Monday, 23 May 2011

Kedai Makanan Kari Kepala Ikan Cheong Hin

View from front of restaurant
It seems that South Klang Valley has a proliferation of specialty fish or fish head places. From Jalan Chan Sow's Jalan 3 and Jalan 5 fish head places; Serdang Lama's Chong Siew Lam Restaurant with their signature 'wasabi' steamed fish; Kajang's Wan Fatt and their steamed fish with fried radish; Semenyih's Sin Tai Mah and Restoran 52 with their interpretations of the lai sar yee (sandy fish) and all the way to the Fish Valley Restaurant in Jalan Kachau, Semenyih where the fish comes straight from the pond. With such tough competition, it is surprising that relative newcomers like Kedai Makanan Kari Kepala Ikan Cheong Hin are able to thrive.

Truth be told however, Cheong Hin is not a new establishment. Having it's roots in a family restaurant in Puchong, the Yip siblings later expanded to several outlets including this one that we visited located at Serdang Perdana,behind the South City Plaza mall. This is an area dominated by the famous Soon Lee grilled fish restaurant (one of our picks for Top 10 best restaurants in South Klang Valley), but that's another story.

Now for a restaurant with the name "Kari Kepala Ikan" in it, you would have guessed fish head curry would have been our first choice dish. Well on this occasion, my sister in-law insisted that we should try the steamed "wan yee" fish head instead. The large serving of half a fish head came with a sizeable portion of the mid-section of the fish as well, on a large porcelain platter. The platter was heated on a portable gas oven, so the fish remained steaming hot throughout our dinner. That was not the only difference – the fish came immersed in a 'soup' that was generously 'loaded' with bird's eye chillies (cili padi). We could also taste some rice wine in the soup. The soup and fish were ladled into soup bowls and polished off to the last bone. The dish had an excellent balance of sweetness from the fresh fish, pungency from the chillies and tartness from the rice wine. Highly recommended. And at only RM28 for the huge serving, it was truly a steal.
House Special - Steamed Fish (before)
After (yes! it was that good!)
The recommended pork ribs with bitter gourd in black bean sauce was another well balanced dish – salty, sweet and bitter. Recommended as well.
Pork Ribs and Bitter Gourd
Paper wrapped herbal kampung chicken was next – a rather small bird, but full of flavor and strong herbal taste. Cooked until tender and practically falling off the bone, this chicken dish gets our thumbs up as well.
Herbal Kampung Chicken
Fried squid in salted egg crust was good, although not the best we have had. But good enough to get our thumbs up.
Fried Squid
The house special taufoo came in three inverted cup-shaped pieces. Topped with a tasty minced meat sauce, this was a simple dish well executed. Thumbs up again. We were recommended the small pak choy vegetable cooked with yam. This was the first time we had heard of such a dish. The result however was great – the vegetable was coated in a thin layer of tasty garlic and yam paste. Highly recommended. 
Dessert was on the house - very nice!
Dessert was complimentary - a simple longan jelly. I must thank my sister in-law for tipping me off about Cheong Hin. She also kindly paid for dinner for this outing. Thanks Mon. Our next outing here (and I'm sure it will be soon) is on me !

Location : No 2, Ground Floor, Jalan SP 2/2, Serdang Perdana, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor.
Contact : 03-89488425
Amenities : Baby chair; partially air-conditioned. Noise level can be quite high in the air-cond section and may also get a little crowded, especially on weekends and holidays.
Prices : Quite reasonable – between RM10 to RM20 per head.