Always Stick To What You Do Best!
To be honest, restaurants or cafes should take the words ‘Less is More’ seriously! When will some places learned that ‘More’ doesn’t always work?
Stick to what you know best and make sure to do them well is what Ah Lye Curry Fish Head does in the hidden housing neighborhood in SS19, Subang Jaya. Ah Lye was so well hidden and yet not really to many others until I was graciously invited by a lovely couple whom I met while dining out to this restaurant. Maria, the missus, is really sweet and said we need to try this restaurant for its infamous curry fish head, thus we assembled our bellies one fine evening in Subang Jaya!
Ah Lye Curry Fish Head has been around since 2000 and is open by Taiping-ians, occupying a shop lot in SS19’s housing area. Menu is very simple and minimal. Décor almost bare but clean and service is family-oriented with some helpers. Good news to diners that there is air-conditioned to ensure one doesn’t sweat it out while enjoying piping hot curries!
Upon arrival, the order was already locked in as we sat down to enjoy the company of Maria and her lovely family. I can see lots of tables occupied with families enjoying the dishes whole-heartedly. From the kitchen, I started to drool at the aroma of spices wafting through the whole restaurant. Dishes arrived promptly as soon as we told the wait staff to start the meal!
Serving home cooked dishes, the first to arrive was Beansprout with Salted Fish. Sufficiently executed with a good crunch of beansprouts and little crispy bits of salted fish to entice the aromatic ‘Kiam Hu’ fetish! Garlic, prawns and spring onion also made its presence. Ok-lah… I like this just because it reminded me of my mom’s version… J
The star of Ah Lye Curry Fish Head came bubbling in a claypot. The claypot seemed to be holding a vast amount of ingredients swimming ferociously in the curry. I could tell the curry is creamy at a glance. A good color of the curry signified a liberal amount of spices was used and the thickness of the curry is another good sign. Brimming with ladies’ fingers, eggplant, bean curd puff and pieces of fish head, the aroma is intoxicating in a very good way!
Ladling copious amounts of gravy onto my rice, I was well awarded with luscious, creamy, spicy and tangy flavors. Gelatinous skin of garoupa fish head is meant for fish head lovers while I simply prefer the meat of the fish. Despite the minimal fish meat, I was truly happy and satiated with the gravy and the vegetables alone. My other companions seemed to enjoy sucking the life out of the fish heads though. Heck, omit the fish head for all I care… lol… or maybe I should ask the owners if they would cooked up the curry with the body of the fish instead of the head?? J
What I like is the surprising hint of tangy flavor in the creamy curry. Again, I guess this led back to memories of my mother’s version so I concluded that memories are responsible for my preference of taste. If I wasn’t trying to be polite, I would indeed hog the whole pot of gravy to myself!
Another house signature and a dish which I practically see at almost every table is the Stuffed Bean Curd Sheet (‘Fu Chuk’) or at least that’s what I think it’s called since I didn’t see the menu. Decent with a stuffing of minced meat and other unidentified minced vegetables, it was nicely fired without being greasy. A little sweet and a little savory, this is sure to be a hit with the younger ones.
Unpretentious and simple, we also enjoyed Steamed Bean curd with Fried Shallots. Utterly basic ingredients and whipped up in an effortless cooking method, this was the only dish that didn’t really shout out to me that night. No complaints but nothing in the wow factor either.
Kang Kung Belachan is one of the most ordered and available dish almost everywhere in Malaysia. It’s a dish that is simple but really requires a good dosage of pungent spicy sambal belachan to give one a good kick of flavors! The dish is very well cooked at Ah Lye, rendering a good breath of wok with tender shoots of the water spinach is nicely sauced up. Spicy and robust, the flavors are moreish and addictive.
We hit the home run that meal with another signature of Ah Lye’s Asam Prawns! Good sizes with hard shells, the crustaceans were coated in the most delectable sour sweet tamarind sauce. Sticky goodness with loads of tangy sauce that makes me want to lick the prawns as clean as it can be, the sauce is what makes this dish its signature. I believed I also kept going back to the plate to scrape the sauce for my rice!
While other dishes fair mediocre, Ah Lye Curry Fish Head warrants a visit for its signature of Curry Fish Head and Asam Prawns alone! I heard that there is another signature Salt-Baked Chicken which they ran out that night. Despite the hidden location, word of mouth is enough to make this place extremely busy each day according to Maria. I would certainly come back for the Fish Head Curry and Asam Prawns as both dishes has etched a warm and delicious memory in my senses that night, not to mention the lovely company with Maria and her family! Go early and do call in advance since there is no fix day the restaurant is closed for business…
Thank you Maria and Family for your warm hospitality and the sumptuous meal!
AH LYE CURRY FISH HEAD
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603-56380468 / 603-56349692
Business Hour: 12pm-3pm (Lunch) & 5pm-10pm (Dinner)
GPS Coordinates: 3.0758887 101.5754559 (N03° 4.5533', E101° 34.5274')