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Restoran Sun Sea,
Jalan Hujan Rahmat,
Taman Overseas Union,
Kuala Lumpur.
Hours: Open from 7am to 2pm.
Tel: 016-337 3727

HAVING soft rice noodles in a milky anchovy and chicken stock, flavoured with Chinese cooking wine and lightly deep-fried battered pieces of fish is a great way to start the morning.

From his stall at Restoran Sun Sea in Taman OUG, Joshua Foong readily admits to buying RM100 worth of carp from the Pudu wholesale market every day to prepare his fish head bee hoon dish.

“Fortunately, the wholesaler has a cutting service so I tell him what size I would like the pieces to be,” said Foong who added that size does matter.

The standard portion is three pieces of fish.

But when the pieces are too big, he can only give his customers two.

This does not go down well with some customers.

Foong and his signature fish belly noodles.

Foong and his signature fish belly noodles.

Interestingly, not only fish head parts go into the dish. Although he had started off buying whole heads, an episode where he accidentally swallowed fish bone led to fish belly becoming an option.

“I find bellies more suitable for children as the bones are more visible and easier to remove.

“But I still have fish head pieces for the adults to enjoy.

“So, my customers have the best of both worlds,” said Foong.

The fish is coated in a light batter of rice and plain flour, salt, sesame oil and fish sauce. Foong fries them in small batches to maintain freshness.

This explains why the bellies have a crisp outside but are juicy inside and the cartilage in the head are fragrant and crackly.

Diners are given a charming origami container with every serving.

Having a place to dump fish bones saves everyone from having to see half-chewed cartilage.

The pieces of fish are first coated in a light batter then freshly fried in small batches.

The pieces of fish are first coated in a light batter then freshly fried in small batches.

But the main component is the soup. For every 100 litres of soup, Foong uses 3kg of chicken bones, one medium sweet turnip and 600gm of anchovies. Making the soup is a continuous process.

The first batch of stock will go through 90 minutes of rapid boiling.

Then, it is simmered, and continuously replenished with fresh water. The longer the pot is on the fire, the thicker and more flavourful the brew gets.

“I did not start out with a great dish. It took me time to refine,” admitted Foong of his 10-year-old recipe.

The former chicken kuay teow and prawn wanton hawker, who opened his first stall at a coffeeshop in what was then a squatter area in Jalan Chan Sow Lin, Kuala Lumpur, said he would constantly mull over the recipe, adding ingredients to improve the taste.

A bowl of noodles comes with sprinklings of salted vegetables, fresh tomato wedges and coriander leaves.

For more oomph, Foong recommended a dash of wine just before serving. Milk and non-milk versions are available.

Joshua Foong’s fish head bee hoon stall is in Restoran Sun Sea, Jalan Hujan Rahmat, Taman Overseas Union, Kuala Lumpur. Open from 7am to 2pm. Tel: 016-337 3727.

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