YOU cannot deny the fact that it is difficult to find fine handmade sai tou (wolf herring or ikan parang fish) fish ball noodles in the Klang Valley.
Today, cottage industries have been replaced by automation and even the sai tou fish balls, used in most restaurants or noodle stalls, are factory made ones.
However, things are a little different at You Fishball Noodles as all the ingredients are handmade by its owner Joe Lim SY, 50.
I came to know about this place from my father, who is an avid fan of seafood and fish.
“Every day starting from six in the morning, I begin to make the sai tou fish balls and fish cakes using the fish deboner machine to remove bones from the fish.
“It takes at least three to four hours for me to blend and hand press the fish paste into the fishballs and fish cakes, one by one, and it is not an easy process.
“All fishballs and fish cakes are made from 100% fresh wolf herring with no added preservatives.
“Most of the time, the fish is delivered by a supplier based in Melaka, which is where I am from,” he said, adding that he has a cold room to store the fish in the restaurant to retain its freshness.
The inspiration behind Lim’s idea of selling fishball noodles comes from his Teochew grandparents, where he grew up eating their handmade fish balls as a child.
To give their signature fish balls a try, my colleague Low Lay Phon and I ordered two small bowls of fish ball noodles.
While waiting for our food to arrive, we enjoyed fu chuk yi mai (dried beancurd with ginkgo nuts and barley dessert) for RM3.20 a cup.
The warm and comforting drink helped kick start our day and we enjoyed the melt-in-the-mouth dried beancurd that was cooked until soft.
When the noodles arrived, I quickly took a sip of the soup to appreciate its fish essence.
Lim said the secret to the clear, transparent soup that goes with the fish ball noodles is using leftover bones from the wolf herring and simmering it down for two hours.
Topped with chopped spring onion, celery, preserved mustard, and fried shallots, the bowl was loaded with generous servings of ingredients such as fish balls, fish cakes, yau mak choy (romaine lettuce), fried fu chuk and tiny fish dumplings.
The fish balls were simply amazing with their soft bouncy resilience and succulence.
Costing RM7 per small bowl, I must say the fishball noodle with all the goodies thrown in was worth the money. Those who seek a larger portion can up the size by paying RM8.
Besides the main dishes, we also ordered fried fu chuk (beancurd sheet stuffed with fish paste) (RM1.30 per piece), fishcake (RM6), fish maw (RM5) and black fungus (RM5).
Among the side dishes, my personal favourite was the crispy fried fu chuk.
Fried to perfection, each and every piece of the beautiful fried fu chuk complemented well with the tender fish paste, which simply explained why it was one of the best-selling items here.
Out of curiosity, StarMetro asked why Lim chose to use wolf herring over other types of fish and he said that it was because the fish paste made from wolf herring was more springy and firm in terms of texture.
As for his future plans, Lim hopes to open a new restaurant soon to serve his customers with quality assurance fishball noodles.
My personal advice is to visit the restaurant on weekdays as it is usually packed with customers on weekends.
Parking space is also limited.
You Fishball opens daily from 7.30am until 4pm, and is closed every alternate Tuesday.
It is located at No. 15, Jalan Aman SK 13/15A, Seri Kembangan.
For details, call 03-8938 1760 or 012-332 1977 (Lim).