Thursday, 22 March 2018

Zai Shun. Restaurant Quality Fish at Kopitiam Prices 载顺咖喱鱼头

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

When I was living in Choa Chu Kang some 15 years back, we used to go trekking at Bukit Timah hill every weekend. After the work out, we would reward ourselves with a sumptuous lunch. One of our top favourite after-trekking prizes was a lunch at Zai Shun near Yuhua Market & Hawker Centre in Jurong East. We love their steam fish dishes which go perfectly with porridge.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

This was my first time back at Zai Shun since moving out of Choa Chu Kang. In the meantime, Zai Shun enjoyed much media limelight, and in 2017, was awarded the Bib Gourmand in the Singapore Michelin Guide. 

Zai Shun also moved from Blk 254 to Blk 253 some 10 years ago - so guys, that was why I got lost this morning and was late for 2 minutes 😂 One more round of kopi on me 😂

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Nowadays, it is best to call in ahead at ☎ 6560 8594 to book your table and dishes. Thank you Uncle Bob for making the arrangements.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

A wide range of 20+ fish, meat and vegetable side dishes to eat with rice or porridge. This part of Zai Shun hasn't changed much.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Friendly boss 王清枝, a hands on and apron on tow kay. Forty years in the business since he was a teen and boss is still down to earth as ever. Founded Zai Shun Curry Fish Head in 1981 serving the ragingly popular dish of that era. Today, Zai Shun is more famous for restaurant quality steamed fish dishes at kopitiam prices.

There were 10 of us, I had to multitask - many dishes to taste, chit chat, take pictures, take mental notes, so my comments will be brief and based on first impressions.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

A common dish of stewed sea cucumber, fish maw, dried scallop, button mushroom and black mushroom in a savoury sauce. Nice savoury flavours in layers and an interesting mix of different types of softness and tenderness. I like the just nice, firm yet tender texture of Zai Shun's sea cucumber.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Dong po rou 東坡肉 or stewed pork belly in soy based sauce.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

I would like this more if the fat and skin were softer, and the overall taste was sweeter. My impression was it was mainly salty savoury.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

I like Zai Shun's hae chor (fried prawn roll). Packed with yam and shrimp rolled up in tofu skin, fried till crisp golden brown. Savoury flavour with slight underlying sweetness.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Fried bitter gourd with eggs. I remember this was tasty - savoury and eggy, and there was no bitterness at all from the crunchy bitter gourd slices.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Finally, the fish dishes which are Zai Shun's claim to fame.

We had a parrot fish simply steamed with a soy sauce and aromatic oil blend. For fresh fish, simple is best as we want to appreciate the fish's natural flavours without distractions.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Plenty of meat in this parrot fish. The tender moist white flesh's sweetness was accentuated and complemented by the gently savoury aromatic sauce. The spring onions added a bit of green tasting accent.

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Fish liver and fish lips stewed with Zai Shun's signature fermented bean paste sauce and topped with pork lard crackling and chopped spring onion. This was my first time eating this dish and it was gut taken from the shovel nose shark, the grande finale coming up next.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

The shark liver was spongy like pig lung but much finer. It was stewed and smothered with fermented bean paste sauce outside. So, it's flavour was mainly savouriness in layers with a subtle underlying bitter taste. It's a nice taste profile - I like it.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Fish lips. Tastes similar with the fish liver but springy and chewy in texture.

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Finally, the shovel nose shark head cut into bite size chunks, dressed with fermented bean sauce and steamed. Topped with spring onion, chili pepper and pork lard cracklings before serving.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

This dish is all about cartilage, collagen and gelatin. Not much flavour in itself, except for a subtle taste of fish. Most of the flavour came from Zai Shun's signature savoury fermented bean sauce which tastes good. I also enjoyed the smooth jelly texture of the collagen and gelatin.

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Hae bee hiam 蝦米辣. Dried shrimp, fermented shrimp (belacan), shallot, garlic and chili etc combined by stir frying. A robust savoury spicy condiment. Zai Shun's rendition is aromatic, has well balanced flavours, quite mild, and non greasy. Goes very well with porridge. Not really needed today as the dishes were already so flavourful.


Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

4-Stars (out of 5) Zai Shun 载顺 is one of the best places for fresh fish dishes in Singapore. No frills, no gimmicks, just restaurant quality steamed fish at kopitiam prices. Ten of us, we paid $25 per person including drinks (kopi and water).

Zai-Shun-Curry-Fish-Head-载顺咖喱鱼头

Restaurant name: Zai Shun Curry Fish Head 载顺咖喱鱼头
Address: Blk 253, Jurong East Street 24, #01-205, Singapore 600253
GPS: 1°20'36.7"N 103°44'13.7"E | 1.343532, 103.737126
Waze: Jurong East Street 24
Tel6560 8594
Hours: 7:00am - 3:00pm (Weds off)

Date visited: 22 Mar 2018

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2 comments:

  1. Alvin Foo Siang Hai said on Johor Kaki Blog FB Page: "this I agree fully... their steamed fish is very nicely done... must go early if not got to wait very long for tables.."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice review but would be better if prices for the dishes were included

    ReplyDelete

I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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