*from my StarMetro December 2010 column
Fish is probably the last thing I would order at a restaurant. I was never a fish lover, and until today, I am not a convert. Of all the fish dishes, steamed fresh water fish is my least favourite, because many restaurants tend to prepare it poorly. The fish often ends up with a muddy smell and taste, and I, with a frown.
On the other hand, Rif’s mother loves eating fresh water fish such as tilapia and catfish, and would often invite me to go along for those meals with her. After a few trips, I finally found a steamed fish dish that I actually enjoyed – at Restoran Ah Soon, Sungai Buloh. This place is known for their steamed fish because they have a special way of preparing it.
The restaurant gets pretty crowded during lunch hour, so it’s best to get there before noon. As I observed the surrounding, I spotted quite a number of office workers, construction workers and even businessmen dining there. We had steamed fish (RM22), wild boar curry (RM12), house special tofu (RM10) and stir fried assorted vegetables (RM12).
At Ah Soon, the steamed fish is cooked with plenty of ginger, bird’s eye chilli, black fungus, bean curd sheets, tomatoes, salted vegetable and tofu puffs. The fragrant aroma from the broth made my mouth water when the waitress placed the dish on the table. I relished every sip of the broth, which complemented the freshness of the fish.
It was tangy from the tomatoes, sweet from the rice wine and slightly spicy from the chilli. We ordered some yau char kwai(deep fried crullers) to soak up the broth. I hate to admit this, but it was really delicious. This was possibly one of the best steamed fishes I’ve eaten! Another must-order dish is the wild boar curry. The wild boar slices had a tender yet firm bite, which were well-flavoured by the rich and piquant curry gravy. The gravy was fragrant from the spices and boasted a good balance of flavours — absolutely delicious with white rice. I regretted ordering a small plate. My health conscious mother would probably cringe at the sight of this, but if you asked me, a little bit of sinful food every now and then isn’t that bad.The house tofu was very smooth and egg-y, with a slightly bouncy texture. Lightly garnished with minced pork, spring onions, special sauce and sesame oil, we all enjoyed this. My only complaint is the small portion; the tofu was about the size of my palm! Topped with shredded cuttlefish, the stir fried assorted vegetables had a crunchy texture. I especially liked the combination of lotus roots and peanuts. Simple, yet delicious. All in, I enjoyed the lunch and prices were reasonable. While fish still isn’t my favourite thing to eat, I wouldn’t mind eating Ah Soon’s steamed fish every now and then. For my next visit, I’m planning to try the curry chicken bun and their other steamed fish dishes. Now, I just need to round up a few makan buddies to go with me. Steamed fish, anyone?
Food: 7/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: The food was good, and service was fast. I’ll definitely come back to try more dishes.