Note: Bihun Ikan SS20 is now closed
My first encounter, two and a half years ago, with fish head beehoon, was dismal. The dish’s insipid, milky broth floating a clump of tasteless rice noodles, the odd piece of tomato, and bony, all but flesh-free bits of fish head coated in rubbery batter struck me as culinary blasphemy in a place like Kuala Lumpur, where delicious food is so easily had. I was quite happy never to cross paths with this dish again.
But it will take more than one hand to count the number of times I’ve lunched on fish head beehoon in the last two weeks. The site of my conversion is Bihun Ikan SS20, a shop in PJ just up the street from Damansara Specialist Hospital. Head for the back, where tables enjoy a breeze and overlook a pleasant bit of greenery that obscures the expressway. While you’re perusing the short menu you’ll probably be greeted by owner Michael, a gregarious man who’s likely to recommend the haruan slice fish, and for good reason.
Only a masochist would choose the bone-in head version of beehoon over this colossal bowl of robust fish-flavoured broth spiked with hwa teow chiu (Chinese sweet rice wine) and abundant ginger matchsticks and smoothed, but not blanded, with a bit of condensed. Slices of ripe tomato add a touch of tartness and complement the sweetness of plenty of large pieces of firm-fleshed haruan (aka sea bass), some cloaked in a not-too-thick batter that takes on an agreeable sponginess in the soup, others naked. Fish can be served on the side, if you like, or extra portions added to the bowl.
Don’t overlook the fish paste with spinach, which often sells out early. Featuring lumps of housemade fish paste (rough-textured, barely bouncy, and truly tasting of fish) and plenty of spinach in a clear broth, it’s a light alternative (or a healthy side order) to a bowl of beehoon. Also to be noted: one of Michael’s Malay staff makes exceptional kueh. Look for the small daily selection displayed inconspicuously on a table near the juice counter-cum-cendol display case.Robyn Eckhardt
|Venue name:||Bihun Ikan SS20||Contact:|
Medan Selera MBPJ Damnsara Kim
|Opening hours:||Daily, 9,30am-3,30pm|