I first had this steamed 'Song' fish head at the temporary market near the MRT station when Chinatown Complex was undergoing renovations a few years ago.
I haven't had another after the hawkers have shifted back to the newly renovated complex. That is, until last weekend when Mum had a last minute errand to do at Chinatown and Dad suggested having this as we did not have it for a long time.
There were a couple of stalls tucked away at a corner of Chinatown Complex all selling this same dish but from what I observed, only two stalls were doing a roaring business.
One of it was Cheng Ji (成记), featured on Sizzling Woks (煮炒来咯) season 2 hosted by Li Teng and Pornsak while the other stall next to it (separated by a drinks stall) have gone on a cooking segment on Channel 8's Golden Age (黄金年华).
Steamed Song fish head in hot sauce $13
We patronised Cheng Ji due to Dad's recommendations.
The 'Song' fish (松鱼), also known as the Asian Carp, is a freshwater fish favored for it's large, meaty head. Freshwater fish tends to have the muddy taste but Cheng Ji did a good job in masking up that smell.
In this dish, the fish head was first steamed then dressed in a special sauce made with salted soy beans which is then topped with crispy pork lard.
The fish is fresh and flaky and melts in the mouth. I especially like the slimy bits near the cheeks.
The hot sauce is appetising and goes great on rice though I find it a little too starchy.
We also ordered two more dishes from Cheng Ji - Kang Kong with Cuttlefish and Braised Beancurd.
The Kang Kong with Cuttlefish was pale and lacked the punch of the fiery Sambal Belacan.
The Braised Beancurd on the other hand fared better with the fresh prawns but both dishes were on the bland side. It could be good or bad thing depending on how you see it.
Well, Cheng Ji is not a full-fledged tze char stall; they specializes in the Steamed 'Song' fish head while offering a limited options of side dishes.
I say I wouldn't mind having the Song fish head again but then, I would give the side dishes a miss.
CHENG JI STEAMED FISH HEAD IN HOT SAUCE 成记驰名酱蒸松鱼头
Chinatown Complex Food Centre
Blk 335 Smith Street
Mon - Sat: 12:00pm - 9:00pmSun: Closed