Friday, January 28, 2011

F4 Fish Head

We had a call from my wife's sister one Saturday suggesting dinner in Subang Jaya. We drove to her place and then followed in separate cars to USJ2. We drove pass some factories, workshops and warehouses, on a really bad bumpy road; made a right turn and we were in front of a big makan place that I would never imagine would be.

The place was F4 Fish Head Restaurant. It is located in the industrial area of Subang Jaya - along an unnamed road off Jalan Subang 4 in USJ2. The GPS co-ordinates are N3 02.805 E101 35.774. I have to provide the co-ordinates because it is hidden in the USJ2 industrial area and is not so easy to find.

The place was as huge as a factory. It probably was one. It had the setting not of a restaurant but that of a factory - the lights, the fans, the ceiling and the floor. And it was very well patronized. The place could easily accommodate a hundred tables. That evening we arrived not long after 6, and the place was already jammed. We just managed to find a table at one corner of the place.

The place claimed to serve Chan Sow Lin fish head - written in Chinese on the wall. It is a claim made by numerous fish head places in the Klang Valley. Whether or not there was any authenticity in this claim, I really could not tell. I still believe the real Chan Sow Lin fish head is here.

As my brother-in-law ordered the food, I walked around with my camera taking pictures for this blog. Soon after our first sips of the Chinese tea, the food began to appear. I was a little awed how the kitchen coped with the huge crowd, coming out with food so soon after we arrived. I guessed that was the only factory in that whole building now, churning out dishes after dishes like a manufacturing plant.

Our first dish was the gu lou yuk (咕噜肉 - sweet & sour pork). This dish was ordered for Fei Fei, the youngest member of our dining group that evening. The deep fried meat was crunchy but that was the only good point I could find in this dish. The sauce and other condiments were rather ordinary. Not a great dish.

The deep fried sotong (squid) was good. It was fried in a batter with some curry leaves. The squid was fresh and succulent and not over done. It tasted delicious.

The curry fish head to me was a disappointment. The pieces of fish head, though fresh, was quite devoid of meat; more of bones. The curry was pale and did not have the faintest aroma of curry. If this was the type of fish head they serve here, that Chan Sow Lin claim was baloney.

Our vege dish was lo hon jai (羅漢菜). It was good. The cooking was simple. The ingredients were fresh. I liked it.

The serving of the sambal prawn was rather small. I wished it was bigger because it was good. The dish had some long beans and okra (ladies finger) in it. The sambal was very aromatic. The prawns were cooked just right. It was juicy and also not over-done.

The final dish was the steamed tilapia in minced ginger. The fish was very fresh. It was probably swimming when we ordered it. Poor fish, giving up its life because of us. The chef perhaps used an overdose of minced ginger, but I didn't mind it. The freshness of the fish compensated for any shortcoming. Any fish that fresh cannot be wrong.

All in all, it was a good meal. The F4 factory was nothing fanciful. It was good for a simple meal. My brother-in-law rushed to pay the bill and I had no idea if the damage was just as simple.

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