This was my second visit to what I believe to be the original Chan Sow Lin fish head restaurant. Chong Yen (Steam Fish) Food Store used to be located along Jalan Chan Sow Lin 3. But they had to relocate because the land they sat on was apparently repossessed for development. Their previous location was so very rustic and charming. This was how it looked in its heyday. However when we passed it by on this second visit, it was quiet and deserted, and absolutely no development had taken place.
Its new location is on Jalan 2/89C, Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin 4, KL. It is not too far from its former location. Yet it took us quite awhile to locate it because it is off the main road, at the end of a row of shops that is isolated and hidden from view. The restaurant does not even have a signboard, just a couple of banners inconspicuously strung at the entrance of the shop.
The new place is big, spacious and basic. It was very well patronized. In spite of new remote location, the restaurant had apparently retained its clientele. It has 2 makan areas and both were jam packed when we arrived at lunch time. But sadly, it has lost its charm. It is now like any Chinese makan shop. Its old rustic aura is gone.
There was more of us during this second experience. So I was able to order a bit more food. The fish head was of course mandatory. This time, we opted to have it steamed in 2 different styles. One half was steamed in black bean sauce (酱蒸) - the same manner as we had before. It was just as delicious. The carp (松鱼) head was delightfully fresh. The sauce was perfect. Very nice indeed.
The other half was steamed in a light soy sauce, with sprinkling of fried garlic and chili. To me, this second steam was even better than the first. The sauce was light and unlike the the first half in the black bean, I could taste the freshness of the fish.
We had to have the fresh fish maw which I relished so much on my first visit. This time, the fish maw was served in a separate plate. It comprised 2 types of maws - the processed type and the fresh ones. They were steamed in the same black bean sauce. Both the fish maws were great. But I much preferred the fresh ones. The crunchy texture was wonderfully delicious.
We also had a plate of pak cham kai (白切鸡). It was the ayam kampung (菜园鸡 - free range chicken), with a nice yellowish skin and firm meat. No complains. The chicken was delicious.
This ordinary plate of Hongkong choy sum (香港菜心) completed our meal that day.
As we paid our bill, we talked to the man who collected from us. I am not sure if he was the boss man. He told us the restaurant opens only for lunch - up to 4pm, Monday to Saturday. They are closed on Sundays. He was visibly proud of the new establishment. But I had to differ. I very much preferred his old rustic makan place.