Food gems in Chan Sow Lin

Steamed fish head is no doubt one of the most famous dishes in Chan Sow Lin, and due to its reputation, many stalls and restaurants that are selling the dish outside the area have “borrowed” the name to attract foodies.


One of the restaurants that serves this dish in Chan Sow Lin is Chong Yen Steamed Fish Head Restaurant, located at Jalan 2/89c.

The restaurant is more than three decades old and only serves one type of fish — Asian Carp which is better known as Soong Yi with a choice of two types of sauce — the classic with minced ginger, garlic, scallion, chili padi and soya sauce; or the “spicier” version.

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Open from 10am to 4pm on Monday to Saturday, Chong Yen’s popularity is well known not just among the locals but also foreign patrons.

“There were Singaporeans who purposely took a flight from Singapore to try our steamed fish head,” claimed the lady boss, who is the daughter of the first generation owners.

“There were also customers from the US and they told me that there is a restaurant that serves steamed fish head in a China Town there using the name ‘Chan Sow Lin’,” she said with a chuckle.

Her parents started Chong Yen as a roadside stall along Jalan Tiga in 1983 before it moved into the current shoplot about nine years ago.

There are quite a few food gems hidden in Chan Sow Lin. Along Jalan Dua are some humble food stalls and the most popular among them is Warung Sinar Nor Nasi Lemak Kukus, a roadside stall that has 50 years of history and known for its nasi lemak with a wide a range of side dishes.

Netizens who reviewed the stall rated it as one of the best nasi lemak in town and a great breakfast to start off your day as it opens from 6.30am to 11.30am every day.

One of the must-have side dishes at Warung SinarNor is the sambal sotong. The cuttlefish is tender and rich in flavour, both spicy and sweet. The price seems quite reasonable — a plate of nasi lemak with fried chicken, sambal cuttlefish and bull’s eye egg costs RM10. So, if you are planning to visit them, better be early to avoid the crowd.

This story first appeared in the pullout on July 26, 2019. You can access back issues here.

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