By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
I am often asked by my readers, where I find all these restaurants that I write about. My stock reply is, “When you have different groups of friends who are all Foodies, each group will have their own preferences and naturally gravitate to discovering their particular type of cuisine. And I am the lucky beneficiary of their explorations.”
The latest discovery was made by Francis Raj a fellow Foodie Kaki of Ginla Chew, my intrepid explorer friend of all good things culinary.
two months old, the restaurant called GLK Restaurant is located in the newly-opened Vivo Square on Jalan Kuala Kangsar. Although relatively small inside, the open space outside facing into the square is ample.
Proprietor Mr Foong Ngei Jee explained his main reason for opening the restaurant. “I supply frozen wild caught river fish to many restaurants, some of them hard to come by and all caught by Orang Asli. The fish is immediately frozen and delivered to my regular restaurant clients. However, I have been toying with the idea that I can do a better job at cooking and serving up some of this fish in my own kitchen and my own restaurant. Hence, I took the plunge and opened GLK restaurant,” he declared.
Although Foong still supplies his fish to restaurants, he hopes that he can entice new individual customers to come and try his delectable wild-caught river fish at his restaurant.
Of course, other Chinese dishes are also on the menu like Free Range Chicken cooked in rice wine and ample slivers of ginger with the usual accompaniments of wood-ear fungus in a sweet broth, redolent of ginger and wine. RM38 for a half chicken and his 3-Cup chicken, made with sweet soy and oyster sauce RM22 (small). And for me the ‘offally’ good pigs fallopian tubes fried with dried prawns; RM22.
But let me get to the fish as this is really a speciality fish restaurant. Their homemade Saito Fish (Wolf Herring) fish balls were bouncy and firm to the bite (the way fish balls are meant to be) and at RM1.20 per piece, was a good way to start the meal.
We followed this with another fish dish the Hong Mei Mao in cubes, braised in a clay pot. This fish had no bones, very tender to the bite and one of my favourites of the evening. Locally known as Bawang Merah; RM7 for 100g.
The whole steamed fish complete with its scales which can be eaten or deep fried was the Kerai Putih from Pahang at RM12 for 100g. This fish had smooth and sweet flesh but one had to be careful of the bones. It would certainly be interesting to come back and ask for the scales to be fried. That would certainly be a new taste sensation for me – the ever curious foodie.
We then had the Saito Belly steamed with a sweetish, assamy, spicy sauce (but you can choose whichever style you’d like it cooked) which I found a tad too sweet but the fish was fresh to my taste buds; RM60.
We had a lesson in wild-caught river fish. From his freezer, Foong took out two humongous fish. The smaller of the two was a Tapah Kuning, a giant catfish-like fish which sells for RM120 per kg. And the next was this giant Hoong Kat Loh or Kelah Merah which sells for RM250 per kg. The Ikan Kelah Merah or Red Mahseer has been crowned the “king” of the Malaysian river not for no reason – the expensive and elusive fish is the dream catch of any angler or the sought-after dish of any gourmet.GLK RESTAURANTVivo Square, 1 Jalan Lang Jaya 2,Pusat Komersial Jaya, 30010 Ipoh.Tel: 011 1193 6038GPS: 4.634458, 101.089710Opening hours: 11.30am-9.30pm