SHAH ALAM, Feb 8 – Let’s talk balls. Specifically, fish balls.
You can find these spheres of fish paste fried, steamed or in soup at hawker stalls or restaurants in most neighbourhoods, as a component in a dish or as the main feature, which makes finding a version worthy of destination status all the more special.
Recently, a friend mentioned Restaurant KK Ocean Point in Kota Kemuning, pointing to – with great zeal, I might add – their steamed house-made fish balls as a signature dish worth the trip.
After wrestling with a few internal reservations of my own, namely: "Wow that’s far”, "Hope I don’t see my ex” and "That’s a long drive for some fish balls”, I found myself sitting in the restaurant on a Thursday afternoon.
It’s worth mentioning that the scale of the operation here is nothing to scoff at. Spanning three shop lots, the main dining area filled up steadily during the lunch hour and was eventually full before 1pm.
In addition to typical dai chow dishes and seafood, KK Ocean Point also prides itself on siu mei dishes like roast duck and char siu.
The latter is executed tremendously well – so well I think it can compete with places that specialise only in siu mei.
Soft, sticky and sweet, the little cubes of char siu squish and melt in your mouth like porky marshmallows covered in caramel, with a great ratio of meat to fat.
The much-lauded fish balls arrived, interestingly, on a plate with a seasoned soy sauce mixture, a sprinkle of crispy fried shallots and some fresh scallions.
They were bigger and darker in colour than your standard white-as-snow, uniform balls from the factory, with a vaguely spherical shape and a pockmarked, craggy surface.
Sinking my teeth into one of these supple suckers reveals a texture like no other – one worth the trip to Kota Kemuning, a thousand times over.
Most fish balls have a bounciness and elasticity brought about by the use of large amounts of flour as a binder, but also as a filler.
They have a characteristic snap to them, but the result is a lack of substantial fish flavour.
The fish balls at KK Ocean Point, conversely, have a chewy, almost meaty quality to them, akin to a meatball where the repeated pounding of muscle fibres and the subsequent breaking down of protein is responsible for its texture.
A strong fishy flavour is also present, but not in a bad way, supported by the cracks and crevices in the cross-section of the fish balls which reveal a composition heavy on fish and light on filler.
The seasoned soy sauce tastes similar to what usually accompanies white-cut chicken, and it is the ideal dressing for the stronger-than-average flavour in these fish balls.
Another highlight was Squid in a "Nyonya-style” Sauce served on a sizzling iron plate.
Tender rings of squid were accompanied by green beans, chillies, onions and most notably, petai, slathered in a thick, almost creamy sauce that was the ideal combination of spicy, sour and sweet.
It doesn’t get much better than this together with some white rice.
And just because we felt peckish, we also got some crispy fried chicken. Juicy chicken thighs with shatteringly crisp skin, the latter a result of using essentially no batter, topped with a fragrant spread of crispy fried garlic.
Rounding off the meal with some greens, we got green beans stir-fried with minced pork, which felt like it comprised more minced pork and lard than beans: just the way I like.
In total, along with two plates of rice and a pot of tea, the meal came up to a very affordable RM136.
Restaurant KK Ocean Point offers three different set menus for Chinese New Year, all available for groups of 10. Prices start at RM1,288 nett for eight courses, whereas the more extensive menus with nine courses each go for RM1,488 nett and RM1,788 nett respectively.
The restaurant will be open for business as usual throughout the Chinese New Year period.
Restaurant KK Ocean Point
No. 48, Jalan Anggerik Vanilla 31M, Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam
Open daily, 11am-3pm, 5-10pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Tel: 03-5121 0553
Additional numbers for Chinese New Year reservations:
012-209 1318 (Ah Du)
012-708 5739 (Ah Ing)
012-583 8807 (Ah Hook)
*This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.
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