Bagan Samak is a small Chinese village just 3km away from the Bandar Baharu (Kedah) toll. It's famous for its freshwater fish offering and boasts a large number of freshwater food restaurants. A local friend recommended Kang Fresh Water Food, one of the more established restaurants in the area.
The spacious restaurant was semi-crowded on a weekday night with a mix of locals and tourists.
There were also tanks of live fish at the back of the restaurant – a great place to bring kids and overexcited adults.
The server promptly seated us with the menu and recommended a few of their signature dishes. They offer a good variety of freshwater fishes such as Goby, Tilapia, Catfish, Mystus, Sultan, etc. Unlike most touristy places, their default option is reared fish so be sure to request a wild-caught fish if that’s what you’re after. For a slightly higher price, wild-caught fishes generally taste less "muddy" and have firmer flesh. Food arrived within a very reasonable 10minutes.
Steamed Wild Mystus (5/5)
The fish was extremely fresh and had zero “muddy” smell! At RM70 per kilogram, I thought it was a very fair price for the quality of fish. Steamed to perfection, the flesh was firm yet flaky and pairs well with the Hong Kong Style soy sauce. I ordered extra rice to fully savour this dish.
Steamed Lala with Lemon (3/5)
This Thai-style sauce was refreshingly aromatic, tangy and spicy. Unfortunately, the Lala that day were not juicy and some were even gritty. Quite a pity as the flavours were really nice.
Paku Vegetable with Belacan (4/5)
I love the texture of Paku vegetable (a fern) so it was an instant order when I saw it on the menu. The vegetables were crisp and the generous amount of prawns in the dish gave it so much extra sweetness. The belacan (fermented shrimp paste) was not overpowering as well so I enjoyed this.
Fried Tau Kua with Leeks (3/5)
While the sauce was quite tasty, it tasted slightly too oily for my liking. Perhaps the tau kua (firm tofu) was not drained properly after frying. Still pretty good but I've tasted much better.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal here and the freshwater fish was definitely the star of the night. It's been a while since I last tasted a Mystus fish this fresh at such a reasonable price. Since this is considered a more "touristy" restaurant in the area, I look forward to trying the other restaurants within Bagan Samak to sample more traditional flavours.
Sabbylicious Makan Rating
Food : 4/5
Price : 4/5
Environment : 4/5
Service : 4/5
Must order : Freshwater fish (be sure to ask for wild caught)
Operating Hours Wednesday-Monday (11:30am–9:30pm, 11:30pm–12am) Closed on Tuesday.
阿江中泰河鲜 Kang Fresh Water Food L4583 Kg Baru Bagan Samak Bagan samk, 34950 Bandar Baharu, Kedah