A gastronomic adventure in Hulu Langat
Veg Fishfarm Thai Restaurant offers wholesome Thai dining experience away from the city.
VEG FISHFARM THAI RESTAURANT
KM4 Jalan Ampang
Hulu Langat, Ampang
Tel: 012-286 8193/William, 019-260 6493/Eugene
Business hours: 11am to 11.30pm, daily
GOING the distance can be an adventure if you know that a gastronomic experience awaits at the end of the road.
The 35-minute drive from Petaling Jaya to the Veg Fishfarm Thai Restaurant in Hulu Langat was pleasant, given that it was a Sunday and traffic was smooth.
Upon locating its signage after Look Out Point in Ampang, we drove further down an uneven and potholed road to find the restaurant that has wooed many gourmands to return, time and again.
A vast area with vegetable plots of kangkung, sawi, lady’s fingers, spinach, bok choyand even papaya trees came in sight.
We would later find out that these organic greens are supplied to wholesale and nearby markets.
“We serve four types of fish – grouper, marble goby, tilapia and river catfish – which we get from our suppliers.
“We also bring in crabs from Australia, Indonesia and Bangladesh as we find these varieties meatier and tastier,” said Ng.
Most of the restaurant workers are from Thailand, as Ng and his father Eugene wanted to give diners a wholesome Thai dining experience, away from the city.
“The ingredients for Thai cooking including belacan, plum sugar, tom yam paste and Thai fish sauce are brought in from Thailand,” said Ng.
The big and broad menu has many dishes to offer as there is something for everyone, including meat items like lamb and chicken.
Before sitting down for lunch, Ng took us on a drive to the vegetable farm and the chicken pen where the kampung variety and geese roamed about freely.
“We have free-range kampung chicken on our menu but we do not serve goose,” said Ng with a smile.
After our trail in the sun, the taste of sweet Thai coconut water helped us cool off while the cooks fired up the wok to prepare lunch.
The Kampung Fried Chicken (RM60 per bird) with its dark shade and slices of succulent Barbecue Lamb (RM28) were served as an introduction of what to expect from the kitchen.
Each dish came with a piquant Thai sauce that was lovely with the servings of meat.
Ng said the chicken was marinated with Thai salt and deep-fried to give it a delicate salty taste while the lamb, seasoned with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, black soy sauce and sugar, was expertly grilled to reveal succulent meat slices.
The kampung chicken, unlike others I have tried was rather meaty and slightly tough to chew but tasty, nonetheless.
Ng said mature chicken had more meat and was suitable for deep-frying.
“Young kampung chicken tends to be bony because the meat shrinks and loses water during the frying process.
“This is the reason why older chicken is used for this dish so our customers get more meat.
“We marinate the chicken with Thai brown salt hence the dark shade of the meat and difference in taste compared to when using regular salt,” he said, adding that the chicken could be a little tough and would require extra chewing time.
The cooks, I was told, use minimal ingredients for marination of barbecue items to allow the natural juices of the fish and meat to dominate on the tastebuds.
The other barbecue offering was the Salt Grilled Fish (RM33) — a dish where the fish was covered with a layer of salt and wrapped in banana leaf before grilling.
When we peeled off the tilapia skin to get rid of the salt layer, we found slices of galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves stuffed in the crevice, lending a herbal essence to the fish.
As I have tried similar versions of this dish, I found it fresh and appetising but lacked the saltiness from the salt layer, that would usually trickle into the meat during the cooking process.
The Tilapia Thai Kampung Style (RM33), however, was packed with aroma and taste, offering a hint of rendang flavour in each crispy piece we relished.
Sliced green pepper and julienne kaffir lime leaves added to a home made paste of palm sugar, lemongrass, fish sauce, chilli and belacan, was coated generously on the tilapia, making it particularly addictive and a sumptuous find.
The generous father-and-son team was insistent that we should go home stuffed, and served more seafood with their version of Curry Powder Crab (RM90 per kg and RM138 per kg for the bigger crab) and King Prawn Thai Style with Milk (RM43 per prawn).
For vegetables, we relished the Fantastic Four (RM18) and Spinach Tempura (RM15).
Long beans, brinjal, lady’s fingers, four angle beans, which were harvested from their farm, and petai were rapidly stir-fried with chilli and belacan.
It offered a melange of crunchy, bitter, spicy and tangy taste while the tempura plate was a crispy dish of spinach leaves dipped in batter and fried.
We could not go home without trying their dessert offering because their Thai sweets are also supplied to hotels and restaurants in the city.
We closed the chapter at the Veg Fishfarm with taco, mango sticky rice, layer jelly, mango pudding, jackfruit sticky rice and sago Thai.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement of Star Metro.