PETALING JAYA, Aug 29 — I had seen this place pop up on my friend's Facebook page for some time and was surprised to find it's just down the road from my car service centre.
I made the effort one day to check out their famous stuffed fish. Even though there's all kinds of rules you must follow to get their food, it was well worth the effort.
One lady came all the way from Damansara Perdana and it was her fifth. Another man was prepared to wait for an hour plus for his ikan sumbat cencaru fix.
The fish is sliced and stuffed with a bright red spice paste before frying.
The fish is only fried from noon onwards in large woks filled with oil
Apparently as I discovered from one of the regulars, this style of stuffed fish is from Kedah. They use ikan cencaru, known as hardtail scad, which is stuffed with their homemade spice paste.
As the fish has a hard skin and you need to peel it off, it's also earned the ikan jaket nickname. The meat inside remains moist even though you deep fry it for some time.
This version is generously stuffed with a bright red spice paste. You may think from the colour it's super spicy but strangely enough, it was only a mild heat.
As the skin of the fish is hard, you can fry it longer in the hot oil.
They add extra spice paste inside the wok to also fry till it becomes fragrant, toasty bits.
What makes this version sublime is they dollop extra spice paste in the hot oil with the fish and it's deep fried till it becomes crispy toasted bits. While this type of dish can be recreated at home, the difference at this stall is they have the quantities to use a lot of oil to fry the spice paste.
When paired with a plate of rice, the whole combination is a delicious one especially if you love fish. Slowly relish the meat mixed with the crispy bits and it's definitely a happy meal.
If you cannot wait, there's an array of dishes laid out for you to pick out for your nasi campur. You can walk in before noon, which is when they start frying the fish and place your name on the waitlist. Then just wait which is what I did.
If you don't want to wait, there's an array of dishes to pick for your 'nasi campur'.
You can get fried fish too with your choice of 'ulam' and rice.
There is also fish curry where they use various types of fish.
The 'paku pakis masak lemak' is a crowd favourite too as they cook up two trays of this.
If you prefer, you can call them from 9am to place your order. The list is divided into those who want to take away the fish or dine there.
Just remember your allocated number and hover around the area where they fry the fish as they call the number when it's ready. It also pays to check constantly as sometimes they forget to call out the number!
The eatery which is located at the side of the road is divided into three sections. There's the drinks area, so just walk up and order your drink and they will send it to you.
As I waited and since I was hungry, I took a selection of dishes with my rice for RM9 with 'pajeri nenas', 'paku pakis masak lemak' and clams.
The crowd around the frying station waiting for their orders.
Then there's the array of dishes for you to select from. Just join the queue and pick from various ulam, fried fish, fish curry, clams and vegetables. I tried the pajeri nenas and that was delicious as it's got a distinct peanut taste.
Even the clams are fresh and tasty although the sauce didn't infuse them with much flavour. Another crowd favourite is their paku pakis masak lemak. The list is kept behind the array of dishes, so just ask around to place your order for the fish.
The next station is where the frying action happens. There's loads of large woks which they fill with oil to fry the stuffed fish. People crowd around this place waiting to get their orders.
Look for this roadside stall along Jalan 51/217 for the 'ikan sumbat cencaru'.
Expect to fork out RM8 for the ikan cencaru sumbat. For the nasi campur, the prices depend on what you select. For instance, my selection of clams, paku pakis and pajeri nenas was RM9.
Ikan Cencaru Sumbat/ Ikan Jaket, Open air roadside stall along Jalan 51/217, Section 51, Petaling Jaya. Open: 11.45am to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday). Closed Saturday, Sunday and public holiday. To pre-order for the day, call +6017-6862606, after 9am to book your fish for lunch time. Facebook: @CencaruSumbatPJ