Kuala Lumpur - A Taste of Ka-Soh Fish-Head Noodles Soup from Singapore
- klyeoh Mar 12, 2012 05:53 AM
Had a wonderful dinner in Ka-Soh in Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara in KL, this evening. For a Singaporean expat in KL, this was truly a taste of home!! 100% authentic and tasted every bit the same as what I used to have back home at its Amoy Street outlet in Singapore.
A bit on the history of Ka-Soh in Singapore. It first opened in the 1940s, then moved to Chin Chew Street in the 1960s, where it operated for a long time. As a little boy, I remembered how my Dad would bring tiffin-carrier containers to Ka-Soh's kerb-side push-cart on Chin Chew Street, for the street-hawker to fill with the most delicious rice noodles, soaked in savory, milky fish soup, and topped with fish fillets, pieces of fish-head, blanched "choy sum" and golden-fried pork lard.We usually had it for late-night supper, and it was truly my childhood comfort food.
The stall was referred to by their customers as "Ka-Soh" because the owner-chef, Tang Swee Kee, roped in his daughter-in-law to help him (the Cantonese term for daughter-in-law was "Ka-Soh").
I couldn't remember if "Ka-Soh", in her younger days, was an alluring beauty (thereby causing customers to refer to her when patronizing her father-in-law's famous stall) - coz by the time I was old enough to patronize "Ka-Soh" myself - then located in a small, dingy Chinese shophouse in Chin Chew Street during the 1980s - "Ka-Soh" was a mean, temperamental old crone who screeched and shouted at any customer who dared to cross her path. Yep, we endured her torrent of abuse, waited for up to 2 hours for a table (at least on 2 occasions for me) plus the hot, dingy environment, just for a taste of their famous fish-head noodles in soup and "har cheong kai" (deep-fried chicken which had been marinated in shrimp sauce).
Sometime in the mid-90s, Ka-Soh moved to its current Amoy Street, Singapore premises - bigger, brighter and (thank Gawd!) air-conditioned. Regional showbiz celebrities patronize this spot in droves, as evidenced from the dozens of photos pasted on the restaurant's walls: e.g. HK's Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung.
What we had in Ka-Soh's KL branch this evening:
- Fish-head noodles in soup - milky-rich, slight hint of Chinese cooking wine, strong gingery overtones. The white rice noodles (same sort as those used for "laksa") was perfect, with fried and blanched pieces of fish (fish-head plus fish slices) and "choy sum" vegetables. I was transported home to Singapore with every sip of the soup. Ah, bliss!
- "Har cheong kai" pieces were served hot & crisp - again, the original Singaporean flavors were exactly replicated here. Incredible!
- House special tofu, which were golden, crisp-fried morsels of seafood-tofu, served with a very strong chilli dip.
- Stir-fried Chinese lettuce with oyster sauce - which was light and flash-fried to preserve the freshness & crispness of the lettuce leaves.
- My fave dish here was surprisingly a dish I'd not had in Ka-Soh back in Singapore before: crisp-fried frogs' legs and golden-crisp slivers of ginger lightly covered with a sweet but very light syrupy sauce. Absolutely delicious and a revelation here!
Ka-Soh Fish Head Noodle & Seafood Restaurant
136 Jalan Kasah
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2093 7388
18 Jalan Delima, off Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-2143 4434
Oh yes, the fierce old lady, Madam Chooa Yoon Seam, who passed away 3 years ago at the ripe old age of 86. Also my girlhood favourite late night supper AND breakfast food. My father bought the noodles and we'd sometime keep the food overnight to let the flavours develop further. Very shiok the next morning!
Here's a write-up of Madam Chooa's passing. The article described her as "affable". Hah! ;)
Actually, I cried when I read this news. It was truly the passing of an era.
klyeoh, look forward to seeing you this weekend. I guess you have had your fill of Ka-Soh already then. Never mind, we go do Chomp Chomp at Serangoon Gardens, okay?
Same for me,too! My father used to bring metal tiffin carrier to Ka-Soh's Chin Chew Street stall to buy back the fish soup with noodles. This was back in the mid to late 1960s.
I also still go to Ka-Soh today, now with my own teenage kids. The yin-yeong hor fun, Cantonese style, is my favourite dish. The har cheong kai is nice although a bit salty for people's taste nowadays.
The bad-tempered Ka-Soh, when she was alive, was actually quite nice to me & my family. Maybe that's because generations of my family were regulars for more than 60 years, and we spoke Cantonese with her. Else, she'd show her hand at you and shout "WAIT!" (in Cantonese) if you bothered her whilst she was busy.
Nice to read about the background of the place and of your memories around it!
The food looks tasty and that soup does look interesting. Don't think I've ever had it. Do I see a plate of greens? ;-)
(Hmm. I thought "sou2" [嫂] was sister-in-law?)
Most welcome, inaplasticcup. Please note that the addresses in my OP are KL ones. Here's the address of its main Singapore outlet:
Swee Kee (Ka-Soh) Fish-head Noodles House
96 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 6224 9920
Try and avoid peak meal periods if/when you go to this outlet. It can be intimidating especially at lunch-time. More from its web-site: