It was not easy looking for Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant but if you know the famous Cheras Lookout Point then it is easy. All you do is drive past the abandoned and closed Cheras Lookout Point and you will find this unusual restaurant easy as pie.
Usually there will be some cars going the same way so just follow them!
I was surprised it was a large restaurant facing a pond which can seat 800 diners over 100 tables.
The name is misleading as 'Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant' gives the impression it is a vegetarian restaurant or else it specialises in vegetarian fish ie vegetables that resemble fish! I have been to vegetarian restaurants where they serve 'vegetarian chicken' and 'vegetarian char siew' etc!
Explained William Ng, one of the owners and son of founder Eugene Ng, "Actually 'Veg' stands for 'Vegetables' and not 'Vegetarian'! I thought 'veg' would be short form of 'vegetables' but yes, some first timers also thought the same thing but now it is difficult to change the name as we have been here for 6 years already."
When William Ng and his father Eugene Ng claim their vegetables are farm fresh, they REALLY mean it as they own a 4 acre vegetable farm 10 minutes walk away!
Grinned William Ng, "We own this land of around 8 acres. Originally my father was in the construction business and involved in earth works and heavy equipment. We rented out our vehicles and heavy machinery and when not in use, we parked them here which was very convenient as they took up a lot of space.
"As we had excess land, we used it to grow vegetables. Some 8 years ago, business slowed as most developers bought their own machinery so my father decided to branch into the food business as we are licensed importer and exporter of live seafood from Indonesia and Thailand.
"Some of our staff were Thais and they used to cook for themselves. We tasted their cooking and found it very tasty and appetising so we decided to open this restaurant! After all, we already have the fresh vegetables nearby!"
As it is, they supply fresh vegetables to Selayang wholesale market daily! There is even a counter selling freshly plucked veggies at the restaurant's entrance!
Their Thai restaurant became more distinct and authentic as they sourced for Thai chefs across the border for authenticity.
"Almost all our cooks are Thai. When we started, we could only seat 30 people but business boomed quite fast so we expanded to 60 and 100 and now we can accommodate 800 diners."
The pond is the focus though it is manmade. At one end is a floating stage where singers perform nightly. Many wonder how the singers get onto the pontoon as the jungle at the back looks impenetrable.
"They use the raft from the restaurant to reach the floating stage!" grinned the affable and jolly William Ng. "The water is only 1.5 to 3 metres deep.
"Many diners assume the fish they eat come from the pond which is filled with fish but no, we are not into aquaculture. We have 2 dependable suppliers. We thought of raising our own fish but it is costly and time-consuming and not a matter of throwing leftover food to feed them and then cook them!"
Having said that, William pointed to the pond where fish are kept inside enclosed nets. "These are from my suppliers and kept alive until ordered. Before we only offered tilapia, pau so kong and soon hock. Now we have seafood and dragon grouper. Our crabs are from Indonesia while the big blue ones are from Australia."
The prices are very reasonable and few can gripe. They own the land and operating costs are low since the decor is rustic, simple and kampong-style with no fancy carvings, paintings, stylish wall decorations or ornamentations. So they can offer good food at good prices as proven by the packed tables.
Indeed for the first 4 years they were not connected to Tenaga and ran on generators! "It was a bit noisy! We still maintain 2 generators in case of power failure to keep the oxygen for the fish, prawns and crabs." said William Ng who looks like the son of 8-Faced Buddha in 'White Storm' which he had watched and quite agreed!
A bowl of chicken fried rice costs RM 6 which is almost a meal if you are the cheap type. The crispy fried sotong with crispy fried spinach is utterly delicious and costs only RM 10. The pandan chicken is RM 12 for 6 pieces and RM 24 for a dozen. The tilapia is priced based on weight and ours was RM 30. Ice lemon tea is RM 4.50.
Veg Fish Farm Thai Restaurant is open 7 days a week from 11 am to midnight.
019 260 6493
THE PACKED, FREE CAR PARK PROVES THIS RESTAURANT IS POPULAR!
FOOD WITH A VIEW
MODEL ADAM FROM IRAN