Chong Yen's claim-to-fame was that it used to be "The Place Under the Big Tree", a rustic eatery in an industrial estate which has attracted steamed fish-head connoisseurs from all over, and was also featured in an episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. It's moved a block up from where it used to be, into a spacious shophouse, but which, I felt, takes some of the charm away from its ambience. The old sign-post is still there, standing proudly outside the shophouse, but other than that, the semi-open air cooking stoves with steaming giant woks have now disappeared into the kitchen at the back.
Our lunch today:
- Steamed tofu, silken-soft, topped with golden, crisp-fried minced garlic and chopped scallions, drizzled with a mixture of sweetened, light soysauce and oil. It was light and very tasty.
- Crisp deep-fried pork loin, which had been marinated in 5-spice and fermented beanpaste. Very good, too.
- Steamed yellow-skinned "kampung" (free-range "village") chicken, which has quite a bite in its texture. I'm not too keen on the slightly chewy meat of this more expensive range of chicken, but I know many people are.
- The piece de resistance: steamed carp-fish head, with the same soysauce dressing as for the tofu, but I heard the "cheong cheng" version with beanpaste topping is tasty, too. Very fresh fish.
Standard of food overall? Nothing to shout about really. But the prices were incredibly low - all those food plus rice & drinks for 2 persons amounted to less than RM60 (US$19)!
Chong Yen Steamed Fish Head (壮源蒸鱼头饭档)
22-24, Jalan 2/89C
(Off Jalan Chan Sow Lin 4)
55200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +6012-231 8129