Heads up for fish noodles

14 Nov 2019 / 09:31 H.

By TAN BEE HONG

RECENTLY, after attending a wake at Nirvana Memorial Park, my best friend and I found ourselves in unfamiliar territory. Finally, we ended up in Taman Danau Desa, somewhere off Old Klang Road.

As we turned a corner, we saw an open-air restaurant packed with customers. As luck would have it, there was an empty parking lot around the corner.

Woo Pin Fish Head Noodles Sdn Bhd is a no-frills eatery that has been around for decades and now has a few branches in the Klang Valley.

The corner shoplot is indicated by a huge apple-green signboard that hugs the perimeter of the shop.

Inside, you’ll find the menu on the wall, with pictures acting as a visual guide. However, it appeared that most customers knew exactly what they wanted.

Woo Pin offers a very basic menu of fried/fresh fish head noodles, fish paste noodles, fish paste soup, fried/fresh fish head soup at RM11 (small) and RM13 (big). There’s also prawn noodles (market price).

I found the fish paste, made from threadfin fish, a tad on the coarse side but this is most likely because it is homemade, rather than of the commercial variety.

The kitchen uses song yue, a fresh water fish that’s prized for its head.

The meatier parts have a lot of small Y-shaped bones typical of river fish, so do be careful. Eat slowly, and you’ll appreciate how sweet the flesh is.

For noodles, we had a choice of rice vermicelli (bihun) or yee mee (fried wheat noodles).

The vermicelli used was neither the thin, stringy type nor the thick, fat type. It had an in-between thickness and a smooth texture, that managed to soak up the flavours of the soup.

I didn’t try the yee mee as I was not too fond of this deep fried noodle.

There are two soup variants – clear or creamy. Though both were delicious, I still preferred the creamy soup best. It was flavourful, and the addition of evaporated milk gave it a richer edge.

Both soups were cooked with fish bones, wedges of tomato and chopped salted mustard, which added a slightly tangy flavour.

Before serving, a sprinkle of browned onions was scattered on top, although personally I would think pork lard croutons would have given it better flavour.

The noodles were served with Penang-style sambal belacan (oh, yes!) or sliced fresh chilli padi.

For side dishes, it was fried fish cake and fried stuffed foo chuk (RM7 each or RM13 for a combination of both).

There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the fish cake but the foo chuk was stuffed with fish paste that had a definite bounce in the bite. It was served with a sweet chilli sauce and two slices of cucumber.

We ordered this so that we’d have something to nibble on while waiting for the noodles, but service at Woo Pin was quick and the noodles actually arrived before the side dishes.

As for drinks, there’s the usual array of drinks you can get in a kopitiam, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and fruit juices.

What I liked about the ginkgo barley (RM2.50) is that it is cooked in soya bean milk, and had real ginkgo in it. There’s also 3 Layer Tea/Coffee (RM3.80).

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