While the nearest sea can be found at Penang, the island lacks of river. The nearest place for gourmands to explore fresh river produce would be the neighboring state- Kedah. Approximately 45 minute-drive from Penang will land you at Bagan Samak, a sleepy town next to Nibong Tebal (at the border of Penang and Kedah). The streets are not well-maintained, so do expect a bumpy ride on your journey there. There are quite a number of Seafood restaurants at Bagan Samak but we tried our luck at Kang's (also a recommendation by our friend). Kang is not easily noticeable from the entrance (to the town) but requires a few minute-drive; we were guided by the huge signage along the road. There are ample parking spaces right in front of the restaurant; from far, it is a casual dining establishment but the heat intolerant would be glad that the restaurant does have a large air-conditioned room. The place is spacious with high seating capacity; walk to the end of the restaurant and you will find plenty of fresh river produce caged in the fish tanks. They may not have a very big menu but they ace in terms of freshness.
Steamed Cat Fish/ 清蒸白须公 (Rm 42.50/ by weight)
One of the quintessential orders at Kang's, their signature Steamed Cat Fish left us with a very deep impression. We need not question the freshness of the fish, the pristine white flesh could be the best evidence. The fish belly was unctuously rich and fat while the flesh was firm, sans the muddy odor; best paired with their premium Soy sauce. It was a simple dish but the satisfaction was beyond words. Though not cheap, the price was of acceptable range and does not put a dent on the wallet.
Stir Fried Clams with Ginger and Spring Onions/ 姜葱炒蛤蜊 (Rm 12)
Kang did not skimp on the Seafood Tom Yum; flavors were bold and authentic, we had to pick out countless sticks of Lemongrass. The tangy Thai soup carried a balanced medley of sour and spicy notes while sweetness was rather muted. It was more of a Southern-Thai-styled Tom Yum. We thought it was a dimension-breaker though, amidst of the delicately done Seafood dishes. Steamed River Prawns on the other hand, could be more convincing... they were too small in size and thus, affected the overall texture. To be frank, the dish did not shine; we thought it was rather an ordinary offering.
Deep Fried Tilapia with Three-Flavored Sauce/ 三味非洲鱼 (Rm 28)
Stir Fried Tofu with Scallions/ 豆干蒜仔 (Rm 8)
Four Heavenly Kings with Sambal/ 四大天王 (Rm 14)
Save yourself some space for the Deep Fried Tilapia with Three-flavored sauce; the fish was deep fried till tacky crisp and doused with sweet, sour and spicy sauce. The texture was lovely and most addictive- crispy on the outside while the meat remains firm inside but the real draw was the sweet and spicy sauce. It reminded us of the thick sweet Chili sauce that most Malaysian could relate to; a dish that could go well with Rice.
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 7.5/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 7.5/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Ambiance: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: L4583, Kampung Baru, Bagan Samak, 34950, Bandar Baharu, Kedah.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 9:30 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Contact Number: 605- 716 2750