Hanging by a thread…

We did not get to eat many different kinds of fish in my younger years growing up. Perhaps my dad had a preference for some like the pek chio (white pomfret/ikan bawal putih), steamed so we would have that very frequently or we would have the or chio (black pomfret/ikan bawal hitam) deep-fried or served sweet and sour.

Perhaps those do not have a lot of bones but then again, we did get to eat ikan terubok (chee khak/toli shad) quite a lot. Other than the aforementioned types of fish, I do recall my mum buying slabs of ngor hu, served deep fried though I never did see it whole…

What I knew then was that there was a problem with the big ones, sold in slabs, pre-sliced. Sometimes it was lo ko (a Hokkien expression) and was kind of hard and rubbery, not nice at all. I’m not too sure but it seems that this may be the case when the fish is too big.

So far, I have encountered this twice at our local restaurants, once with a friend who insisted on ordering the ikan tapah

…and when it turned out to be like that, he was rather pissed off and he never forgave them ever – since that day, he never wanted to go there again. Another time was when we had the ikan lajong here

– that certainly spoilt our mood at that otherwise very enjoyable dinner.

Anyway, going back to the names of the fish, we usually used their Chinese (Hokkien) or Malay names to refer to them. Like in the case of the ngor hu, all these years, I only knew its Hokkien name. We have bought it a number of times and thankfully, it was good all the while, not lo ko. Now, thanks to Google, I managed to find out its names in English and in Malay. It is called the threadfin or ikan senangin respectively but this Singapore blog calls it ikan kurau.

For one thing, it is not cheap. When I bought the sotong (squid) at my favourite fish & seafood stall not far from my house that day, I saw a few slabs, already sliced so I asked the lady boss what fish that was. She said it was ngor hu, RM45 a kilo but since those were towards the tail part of the fish, she would let me have it at RM35.00 per kilo. For reasons unknown, whenever we have fish, my girl will always want the tail part.

I asked for one of the bigger and thicker slabs and asked for it to be cut a bit more thinly like this…

The total for the two slabs came up to RM36.00, around RM18.00 a slice which, of course, was not cheap but of course, very much cheaper than cod or salmon (and to me, very much nicer).

We just had it deep fried…

…and enjoyed it just like that…

…with rice.

Most of the time, they will sell such big fish whole and of course, I would not want to buy so much. I did buy one, the whole fish but pre-sliced, once at the fruit and vegetable sundry shop near my house – the boy said it was not very big but it took us such a very long time to finish all the slabs/slices that I never wanted to see another ngor hu ever again after that.

Considering how much we enjoy it this time around, if I see them selling it in slabs/slices again like this, I sure wouldn’t mind buying it again.

The fish & seafood stall is located to the right of CCL FRESH MINI MARKET against the wall at that end of the block to the right of the Grand Wonderful Hotel (2.309601, 111.845163) along Jalan Pipit, off Jalan Dr Wong Soon Kai (formerly Jalan Pedada).