Monday, June 21, 2010

Dining Out @ Chong Fatt Seafood Restaurant, Jalan Selatan, Off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur

stare me down - Thai BBQ crab on a charcoal grill

I often wonder if life is driven by an invisible hand...and how sometimes events seems to collide. The reason why I was pondering on this was just before I went to this restaurant, I got an email from Denis -a blog reader from Australia who was asking me about Teochew Restaurant in Pudu. A faithful customer of the old school place, he was wondering what happened to it. Sadly, I had to break the news to him that they closed for business after Chinese New Year. The one bright spark was the restaurant's former chefs are still in town and working at various restaurants like Chong Fatt. Sadly there is no Teochew dim sum though, which was what Denis wanted as he's a dim sum addict.

good for you crispies....made from fish scales

Nevertheless dinner at Chong Fatt was literally a discovery for my tummy - partaking in some very unusual items like fish scales(!) and duck brain. This particular place that operates in a spacious grounds with ample parking space, is famous for their fresh seafood that is plucked from a row of aquariums. Right next to the Chinese restaurant, there is a more casual dining spot also owned by them, where Thai BBQ dishes and steamboat are available till 2am. The Thai BBQ section has a Thai chef presiding over it, which reminds me a little of Nong & Jimmy minus the yau char kwai with bright green kaya. Here you can pick and select your seafood - crabs, prawns, squid, clams, chicken, lamb and etc, to be grilled on the hot coals.

duck brain = bird brain or foie gras for the poor, the succulent Sichuan tea smoked duck

Our tummies were first soothed by bowls of the cong zao fish bone and chicken soup (RM13.80 per bowl) - a broth packed with flavour from cordycep flower, ginseng, red dates, black spring chicken and chunks of deep-fried garoupa fish bones. So full of flavour from being double boiled for six hours, I was slowly sipping this down and relishing every spoonful that I could see I was the last one to finish.

ikan kelah fish swimming in the tank, steamed and ready to be eaten, the flavour packed fish bone and chicken soup

Filled with the warmth from my soup, I tackled the next dish - braised till tender goose web with an abalone (RM20 per serving) nestled on top of it. A little bit of squid paste held the tender abalone in place. I loved the sauce that had absorbed all the yummy flavours and wished I had bread to mop up the lovely sauce. Next it was the fish scales looking more like deep fried crackers tossed in a salt and pepper mixture with chillies and spring onions. It took us a while to guess but it turned out to be the large scales of a river fish - ikan kelah (RM12.80 per 100g) that I had earlier snapped a picture of it. Subsequently, the steamed fish came lightly anointed with soy sauce - simply sublime stuff steamed to perfection as the fish flesh was tender with just a little Omega 9 oil.

tender braised goose web with abalone

The food kept rolling in....including a large platter of Sichuan tea smoked duck (RM35 for half, RM65 for whole) that had been boiled in a herbal broth to infuse it with flavour, smoked with a mixture of tea leaves, rice and sugar, and subsequently deep fried to give it a crispy skin. Even though I was getting quite full by then, I couldn't resist taking a few pieces of the duck as it was succulent and infused with the lovely tea flavour. I was then persuaded to try the duck brain - seems it is the prized part. That definitely perked my interest and I gave it a nibble. Hmmm, kinda tastes like goose liver - tender and soft. There's not much to go around though, as it's just a small piece (literally the bird brain!). I nibble the other parts of the head and it's packed with flavour. The next thing I know, I'm a convert and I can confirm that the duck head is definitely the best part!!

Thai BBQ prawns from the platter

We also got to sample the Thai chef's specialties, as we were served a Thai BBQ platter (RM50) - grilled lamb, chicken, prawns and squid, which was accompanied with four types of chilli sauce. Everything tasted good but my favourite was the lamb - tender and flavourful even without a dip of my favourite green chilli and lime sauce.

the unusual combo of pumpkin, bean sprouts, salted vegetable, bitter gourd and chillies

Next it was a spicy and slightly sweet honey sauce prawns with yellow ginger sauce (RM18 for 100g). The spicy creamy sauce would have gone well with a bowl of hot rice. Only one dish failed to impress - the kaw yoke or pork belly slices with peanuts as it lacked any flavour. Last but not least, it was an unusual vegetable dish - a combo of pumpkin slices, bean sprouts, thinly sliced bitter gourd and salted vegetable (RM15); all fried with spicy red bird-eye chillies and chillies. Slightly crunchy and soft from the pumpkin slices, it was a refreshing dish with a little spicy kick from the chillies. We finally ended our feast with dessert in the form of double boiled hasma with sugarcane (RM10 per serving) - a pleasant concoction to sooth the full tummies.
Chong Fatt Seafood Garden
Lot 208, PT48, Jalan Selatan
Off Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur

Tel:03-2141 1969/2141 1662
(Non Halal. Place is open daily until 2am. For the detailed location map, see my Flickr set that also has more pictures and details of the dishes.)


Sean said...

ooh, i've never tried duck brains before, but it sounds really cool. wish it could be served more widely, since every duck has brains, rite (even if there's not much of it) :D i recall having calf brains before, but didn't quite like it. a bit too, ermm, squishy...

J said...

(Erm. Ew. Can't help but feel a little squeamish! I guess the best way to get over the fear is to go out and eat one?)

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wow, the live ikan kelah must have cost a bomb rite? thats some like canggih river fish..

Kenny Mah said...

Crispy fish scales! That's a first - looks just like keropok! (Well, a variety of it anyway, heh.)

Ciki said...

i think I know this place.. the food is really good! use to eat here with my hubs relatives. they live in imbi;)

J2Kfm said...

Indeed this place is a cut above the rest, in terms of innovation. Never seen before combination of vegetables, and of course .. the scales and the (bird's) brain.
I wonder how much that meal cost.

Ellen Whyte said...

I knew it was a bad move to visit you. Now I'm staaaaarving!

Great pics and writeup.

Nick said...

I'm distraught to find out that Teochew Restaurant closed for good. I was there just before CNY when I was last in the country. Any news on where the rest of the chefs have gone to?

thule a.k.a leo said...

NOw this is the right kind of place where I will definitely visit :)
creative dishes.. but I wonder how much it will cost me :P mind to tell???

boo_licious said...

Sean - guess it's very much an acquired taste. was told duck heads are excellent for braising!

J - I was a like you too, ewww but I warmed up to the idea after a while.

Joe - not a bomb compared to the emperau fish, that one is damn pricey. I prefer this one, less oily.

C&C - wow, you know this place! Am impressed.

j2kfm - typical Chinese restaurant prices.

Au&Target - hope the female servant brought you chikken!

Nick - one ended up here, the other one went to Richwell in PJ, same row as Greenview. Seems food is also excellent there.

Leo - sorry, I actually placed the prices in Flickr but I've now added them for you.

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