For a girl, I’m generally pretty good with road directions. Before I had GPS, I was relying fully on printed Google Maps to maneuver my way around. That’s how I learnt about new roads. You can basically throw in in the middle of Johor Bahru, and I’d still be able to find my way around.
But there’s one place that I absolutely abhored – Balakong, Cheras. Maybe it’s the lack of trees or the rows and and rows of identical buildings. Whenever I was there alone, I felt genuine fear. So much so that even my GPS had a tendency to freak out on me in Balakong. Once, while I was trying to get back to PJ, it took me on a dozen U-turns on one same stretch of road…in a thunderstorm. In the end I made it back home by going against every instruction meted out by my GPS.
That said, my dislike for Balakong is slowly dissipating. Why? Cause it’s a treasure trove for cheap, great food, that’s why.
You’ve heard of the famous paper wrapped chickens and the awesome yongtaufus in Balakong. But do you know that it’s also a great place for seafood? The BF took me to this secluded and unassuming restaurant called Restoran 328 for what he declared as one of the most awesome fish dishes he had ever tasted.
# – Restoran 328.
The restaurant is actually attached to a badminton court building. We were there pretty early, so there’s no crowd to boast of. I was a little skeptical and tried to lower my expectations a bit.
# – Attached to a badminton court. People coming in and out of the building with racquets was a common sight.
They are essentially a “dai chao” so you can order dishes with rice as well as various kinds of noodles. The BF couldn’t remember the name of the fish dish so he called his friend and passed the phone to the proprietor. It’s called, “Heong Lat Kam Fung Yue”, which basically means “Fragrant Spicy Tilapia”.
“Yeah! Fragrant & spicy that’s exactly how I remember it”, said the BF.
It was the first dish to arrive. A tilapia deep fried to a crisp drowning in unidentified orange sauce. It smelt heavenly but the presentation was poor.
# – Heong Lat Kam Fung Yue (Fragrant Spicy Tilapia)
The rice came and we dug in. While the fish was very crispy on the outside, the flesh was fresh and flaky. What truly made the dish was really the sauce though. Honestly, I can’t describe it but I’ll try my best. It’s reminiscent of asam sauce but less tart with a very satisfying kick from the spiciness. I could finish two bowls of rice with the sauce alone.
# – Sucking on the fish bones. In fact, most of the bones were so crispy I could just eat them.
# – ST devouring the fish like a true chinese.
I should probably talk about the other 2 dishes that we ordered too.
# – Stir fried potato leaves was great. Not too oily and very fresh.
# – Marmite pork ribs were delicious (although I must say was slightly overshadowed by the fish). They were mostly deboned, so were very pleasant to eat. The taste of Marmite was subtle in a good way and every piece was had nice combination of fat and meat. No chewy bits. Yummy!
Now back to the poor fish.
# – Aftermath.
Our bill came to less than RM50 including soft drinks. I highly recommend trying out this place. If you hated Balakong like I did, after eating here you’d probably be in touch with feelings you never knew you could have with Balakong.
Restoran 328 (Kong Meng Badminton Hall)
Lot No. 12, Seksyen 1 Pekan Batu 11 Cheras,
43200 Jalan Balakong, Selangor
GPS coordinates: N3 02.229 E101 46.229 *for I understand your predicament too*