November 08, 2016
Swee Kee (Ka Soh) Fish-Head Noodle House @ Amoy Street ~ Comforting Fish Noodle Delights For Any Day
Let's go to Swee Kee. I mean Ka Soh. Wait, it should be Swee Kee (Ka Soh) Fish-Head Noodle House.
We might have referred to the long-standing old-school eatery along Amoy Street by either names on different occasions, but what's in a name? If Shakespere is around, perhaps he will say "by any other name its food would taste as delicious". Regular patrons will agree.
Though it does not share the same Michelin Bib Gourmand accolade with its sister restaurant Ka Soh at College Road, or some distractors may comment it's not as good as its heydays, Swee Kee at Amoy Street still remains as one of the best places to have a piping hot bowl of naturally sweet-tasting fish head noodle soup for many, myself included.
Revisiting the decades-old establishment recently felt like being transported back in time. The interior did not changed much and I still remember how my friends and I enjoyed the Prawn Paste Chicken ($8/$15.50) and Deep-fried Pork Ribs ($9.50/$18.50) back then.
These dishes are still on the menu, and thankfully still taste as good.
The pieces of boneless lean pork retained a pleasant firm bite instead of being over-tenderized as commonly done in most Chinese eateries. It was well-seasoned and good enough on its own without the accompanying dip.
I like the prawn paste chicken as well. Golden brown and crispy on the outer, tender and moist on the inner. The amount of prawn paste marinade used was just ideal. Flavor was distinct without being too overpowering.
It would be imperative to have at least a bowl of the signature dish at Swee Kee else any meal here would seem incomplete.
Whether you prefer Fish Head Noodle ($8.50), Fish Fillet Noodle ($8.50) or Sliced Fish Noodle ($7.50), there is a choice of hor fun, egg noodles and thick or thin rice vermicelli to go with it. I like mine with thick rice vermicelli and additional Bittergourd Slices ($1.20).
Broth is still prepared the meticulous way through at least 4 hours of furious boiling with large quantities of fish bones to extract maximum flavor and form that desirous creamy emulsion which many stalls use evaporated milk to achieve. It is said that the soup is tested to have high levels of protein, calcium and collagen!
The snakehead fish (sang yu) used is known for its healing properties. Each bowl of fish noodle soup is not only delightful but nourishing as well.
Because we tend to order the same few favorite dishes the moment we sat down, it was only during this visit that I realized Swee Kee has an extensive menu with over 300 items! Just like a zhi char stall!
We tried the recommended dishes including Oatmeal Prawns ($12.50/$24) and Youmai Vegetable with Dace Fish ($15.50). Don't underestimate the Chinese lettuce. The messy-looking greens turned out to be an impressive plate of crunchy, umami savoriness.
The prawns were large, firm and deshelled for our consumption convenience. We couldn't stopped reaching for the highly addictive oatmeal and egg crispy bits which it's coated in.
These were quite a lot of food for three of us. If tummy space or getting fat is not an issue, I would also want to try some other popular dishes such as Tofu with Fresh Crab Meat ($18.50), Deep-fried Frogs with Ginger ($21) and San Lou Fish Slices Hor Fun ($10.50).
We were told that the well-received Sweet & Sour Pork ($8/$15.50) uses organic vinegar which is not overly sharp in flavor and goes down the throat smoothly without that "biting" feeling.
Looks like we must find a time to return again soon :)
Swee Kee (Ka-Soh) Fish-Head Noodle House
Address: 96 Amoy Street, Singapore 069916
Contact: +65 6224 9920
Opening Hours: Daily 11.45am-2.30pm & 5.30pm-22.45pm
Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 7% GST, no service charge (3) Correct at point of published date.