Chan Sau Lin fish head

fish head

I remember having really good fish head in 2005. I was working in Kuching at that time and one of our partners brought us to the famous Chan Sau Lin fish head during a business trip here. As luck would have it, we went to the very same place yesterday.

chan sau lin

It’s now moved from Jalan Chan Sau Lin No 3 (thus the Cantonese moniker) to Jalan Chan Sau Lin No 5. The place is huge, with a semi-outdoor (meaning it’s ventilated but covered) court and an air-conditioned area.

tai sam lou

This is what’s left of the famous hot and sweltering fish head at Tai Sam Lou with the famous tree – a faded photo. The tree stump is apparently still there.

chicken steamed

I don’t go around to these parts pretty often and a lot of people say that the fish head has deteriorated. They do serve a pretty mediocre plate of pak cham kai (steamed chicken).

curry fishhead

We ordered two fish heads – one is the curry version which I didn’t like at all. The curry gravy overpowered the fish. I like my fish to be as close to natural as possible.

fermented soy fish

The other one we had was the fermented soy sauce fish head. This is delicious! The way it’s cooked left the fish head relatively unmolested and there’s bird’s eye chili on top to add that additional zap to the palate. Succulent and tender, it left me digging into the head for stray pieces of fish.

me fishhead

Here’s a cheesy shot of me. The new place is at Jalan Lima off Jalan Chan Sau Lin in Sungai Besi. Don’t ask me for the GPS coordinates coz I broke my phone in Phuket but you can call 017-224 2133 for Hoi. I gleaned all that from the card I took from the place.

Lunch cost us RM 99 for four people, including a dish of bean sprouts I didn’t bother to take. ;)

Kepala Ikan Asam Pedas Botak

botak asam fish head

Botak assam fish head is one of the more popular fish head places in JB. It’s different from the famous Kam Leong fish head at Jalan Wong Ah Fook – Botak asam fish head is spicy and sour, while Kam Leong’s is cooked in a more traditional Chinese style curry.

Botak asam fish head is their signature dish, but a lot of people order the deep fried fish head too.

botak johor

The proper name for the place is actually Kedai Makanan Jadi Baru (Botak). I heard that the name originates from the proprietor’s hairstyle – he’s bald. Thus, people started calling the place Botak (bald) asam fish head. It occupies two shop lots side by side and prior to their expansion, the queue for it is legendary too. In fact, it’s still very full when we went – almost all the tables are occupied!

botak restaurant

Behold! This is the huge claypot of asam fish head that we had for lunch. This portion is for five (5) people and it has okra, tofu and other miscellaneous vegetables. We opted for the fish slices instead of the fish head – I reckon the fish head will taste even better.

botak lunch

I noticed that they make a pretty good omelet too and one of the things that you must not miss is their otak-otak.

botak otak otak

The otak-otak from Botak (rhymes, doesn’t it) is simply delicious! It comes wrapped in banana leaves and when you open it up, a waft of steam rises, accompanied by the aroma of fresh fish and spices. This chunk of otak-otak is STUFFED with fresh fish flakes. It’s one of the most amazing otak-otak I’ve ever had – it’s spiced just right and 80% of the jellied contents is made of fish! Delectable.

botak asam fish

I wouldn’t compare Botak asam fish head and Kam Leong fish head side by side – it’s two different dishes. I like the spiciness of the asam fish in Botak – it leaves a nice sour aftertaste, and you can practically see the chili flakes on the fish. It’s amazing. I love asam and I can see why the perfect combination of spiciness and sour notes has people flocking in droves to Botak asam fish head.

Restoran Kari Kapala Ikan Cheras

cheras fish head restaurant

Cheras Fish Head Curry Restaurant is an eating establishment that
has been in operation since 1978. The eatery is open 24 hours a day and
serves curry fish head as their flagship dish. There’s also a sign
saying that their other signature dish is the mutton curry.

cheras fish head mutton

The kari kambing (mutton curry) was good…though the chunks are a
little too big to handle. Smaller cuts would have been nice, but
otherwise, I have no complaints about the mutton curry. It says that
the mutton curry has been popular since the restaurants inception.

cheras fish head crackers

The obligatory crackers also made an appearance…

cheras fish head vegies

…as well as the vegetable dish.

cheras fish head prawns

We also ordered some prawn curry. It was alright, but nowhere near as good as the mutton curry.

cheras fish head calamari

The calamari curry was also uninspiring…

cheras fish head fish

…but then came the much lauded fish head curry. It was great! The
curry fish head came out tender, with the fish tasting fresh despite
the curry treatment.

cheras fish head fish accusing

There’s just something about a dead fish looking accusingly at you
(through chilli covered eyes) while you eat. I can’t explain it…

cheras fish head waterfall

…but those who are inclined to do so can drown themselves in the
waterfall beside the restaurant should the guilt prove to be
overwhelming. ;)

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