Chinese New Villages in Malaysia are essentially old settlements created in the early 1950s, when the communist threat was at its peak. The British, fearful that Chinese immigrants in Malaya would be sympathetic to the communist cause from China, set up villages where curfews were put into place and the movements of its villagers monitored. Today, one can still find Chinese New Villages where life remains slightly more idyllic, even when they are surrounded by cities – oases where families have lived for generations in the spirit of a community.
One can find real gastronomic gems in these places; like the Ikan Bakar Garam stall in Seri Kembangan New Village. Housed in a traditional wooden structure typical of new village homes, the restaurant is often packed with visitors – both locals from the village as well as ‘outsiders’ in search of good food.
Their specialty? Salt-baked tilapia.
Since it’s a saltwater fish, the tilapia is often cooked with strong sauces such as chilli or fermented bean paste. Here, they rub salt all over it before grilling over a charcoal fire. The skin is peeled off, leaving the firm and juicy inside for the taking.
We got a medium-sized fish. While the fish was fleshy and had a nice texture, it lacked flavour so had it with chopped garlic and soy sauce. They also serve it with a spicy house sauce.
Every other table had their signature fried tofu, so we got a plate as well. This was really good! Although it was fried, it didn’t feel oily, and the tofu had been mixed with egg and fish paste so it didn’t taste like tofu at all – more like bouncy, chewy fish snacks :) The cold chilli dip was refreshing.
Last but not least, simple stir-fried vegetables.
The resto is famous and has been featured in many publications and TV shows before.
Overall, satisfying meal at a reasonable price (RM32 for the fish, everything else was about Rm10++). It’s nice to dine in a village-like ambience sometimes :)
IKAN BAKAR GARAM
249-B , Jalan 2 , Kawasan 6 , Seri Kembangan, Selangor
Tel : 016-2888089