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Huge on freshwater fish

You won’t find obese wild canines at Fatty Tiger, only pesticide-free greens and mouth-watering fish dishes. 


Fish to the fore: Chef Keong holding the Ikan Kelah Merah. On the table are (clockwise from top right) Ikan Tengalan, Ikan Patin, Ikan Jelawat and Ikan Temoleh.
WHEN two fishing enthusiasts, Joe Fong and Ben Lee, came together to start their Fatty Tiger Restaurant in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, they came up with an interesting concept of restaurant food. 

For a start, it seems a funny thing why they chose to name the restaurant Fatty Tiger when the canine found in the wild is hardly known for being overweight.  

But Lee says the concept of their restaurant is based on their love for pesticide-free vegetables, like pucuk paku, and animals, especially the fishes, that are found in the wild. 

“The freshwater fish from the rivers are a lot tastier and more nutritious by comparison. 

“When we say this to fishing enthusiasts, they will know what we mean, because they know how to appreciate the natural tastes of the fish and the way we prepare the dishes.” 

So, with Lee, the environment at Fatty Tiger Restaurant is not that important.  

“Our idea is to make this a fisherman’s outing, where our customers can simply enjoy the best of what nature can offer,” he says. 

After all, as Lee puts it aptly: “The idea of the restaurant came about when several fishing enthusiasts decided that they would share the best of nature’s gifts from the rivers with other fellow Malaysians.” 

The cooking is simple but the dishes served here taste pretty good.  


Tucking in: Ben Lee (left) and Joe Fong (right) with a regular client, Calvin Ng, helping themselves to the dishes at Fatty Tiger.
“It is because we want to bring out the natural taste of the freshwater fish and other dishes served here,” explains Fong. 

Instead of pork, they serve wild boar meat. And, for poultry, the restaurant only uses kampung chicken, which is usually steamed with herbs. There are also the steamed kampung chicken eggs, prepared using special herbs to give it a special fragrance. 

Sixty per cent of the fish served as dishes here are bought from the orang asli community, while another 15% come from other fishing enthusiasts.  

Fong used to go fishing very often in the past but since the restaurant started, he goes only once every fortnight. 

“Each time we go out in our sampans, it’s for a few days at a stretch,” he says. 


Ikan Kerai (steamed)
Their favourite fishing spots include the Kenyir Lake, Temenggong Lake, Pahang River, Rompin River and Perak River. There is a wide selection of over 16 types of fish served here, including Ikan Tapah, Ikan Tengalan, Haruan, Jelawat, Ketutu, Gahak, Temoleh, Kerai, Bujuk, Sebarau, Baung and Patin. 

For those who are afraid of fish bones, Fong recommends the Ikan Patin, which has relatively fewer bones.  

“It is very suitable for children,” he says.  

The famous Patin fish, steamed and served with ginger, goes for only RM45 a kilo.  

“Patin fish has a natural sweet taste if served fresh,” says Lee. “It is only when it is no longer fresh that you have to garnish it.” 

Ikan Haruan is served with herbs and to prepare the dish, the chef has to remove most of the bones.  


Ikan Haruan (cooked with herbs)
For the other types of food, the cooking style is also based on the kampung style.  

“There is a number of ways, for example, for us to prepare the dishes with the wild boar meat. We can serve it as curry wild boar ribs cooked kampung style in clay pot, or with spring onions, black pepper and a special sauce known only to the kampung people,” Lee says.  

“Then, there is the baby ribs stewed with herbs and ginger. Its taste is natural, and you simply cannot resist it.” 

Fatty Tiger Restaurant is located at Lot 12G, Ground Floor (South Walk), CMC Centre, Jalan Cerdas, Taman Connaught, Cheras. (Tel: 016-202 8572).  

It is open daily, except Wednesdays, for lunch (noon-3pm) and dinner (6.30pm-10.30pm).  



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