The fish biscuit, as it is known in Chinese, is usually made from either the Spanish Mackerel (Ikan Tenggiri) or the Wolf Herring (Ikan Parang).
The latter is also known locally as Saitoh Fish (in Chinese) because of its machete (parang) shape.
Unlike English fish cakes made from cod and potato patty, the Asian fishcake is without batter and uses freshly minced fillet paste mixed with flour.
When well done, the fish cake should not be too oily and possess an aromatic flavour. Under the fried crispy skin is the soft but springy fillet that melts in your mouth.
This is one of the better ones from Restoran Xin Yuen Kee in Kuala Kubu Bahru, famous for its Lor Mee.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 1000, f9, 1/80 sec.
I’m still in Kuala Kubu Bharu town and at a shop famous for Ulu Yam ‘Lor Mee’. It is a Hokkien dish of yellow noodles cooked with a thick gravy of corn starch, spices, meat and eggs. It also tastes sour as vinegar is added for the distinctive flavour. What is special about authentic Ulu Yam Lor Mee?
The yellow noodles are hand made or hand-pulled. According to chef and owner Lim Kwee Hock there is no artificial colouring, flavouring, preservatives nor is brine added. Brine creates the familiar love or hate pungent smell.
Now that you know, you may want to check out Restoran Xin Yuen Kee (non-halal) when you are in Kuala Kubu Bharu town. Lim’s grandfather opened the first restaurant in Ulu Yam Lama. A 2nd generation successor opened another shop in Batang Kali. Their grandson is operating this outlet in KKB.
It is not that common to see a third generation descendent interested in a family business enough to inherit the recipes and to cook. Young Lim and his wife Elaine operates this simple eatery by themselves. The Lor Mee and other dishes taste very good and prices are reasonable.
Photography Tip: Sometimes, the best food shots aren’t just on the table. Ask for permission and go for some unconventional or less seen angles in the kitchen. Traditional Chinese kopitiam kitchens are usually dark, moody and full of character.
Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 320, f4, 1/60 sec.