FOODMusings

SeeFoon Gets All Steamed Up Over Fish

It’s quite amazing how certain locations are famous for certain dishes and Rawang is one of them. I have heard of their famous steamed Tilapia but have never had the pleasure of actually tasting it. Now I won’t have to go to Rawang for this delectable dish. It is right on our doorstep with the opening of the Rawang Famous Steam Fish.

Located at a corner shop lot adjacent to the Symphony Suites Hotel, this newly-opened restaurant is ‘coffee-shop’ style with ample fans and because it is a corner shop, is sufficiently airy for the group of us who were there, not to be affected by the heat.

Of course the first thing we ordered was the famous steamed fish. This is black Tilapia, live from the tank in the kitchen, which they source locally and steamed to perfection with the very special Betong ginger. Again having heard about this special ginger for quite some time, and never having tasted it, I was delighted to notice that not only do they sell this at the restaurant (raw) for takeaway but they use it generously on their fish lending a particularly special fragrance unlike ordinary ginger. RM30 for a medium size fish.

Another signature dish here is their Odyssey Soup, pig’s stomach stuffed with a kampong chicken and steamed till tender. This is then cut up and served, the pig’s stomach thick and succulent, (unlike some other places where they tend to be thin and puny) and the broth robust and umami. The tureen was so large that even between the six of us at the table, we couldn’t eat it all and ended up taking half of it home, which suited me to a T as I absolutely adore offal – RM78.

The fried Kangkung with sambal belacan had very good ‘wok hei’ (wok energy) and was devoured quickly – RM8; as was the the Dong Po Rou, a thick slab of well braised belly pork, the skin and fat cooked to a jelly consistency and was absolutely melt-in-the-mouth delectable, the saucing done perfectly – RM22.

We then had the deep fried Ham Dan squid, crispy morsels of squid coated with salted egg yoke and flavoured with curry leaves and hints of chilli. Yummilicious RM16; followed by the Loufah Tofu, the tofu velvety smooth in a sauce made more umami by the generous addition of crab meat – RM19.

The crème de la crème of the evening’s menu had to be the Pork Trotter, a humongous Pig’s Trotter deep fried (presumably after steaming) with the skin still crispy and the meat inside falling off the bone, tendons and sinews reduced to jelly and paired with the black pepper sauce that was slightly on the sweet side, was heavenly. Despite our best efforts to do justice to the dish, the portion was so large that again we had to take a big portion home – RM60.

We then followed all this up with taster portions of their Kam Heong kampong chicken, marinated with Tong Kwai (Chinese Angelica), steamed and ladled with hot oil. Excellent flavour – RM16 and their cheesy prawns, large seawater prawns cooked in the shell and served with a cheese sauce, an interesting fusion delight at RM30.

Victor Lee, together with his sister Vicky run this restaurant and it is interesting to note that young as this brother and sister team is, they are passionate about what they do and can be seen busily keeping customers happy, explaining the menu and keeping their team of Iban workers on their toes. This is no struggling pair needing to survive, instead coming from a well-to-do family and in fact Victor, who gave me his card, has a B.A. in Management Studies from the UK.

When asked what prompted him to open this restaurant and naming it Rawang Famous Steam Fish, he said, “There is no harm in riding on the wave of popularity of a famous product. We are using fish sourced locally in Perak which helps our economy and along the way, delivering a superior dish for Ipohites. My love of food has been my passion for a long time and this restaurant is the fulfilment of a dream. I hope to be able to create more innovative dishes as we go along.”

At which point he urged us to try one of these innovations, the ‘Yu Tsu Gai’ or suckling pig chicken, drumsticks, deboned, chopped up and roasted, with the crispy chicken skin on top to resemble the crispy skin of the suckling pig. Indeed on tasting, the chicken skin was crispy and while not crackling as in suckling pig, it bore some resemblance especially when served with the suckling pig sweet sauce. Now if he would add the pancake and scallions, diners can certainly pretend to be having an economical version of the very pricey suckling pig. RM16 per portion.

Rawang Famous Steam Fish
1 Jalan Lapangan Symphony, 31350 Ipoh.
Tel: 05 311 0854
Business Hours: 12pm-3pm; 6pm-10pm;
                             7 days a week

GPS: N 4° 34.124’  E 101° 6.82’

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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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