Lai Kee Fish Ball Noodles (Johor, Malaysia)

If you like old school tasting fishballs (chewy, dense, firm and fresh), head down to Lai Kee Fish Ball Noodles. The fishballs are handmade daily from ikan parang (known as Wolf herring in English or 西刀鱼 in Chinese). "Ikan" means fish while "Parang" is a Malaysian and Moluccan big knife, similar to a machete. The name Ikan Parang is apt since the fish looks like a long blade. Click here to see an image of an Ikan Parang. The use of Ikan Parang allows for "sweet" fishballs without the the fishy smell.

Lai Kee Fish Ball Noodles was recommended by a local when I was having lunch at Tua Thow. He mentioned the legendary 30 minutes wait before getting your noodles. I knew that this is a store I have to visit since Singaporeans queue for everything. And guess what! There were many locals as well as Singaporeans at Lai Kee Restaurant. I waited close to 30 minutes on a weekday morning before my noodles were served. While waiting, order some fishcakes which are made on site. They are extremely soft and chewy.

There seems to be a dance to make the noodles. Scroll to the end of the post to watch it! Enjoy (:

You will have to find a seat and one of the staff will come over to take order. Payment is made once everything is served. Friendly people who allow you to roam in their kitchen at the back of the restaurant where they make their fishballs.


Food Review:
Come here for the dense, chewy fishballs! Different from what we have in Singapore which are springy and soft.

The dense, chewy fishballs.

Large plates of fishballs being made at the back of the restaurant. They are placed on the plates which gives them a flat side, losing the spherical shape.
Plates of Fishballs!

 The Fishcake which you can order while waiting. Tasted pretty good. MUST TRY.
A bowl of fishcakes (RM3/S$1.15)

 You could order the soup or dry noodles to have as carbohydrates to accompany your fishballs.
Top: Fishball Kway Teow Soup (RM4.50/S$1.73)
Bottom: Fishball BeeHoon Soup (RM4.50/S$1.73) 

 A close up of the soup beehoon. I thought the dry noodles were a safer bet.
Fishball BeeHoon Soup (RM4.50/S$1.73) 

Dry noodles with chilli. The noodles came out fine with the most of the flavour coming from pork lard in the chilli sauce. Not bad.
Dry noodles and a bowl of fish ball soup (RM4.50/S$1.73)

Here is a picture of the boss who started this business when he was 22 years old!
Ah Lai (亚来), the boss

The classic interior with mosaic tiles.
Interior of Restoran Lai Kee

Restoran Lai Kee, one of the eateries in Taman Ungku Tun Aminah.
The exterior of Restoran Lai Kee

A video I recorded during the visit. Check out the dance moves needed to make the noodles.

What you need to know:
- There will be a long wait to get your noodles
- Come here if you like dense, chewy fishballs. Not for those that like soft, springy fishballs!
- Do what the locals do and order the dry noodles!

Restoran Lai Kee 记西刀鱼丸
90, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), 
Skudai, 81300 Johor Bahru 
Opening Hours: 7:00am to 4:30pm (Daily)

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About Unknown

Koo Haoming. Founder of The Fat Chemist. Currently an undergrad at the National University of Singapore with a burning passion for science! Inspired to start a blog after reading the book, "Napoleon's Buttons, How 17 Molecules Changed History". The book fills the gap between Chemistry and History. Adapting the style of the book, posts written by me highlight the chemistry in the food we eat.
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