IKAN bakar or grilled fish is a comfort food for many Malaysians throughout the year.
The charred skin and tender flesh carry a certain familiarity to people from all walks of life.
Some ikan bakar favourites include the use of stingray, golden snapper, barramundi, ikan ayam and squid.
The dish itself is quite simple, yet not many have mastered the art of grilling it to perfection.
Not forgetting the sambal or sauces that usually accompany the dishes.
StarMetro scoured the Klang Valley to find the best grilled fish at different price points and specialities.
IKAN BAKAR SERI EMPANGAN PUTRAJAYA
Taman Empangan, 3, Lebuh Gemilang, Presint 5, Putrajaya. Business hours: 10am to 10pm daily, except Mondays.
Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan Putrajaya offers grilled fish at a slightly higher price point.
In my opinion, the higher prices are definitely worth it as the fish served here are extremely fresh.
The choice of fish is extensive, even luxurious, with grilled lobster to savour as well.
As per the stall operator’s recommendation, I opted for the grilled ikan siakap that was priced at RM60.
The fish here is grilled wrapped in foil, resulting in its tender meat.
For those who prefer having a spicy kick in their grilled fish, Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan is the place to go.
Although the marinade packs a punch it does not mask the taste of the fish itself.
Another plus here is that the dining area has a beautiful view of the lake, and there is ample parking available.
RESTORAN TERAPUNG HM SRI BAGAN, SEPANGBagan Lalang, Tanjung Sepat, Selangor. Business hours: 6pm to midnight, weekdays. Closes at 1am on weekends.
This restaurant, which overlooks the Straits of Malacca, provides fresh and tasty grilled fish dishes to diners with a view to match.
The golden snapper is grilled without using a foil hence, there is a distinct charred and smoky flavour in the meat. This appeal lends the fish its unique taste.
There is quite a long wait time for the food but the restaurant provides complimentary potato crisps to munch on while waiting.
I must say the staff here are very friendly.
Besides grilled fish, the restaurant also serves appetising seafood dishes such as sambal squid and butter prawns.
The shellfish is also fresh and devoid of that fishy taste.
Price is based on weight of the seafood. A kilogramme of the golden snapper is priced at RM70.
For reservations, call 013-338 5887 (before 4pm).
IKAN BAKAR TIP TOP
11, Jalan Bunga Tanjung 10, Taman Muda, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 6pm to 11.30pm daily except Friday.Tip Top Ikan Bakar has quite a reputation for its grilled fish. The speciality here is the sauce which is liberally used on the fish.
According to Tip Top Ikan Bakar owner Chia Sook Fong, the tangy and spicy sauce is made of cincalok (fermented shrimp) along with a blend of onion, garlic, chillies as well as dried shrimp.
Some of the recommended grilled fish include stingray, ikan ayam and ikan sebelah which are sourced from a local market.
This stall is also a pork-free establishment.
The plain grilled prawns here are also quite a treat as they are sweet and juicy.
The fish is priced from RM25 onwards depending on what is ordered.
The stall is frequented by people from all walks of life who come from areas outside of Ampang.
Parking is limited, so diners are encouraged to go early.
MEDAN MUARA IKAN BAKARLingkaran Sultan Hishamuddin, Kawasan 20, Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor. Business hours: 5.30pm to 1am (weekdays), 5.30pm to 2am (weekends). Closed on Tuesdays.
Muara Ikan Bakar, Port Klang is well-known in the grilled fish arena.
Since starting operations in 1991, Muara Ikan Bakar has been offering diners a variety of freshly grilled fish dishes.
Restaurant managing director Abdul Talib Saad said the shop gets its seafood supply every day from Pulau Indah, Klang.
There is an array of tasty choices but I opted for the grilled stingray.
The fish is wrapped in banana leaf and foil, then grilled over charcoal fire.
The marinade may look red and intimidating but it is not very spicy.
The blend of spices in the marinade elevates the flavour of the flesh rather than masking it.
The fish may be the star of the show but the asam sauce that is served alongside is truly special.
The sauce has a pleasant sourness that balances the spices in the grilled fish.
Another plus point here is its reasonable prices. Grilled stingray is tagged at RM22.50 for 500g.
Prices here are based on the weight of the fish and their availability depends on the season.
GERAI SERI MENANTI, IKAN BAKAR BELLAMYLorong Bellamy & Jalan Istana, Bukit Petaling, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 10am to 4pm, 7.30pm to 10.30pm (Monday to Saturday), 10am to 4pm (Sunday).
While grilled fish is more commonly found in coastal areas, Ikan Bakar Bellamy is a great place to get your grilled fish fix in the city.
There are four grilled fish stalls and these are packed especially during lunch hour.
The one that stood out for me was Gerai Seri Menanti because of the variety of seafood on offer, ranging from snapper, siakap to squid.
The grilled fish wrapped in banana leaf looks simple but
hits all the marks of a good grilled fish dish.
Prices start from RM10 onwards depending on the fish and its size.
A small sized siakap, for instance, is priced at RM20.
The prices are subject to change due to market prices.
The skin is crispy and has a good amount of smoky flavour while the flesh is tender.
Another must-try dish is the grilled squid priced at RM16.
The squid is well seasoned and not chewy.
These dishes need to be paired with the sauces provided.
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