Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Sungei Besi Town Food Haven The Series

Well I have posted sporadically on the town of Sungei Besi and its hidden food treasures and I have now decided to do a series on the actual outlets that constitutes my treasure trove of food. Well first up is my favourite fishmongerin Sungei Besi wet market, Mr Lee, a rare one who practise what to me is the modern way of selling fish, very similar to those found in foreign produce markets like Australia and Japan. What this means is that you will not find a wet and slushy fish stall that is the norm locally, and instead you will fishes displayed pack on newspaper without any water or slush that may effect their quality. And quality is what being sold here, as the fishes sold are as fresh as you can get, as these are usually sourced locally instead of pre-packed solid in ice packs. So you usually get chilled fished that when prepared by Mr Lee are so bloody that you feel you are in a slaughter house. Nothing shows freshness in a fish like bodily fluids that has not been washed away by melting ice and slush water. Nonetheless freshness means that what you get is essentially the 'catch of the day' so your favourite fish may not be available as Mr. Lee only selects fresh fish to sell. And which exotic place does he source his fish from you say? Could it be some unknown fish landing ports that only he knows about? Well you will be surprised that he gets his fish from Selayang wholesale market, the humdrum place that supplies most of the wet markets in the Klang Valley. The difference is that he scours the market only for the freshes of fish, and these will then grace his fish stall.

Well the selection last Sunday included premium fish like kurau, jenahak merah and jenahak putih (red and white snapper) and also common fish like kembong(indian mackerel) and kerisi (toothed jobfish). And he not only sells caged reared sea prawn, but also sea caught white prawns that is as fresh as those I ate at the prawn noodle stalls at the seaside towns I have visited. But look at how the common fish like kembong and kerisi is displayed, you are sure you are getting good fish as these are carefully lined up individually on his stall table, dry as their freshness do not need any ice to improve their appearance or mask anything untowards. And though his prices may sell a premium of about ten percent above the others, but it is a small price to pay if you consider that my family only needs to buy our fish only once a week and this can be kept fresh for up to a forthnight. Ten percent to pay for my marketing fuel cost is a small price to pay if you really think about it. And that is a for a week's supply of prime fish for less than a hundred ringgit. And another value added service he provides is that he will call you up on your market day to ask what fish you would like to reserve based on what is available especially if he is running out of fish, as he does not want you to be dissapointed to find only a small selection is left as despite the premium he charges, he still gets many customers who can appreciate his wares.

The freshness and primeness of Mr Lee's fishes becomes more apparent when you consider your purchase of threadfin or kurau fish, a restaurant class fish not normally found in fresh markets, and only then usually rock solid specimens from our neighbours instead of locally netted natives. And these are large specimens that can be sliced up into prime pieces of steak mind you. Being sold at a ridiculous cheap price of forty ringgit a kilo, we bought two steak slices weighing a healthy 600 grams at only twenty four ringgit. For comparison, a plate of a single kurau steak served in a restaurant can easily cost you forty ringgit. That night after a simple rub with herbed butter in order to retain their fresh sweetnes, it was oven roasted before being served for dinner. As you can see, the result is quite restaurant quality eh. And the proof of their freshness is that the meat is not crumbly and is still flaky. What price should I charge for this do you think? Well that sums up what Mr Lee sells, fresh fish for a reasonable price. And for those wondering, he is still unmarried at forty and would make a great catch himself.

No comments: