Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head (Episode 1) 海记松鱼头

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

My current best of Johor food hunt project is to look for the best steamed song fish head in the state. Restoran Hai Ji was the second song fish head I tried in JB and the first that I liked. (I have been a fan of steamed song fish head since I tasted the legendary Chan Sow Lin steamed song fish head of Kuala Lumpur over 20 years ago.)


As usual, I turned to my Facebook friends for help. Restoran Hai Ji 海记松鱼头 in Taman Johor Jaya was one of their recommended steamed song fish head places. Please share with me your favourite places for song fish head.

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

Restoran Hai Ji is a typical Malaysian style shop lot no frills eatery. The owners hailed from Ipoh and have been running Hai Ji for nearly twenty years here. Pictures of the signature dishes were on the sun bleached signboard overhead. I could only clearly make out the steamed song fish head.

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

All of Hai Ji's dishes are on this one page menu - they are mostly Cantonese zhi char 煮炒 dishes. They serve song fish head in two ways - steamed with mashed ginger 姜熔 and stewed 红烧松鱼头.

Hai Ji's song fish are seasonally priced. They showed us the raw fish and told us the price before proceeding to cook it. Seeing that the fish was fresh, we gave them the go ahead.

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头
Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

The steamed song fish came completely smothered under a thick blanket of olive green colour mashed ginger. The fish was resting in a watery pool of brownish green sauce. (Price RM43.)

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

The fish was fresh and meaty. The white flesh was tender, smooth and juicy. It was sweet with a bit of earthly taste (yes, song fish is an acquired taste but most people are OK with the signature earthly taste after 1 or 2 tries). As the fish was fresh, the very mild earthly taste was dominated by the sweet taste and so it didn't bother us at all.

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

The mashed ginger was soft and smooth. It tasted gently sweet spicy with subtle ginger heat.

Together in the mouth, the fish, mashed ginger and savoury sauce combined for a well balanced sweet spicy savoury taste. We love it (though I would love it even more, if the ginger packed a sharper sting).

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

This piece of soft fat is the litmus test of the freshness of song fish head. Today, it tasted sweet with very little earthly taste. We happily ate it all up. (If the fish was not as fresh, the fat tastes unbearably earthly.)

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

 Eating song fish head can be dangerous as the fish is very bony with big and small bones. The small bones are like tiny fish hooks with sharp barbs while big bones are like nails and razor blades. Please be very careful, especially with children or seniors.

Hakka Fried Pork

We also had Hai Ji's Hakka fried pork (price RM12). It didn't looked very pretty but it was one of the better Hakka fried pork that we have tried before. The slight crispness outside complemented the tender moist inside. The fermented bean curd seasoning balanced the naturally sweet fresh pork.

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

Information for you 👉 My first visit to Hai Ji and I liked both the steamed song fish head and Hakka fried pork - the only two dishes we tried tonight. We will be back to try more dishes at Hai Ji as we believe they have many dishes which we will like here.

Restoran Hai Ji. Hunt for Johor Best Song Fish Head 海记松鱼头

Restaurant name: Restoran Hai Ji 海记松鱼头
Address31, Jalan Dedap 8, Johor Jaya, Johor Bahru
GPS1°32'25.3"N 103°48'20.1"E 🌐 1.540350, 103.805594
Tel: 019 721 9469
Hours: 12:00 noon - 2:00pm | 5:00pm - 10:00pm (Tues off)

Non Halal




Date visited: 23 Jan 2019


JB Johor Best Food
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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't. All comments with genuine identities are published.

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