Pictures by Gisele Soo
Hing Kee Grilled Fish
SeeFoon Feasts on fresh seafood
I remember when I first arrived in Ipoh 25 years ago, we had to travel to get fresh seafood. Like Pantai Remis or Nibong Tebal or Bukit Tambun. Today, it’s all available at our doorstep.
Just take a stroll down Jalan Medan Ipoh behind Kinta City and Tesco Ipoh Garden East and the sign boards present a dizzying display of coffee shop names, food served and the stalls that cook and serve them, doing a roaring business.
The evening my troupe and I arrived, they had just started setting up the tables and chairs on the slip road in front of the stalls. This was at 6.30pm: a good time to go before the hordes arrived. As it was during RMCO, there was only a sprinkling of customers but the pace picked up shortly.
Hing Kee, the seafood stall at Fooh Singh Cafe that I wanted to check out was all ready, with mini aquariums dotted amongst the display, burbling away and holding a tempting array of live seafood.
All my favourites and more were here. As in live mantis prawns, not the giant variety but medium sized around 6 inches (heads and tail included); live flower crabs with Roe; live cockles sorted by small medium large, large white prawns; clams; NZ mussels; spiny conch; live swimming conch (in the same aquarium as the mantis prawns); fresh abalone about two and half inches in size; and a plethora of very fresh fish, all cleaned and ready to be grilled or cooked whichever way you fancy.
I chose the Ikan Pari, the stingray, a fish I love if fresh, but alas in most places where I have ordered it, they were not. Here at Hing Kee, it was…ocean fresh and served with two sambals, a concoction with dried shrimps that lent a certain pungent, robust oomph to the fish, while the other side was liberally doused in a spicier and sourish chili sauce. If the sauces are not enough, you will still get saucer plates of condiments made up of finely-blended cili padi, and a squeeze of calamansi. Because the stingray all come in small/medium size, it is safe to order the whole fish. Served sizzling hot on a banana leaf. In fact all their dishes are served on banana leaves, a hygienic move which I applaud. RM18-20 depending on size.
The Mantis Prawns swimming in the tank caught my eye. Not the giant ones found in some restaurants which can cost up to RM60-70 each but medium sized ones for RM10 per piece. They were grilled and served with a sourish chilli sauce. I love Mantis prawns, preferring their meat to the regular sea prawns. These were as I anticipated: umami sweet and ocean fresh, having just been fished out from the tank. I savoured every bite of whatever little flesh there was given their smaller size. Definitely a must-have and good value for money.
Fresh Abalone grilled on the shell was next on our menu, tender and caramelized around the edges. They were served with calamansi and the same chilli sauce, although I had no need for it as the abalone was umami on its own and needed no extra dressing. RM75 a portion of 6 pieces or RM13 each.
We then feasted on grilled King sea prawns or Ming Har, again absolutely fresh, sweet and resilient to the bite. RM80-100 for a set of 12.
The grilled Flower Crab which was also swimming in the tanks was delicious and filled with roe. I congratulated myself for being there at the right season because these crabs only have roe seasonally. For me, flower crabs don’t need seasoning as the flesh is very sweet and umami, and the Roe which I fished out from the carapace went down like caviar! RM48-52 per portion.
As everything we had was grilled, I decided to have our cockle sauteed, this time with four angled beans in one of their sambal sauces. I love cockles and despite admonitions about hepatitis etc, I will eat them depending on whether they open up when displayed showing that they are still alive. They were, so cockles were ordered. Utterly delectable and I was in heaven.
Lobster is also available but not on the day we were there. Selling at RM180 per kg. I promised myself to return and try this special one evening.
Naturally as with all fresh seafood, all prices depend on availability and market price.
16 – 18 Jalan Medan Ipoh, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
*This area is behind Kinta City and Tesco Ipoh Garden East. There are a lot of eateries within the area.
6pm onwards until about 2-3am. Opens daily.
Check out The Foodie’s Guide to Ipoh’s Best Eats 2 for more Ipoh eats recommended by SeeFoon, available for purchase at a special discounted price now! Message us on Facebook for inquiries and orders!