the car around to check out the new kid in town.
In Malaysia, there are many relaxing places like this where local folks gather for simple meals and coffee while catching up with the kampung news ;-p
The stall 阿富魚湯小炒 龍膽之家 the "home of giant grouper" is a giant grouper fish specialist.
A quick look at the menu didn't help as the dishes were mostly zhi char and curry type - there's giant grouper bitter gourd soup, giant grouper porridge, steamed giant grouper, giant grouper fish head bee hoon, asam pedas giant grouper.
As I prefer soupy dishes for breakfast, we settled for Giant Grouper soup.
Giant grouper soup with rice (RM11.50).
The pork bone broth was flavoursome with lots of fatty minced pork suspended inside. The taste and feel of the broth reminds me of the famous bak chor mee at Bedok, Singapore <- click
The pieces of fresh giant grouper flesh were tender and sweet. But, we felt the fish taste was a little shy or timid compared to the bolder porcine flavours. Still, it is a tasty fish soup.
We then ordered their signature Kam Heong Fish Head 甘香魚頭 which costs RM22 (yes, we order one dish at a time and analyse it ;-p We are pesky customers that way).
The fresh fish head is hacked into bony cubes, lightly battered, deep fried and tossed in a flavoursome sauce blending sweet, savoury and spicy flavours. The sauce is robust but we could still taste the fish meat's sweetness between the crevices of the bones. The curry leaves add a lovely aromatic spicy note to the dish.
Looking for other compelling reasons to drive from JB to Pontian for this stall, we looked around at what local customers were ordering.
Then, we saw many people eating this dish that looked like a jumble of meat and bone in soup.
Our next order.
"Can we have what they are having?".
Oh, that's not in the menu. It's "everything in it" soup :-D (It costs RM36.)
Oh, this really hits the sweet spot for me.
It literally has everything from pieces of giant grouper meat and bones to pork and liver slices, pork intestine, fish cake slices and fish balls.
There is really no need to say anymore about how tasty this giant grouper is :-D I love that thick tender skin of gelatin and collagen.
And, here the giant grouper fights back and held the broth in balance between the fish and porcine flavours. The result is a thick broth with layered natural sweetness from both the pork and the giant grouper. Delicious. This is my favourite for this morning.
Oh, next time, I will leave out the generic factory made fish balls ;-p
We had the "everything in it" soup with bee hoon which did a great job of soaking up the refreshing sweet savoury flavours between it's wet slurpy strands.
We were lucky to watch a giant grouper delivery during our visit :-D
Ah Wei, the boss, said that today's giant grouper weighing in at about 30 kg is average in size. Sometimes, they get 50 kg fish.
Once the fish arrives from nearby Kukup, it is immediately filleted and refrigerated to keep it fresh. Ah Wei makes carving that 30 kg of flesh looked so easy with that shiny blade, slicing through the meat like it was warm butter.
->> If you are in Pontian, do check out this little street side giant grouper fish specialist.
Restaurant name: 阿富魚湯小炒 龍膽之家
Address: Along Jalan Kukup, Pontian, Johor (directly opposite and across Jalan Kukup from Lee Biscuits Factory)
GPS: N 1.47535, E103.39440 / 1°28'31.3"N 103°23'39.8"E
Hours: 7:30am to 1:30pm (closed on Weds)
Date visited: 14 May 2016
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.