Big Tree Lin Kee – Steamed Fish Head @ CherasJune 14, 2011 | 5,352 views
The branch of the famous Chan Sow Lin Steamed Fish Head; this one being the tomyam variety with a tantalizing kick from the addition of tom yam paste into the gravy, complemented to a tee with the abundance of vegetables.
And after a seriously long hiatus from food reviews covering this part of the Malaysia (KL/PJ, I mean), let’s get back on track. Though by the time this is published, I am already halfway (how I wish I can say round the globe …) round the horizontal axis of Malaysia. Yup, this should be on my last day in Sabah; and there goes my lovely weekend. (Update : This was supposed to be scheduled for publishing earlier today, but did not manage to finish the post before departure. I am home now, picking up the pieces …. home sweet home, or post-holiday blues?)
Anyway, high chance of owing to the aging process, I find myself craving for foods that I found yucky/unpalatable/disgusting back when I was a teenager. For instance? Bitter gourd and now, fish heads.
No, by fish heads, I don’t mean those crunchy pieces of unrecognizable morsels you will find scrumptious and irresistible dunked in a milky broth with rice noodles infused with flavours from tomatoes and pickled greens (ie : Fish Head Noodles)
By fish heads, I meant REALLY gross-looking stuff (okay, so they’re still fish, essentially) steamed to perfection; whereby you usually get to choose what type of sauce you wish to steam the fish head together with.
And they have plentiful more media coverage pasted all over the place on the inside of the shop.
Very seldom do I venture all the way to Cheras and its vicinity for food. It’s been half a year now and I have not even managed to do the Wednesday evening’s Taman Connaught night market. Pathetic little me. Just can’t bear the thought of bracing myself for the impending congestion during peak hours towards KL’s direction.
The more than half an hour’s wait was testing our patience, as you can see how the ice cubes melted and created this streak of water condensed from the outer part of the glass. Come later than 3.30pm, to be sure.
But on this fine Sunday afternoon; a breezy one with nuances of those nonchalant, easy-going vibes all over the place (“The Lazy Song” again, perhaps?), we drove further and reached this steamed fish head specialist in Cheras.
Albeit not the original outlet that is opened from morning until 3.30pm, Big Tree Lin Kee‘s branch at this restaurant named 233 in Taman Connaught (ironically?) continues where the original shack of a stall left off. From 3.30pm onwards until 10.30pm.
Vinegar Pig’s Trotter (RM12/USD4)
And being the obedient children that we were, we reached in an almost uncannily punctual manner. 3.30pm sharp and wondered aloud where the crowd was. Or as expected.
Only a few old folks seated around sipping tea, but no trace of fish bones lying around the table. Hmm, fishy enough?
Abundance of long beans, brinjals and tomatoes already topping the steamed fish head, hence ordering a side plate of greens would be redundant.
Only to be gently reminded that they start not so early that day. By not so early, that means about 4pm+. And we were stuck as our drinks have arrived. So another half hour to go ….. Perseverance breeds success;usually. But we only get to order from 4.15pm onwards as they took considerable time to set up for the evening.
All was good, as we were presented with a menu complete with pictorial descriptions and English names of the dishes. But I already had in mind what I was going to dissect order for the late lunch-cum-early dinner.
Tom Yam Steamed Fish Head, Vinegar Pig’s Trotter and another random dish that happened to be stir fried sweet potato leaves.
Stir-fried Sweet Potato Leaves (RM6/USD2)
They offer steamed fish heads in a variety of sauces; from the famous plain soy sauce steamed to spicy bean paste style, and tom yam to steamed with ginger. And since we chose the Tom Yam version that came with various vegetables, our initial decision to go for the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’ (majestic name for a pungent spicy dish of stir fried petai/stinkbean, long beans, brinjal and ladies finger in spicy sambal belacan sauce) was met with disagreement from the lady taking our order. Essentially, the vegetables are but the same.
Verdict? Not the most impressive steamed fish head that I have had. I still prefer the one on Old Klang Road under the overhead bridge/highway. The tom yam gravy was being slightly diluted; not as spicy as desired though the tangy flavour was present. The fish was firm and steamed well, but possessing that slightly repulsive muddy taste.
The Vinegar Pig’s Trotter was good with copious amount of white rice, but suffered from tougher texture than of fork-tender quality. The gravy was fantastic though; of equal balance between savoury, sweet and sour. The sweet potato leaves was passable, neither here nor there. But thankfully did not suffer from the usual fibrous spell; requiring intense mastication before getting all choked up and green mass stuck between the teeth.
The Kitchen of Big Tree Lin Kee @ Taman Connaught
Maybe should have tried the other versions of the steamed fish head, rather than the tom yam one, since good and fresh steamed fish head should not be overwhelmed by strong flavours?
BIG TREE LIN KEE (CHAN SOW LIN STEAM FISH HEAD)
31, Jalan Cerdas 1,
56000 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur
Business Hours : 3.30pm – 10.30pm.
Closed on Wednesdays.
Tel No : 016-6656 331 ( Charlie ), 012-3022 355 ( Charlie )