Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fish steamboat and Snakehead at Yap Yin & Bak Kut Teh

You are not reading the title wrongly; the fish and the pork (Bak Kut Teh) are in the same sentence, because the fish part is the signature dishes at this restaurant which also happens to serve Bak Kut Teh, as clarified in the name of the restaurant captured below.


(And that, is why bloggers always take pictures of everything, it just saves us so much trouble in explaining and helped us in collecting these evidences; that we are not making things up, nor are we hallucinating).

(The Chinese name of the restaurant, just for further affirmation).

Spot the line of people in the first picture?
Well, these are the patrons queueing for their tables, because this restaurant is famous and that fame alone is a standalone crowd magnet.

As a general rule, I do not like to queue for my food; sorry to say that even if it's famous because of various reasons, and one being dignity and another being, fame tends to get to people and sometimes, we as patrons get mistreated with expectations of these famous restauranteurs (well, not all, but some of them, and say that you agree with me if you have seen those ugly ones).

However, there are exceptions, and this being one of them, and of course, the parents factor.
That parental card gets me; my parents were raving so much about this place and that they are sure I would love it and they just want me to try it with them.
Since I am not the great daughter who spends all her time with the parents (and I need to repent so that I don't get sent straight to hell), I do oblige.

Yap Yin runs the restaurant in a very conventional way; like no prior reservations or phone bookings and all customers are attended in that first-come-first-serve basis.
Sounds a little inconvenient when we are all spoilt by the era of reservations and walking past queues, knowing you've got a table, and also, without reservations or even number cards to indicate your turns, we know that there are bound to be those dreadful lot, of queue-jumpers who just whizzed past like they owned the place or something.
(That also happens to be one of the reasons I just detest queues, and I resent queue-jumpers).

Not at Yap Yin; as I quickly learnt.
They may run it primitively, but they take their queues very seriously here and the amazing part, the folks here remember their customer's turn as they stand in queue or register at the counter.
The restaurant crew would attend to each of their customers by the turn of their arrival, and while waiting in the queue, they would hand us the menus for us to browse through and then take the orders so that they could place it in queue in the kitchen.

I am impressed.
You'd think they might make a mistake in the customers' turns, but no, they didn't.
They had such great memory skills that they'd make great students in History class, don't you think?

Of course, there are always those customers who would walk right in; yes, past the obvious queue and to the tables where the patrons are done eating and skulk behind them.
It would be common in other restaurants of course, but not here. They may demand to be seated, but still these crew would still explain to them courteously, and politely lead them to the end of the queue.
How gracious they are!

That probably explains the reason the returning customers and why people would be willing to queue for their food here.


The restaurant, besides their Bak Kut Teh specialty (served in the mornings and for lunch), is famous for their signature Steamed Snakehead Murrel (or in local terms known as Ikan Haruan, or Sang Yu - popular among the Chinese for its auspicious meaning and its survival strength).
The fish is also known for its healing ability, and is typically served to patients healing from surgery wounds as a traditional remedy.

One can order the specialty dish, where the fish would be served in thinly sliced fillets steamed with soy sauce and sesame seed oil (usually found in Chinese confinement dishes), along with sliced ginger, fried shallots garnished with Chinese coriander leaves.
The dish goes by the number of pax, sized by the crew with the fitting size of the fish to feed the number of people at the table.


The aromatic sesame seed oil is the secret to the success of the dish, complementing the burst of freshness with every bite of the tender fillets steamed to perfection.
I am not such a big fan of the sesame seed oil (it could give me allergies sometimes), but this was worth it.
Snakehead murals can be rather strong in the fish odor department, and the combination of the ingredients was an effective recipe to get rid of that fishy smell which could put many, including fish lovers at bay when it comes to this fish in particular.
The juicy freshness made up for this, but still, the unique flavor which came with the cooking and preparation of the dish justified the reason behind this being the star dish of the restaurant.


The other unique thing is the fish steamboat offered here; and the base of the steamboat pot is gurgling with the fish-based stock, made from the bones and the remaining parts of the fish which did not make an appearance in the steamed fish. (if you have been wondering about the rest of the fish, since only the fillets were used)

One could opt to order this (or not), but I'd recommend it, and it's interesting that the steamboat could be part of the meal along with the rice and dishes.
A minimum of 2 pax is required to order this hotpot, and a set of hotpot items; including the raw fish fillets, fish balls, and silky smooth white bean curd served as part of the steamboat set.






The Stir-fry Kangkung promised a kicking fiery taste with the spicy and flavorful tastes of the chili paste (look at the seeds appearing all over) seeping well into the crunchy stalks of the vegetable, and the leaves are just soaking in all that juices from the paste.


The other dish to highlight, and my personal second star dish would be this Deep fried Mantis Prawns with dried chills (Kung Pow style).

This is one of my favorite dish and they made it so good here; with the larger-than-usual sized mantis prawns and they deep cum stir fry the prawns to maintain that moist in the flesh and at the same time, maintaining a light crisp on the exterior.
These are just mantis prawns that are made for perfection, and the Lea Perrins sauce was in the right amount to make that perfect blend of a not-too-thick-yet-not-too-watery gravy for this.
Definitely one of the best versions of Kung Pow Mantis Prawns I have tried.


I can definitely see the reason behind Yap Yin's popularity.

Reasonable prices, great service (prompt, attentive and efficient), and the luscious food (almost everything we ordered was lip smacking good).

What is there not to like about the restaurant?

It's time for me to plan for my next visit to Yap Yin again, these post and photos are bringing the memories of the great tastes back!

1231, Jalan Sekolah, Seri Kembangan New Village, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor