Other Ipoh delicacies

12 Dec 2006 In: Food Type: Chinese, Location: Ipoh, LOCATION: PERAK

Part 4

When we weren’t eating at restaurants and kopitiams in Ipoh, we were busy buying food. What? Obsessed with food? Us? Certainly not!

We drove in circles looking for Gunung Rapat where the famous Yee Hup is located. All that effort for heong peng. It’s funny how when you’re not looking for something, it appears before you several times. But when you’re searching high and low for it, it plays hide and seek with you.

Suffice to say that we found Yee Hup even when we were looking for Tambun to buy pomelos.

Yee Hup is the place to buy heong peng. There is usually a long queue and a steady stream of cars outside, all for the delectably sweet and sticky, flaky delicacy.

When in Ipoh, one has to buy pomelos. It’s expected of you. Sadly, we couldn’t find Tambun (seriously!), so we ended up at the stalls outside the Sam Po Tong temple which is built in a limestone cave. The temple, not the stalls. Because we were quite inexperienced in selecting pomelos, we chose the ones with unblemished skins. 🙂

Salt baked chicken is another delicacy from Ipoh, and the place to go to is Aun Kheng Lim. On one side of the shop are several ovens in which the chicken, wrapped in paper, are baked under mounds of salt, and on the other side of the shop are boxes stacked six feet high, ready for packing.

And of course, when in Ipoh, one has to drink Ipoh White Coffee which is made of robusta beans roasted in margarine. There are several coffeeshops in the same area, all claiming to be the original white coffee specialists, but we went to Sun Yuan Foong which was home to the original white coffee. 🙂 The coffee is served sweetened (translated: sweet!) and we ordered some kuih along with it.

Part 3

Ipoh Old Town has two prominent kopitiams which are located side-by-side: Thean Chun (House of Mirrors) and Kong Heng. When we arrived at about 1.30pm, Thean Chun was closed, so maybe that explained why Kong Heng was PACKED.

Getting a table at Kong Heng is no easy feat. Like playing chess, there is a strategy involved. And we learnt, 30 minutes later and no table in hand, that one has to be ruthless.

The steps are as follows:-

  1. Identify table. Look for signs indicating that the persons sitting at the table are going to complete their meal in the next 10 minutes. If energetic conversations are going on, chances are they’ll be asking for another round of drinks, so move on to the next table.
  2. Stand really close to the table. This gives a double signal, i.e. to the person sitting down that you are targetting his table, and to other vultures to stay away from this table.
  3. If other vultures have also targetted the same table, start limbering up for step 4.
  4. Say there are 6 people currently sitting at the table. When one person stands up, immediately move your butt and place yourself in his place, regardless of whether or not the other 5 have finished their meals. This is very important, as it indicates ownership of that table. Vultures will immediately disperse.
  5. Put on a nonchalant expression and wait till the remaining 5 move, then wave madly so your friends will know that you have successfully completed your mission and come over and congratulate you.

So we got our table. 🙂

Kong Heng has several stalls serving a variety of food including asam laksa, hor fun, lor bak, popiah, wantan mee and sotong kangkung. One of the more popular items to order is pork satay. Basically, the satay man dumps a plate of satay on the table, and when he sees the number of sticks dwindling, he tops up the plate with more satay. You pay for what you consume. Which brings us to the question of hygiene….

Unfortunately, this time around, the satay man was nowhere to be seen. We saw a plate of popiah on every table, so we ordered the popiah which was absolutely delicious. The hor fun in soup was also very good, but Barbie preferred Pretty Pui’s asam laksa. The asam laksa is very much like the Penang version.

Part 2

One of the reasons why we headed out early to Ipoh was because we wanted to try the dim sum at the famous Foh San restaurant. Foh San is well known for its char siew pau and tai pau, and regulars will tell you that if you arrive after 8.30am, there won’t be anymore left.

It’s a shame that road names are changed around the country, presumably to do away with the imperialistic connotations associated with our “colonial fathers” in keeping with the old road names. Several road names have been changed to the names of present sultans and glorified politicians, but in changing the names, are we also deceiving ourselves into believing that the past never existed? Incidentally, there is a radio ad right now campaigning Malaysia’s 50th year of independence in 2007. The ad says that Malaysia turns 50 next year. Malaysia has a long history, not as “Malaysia” but as “Malaya” or “Tanah Melayu” before that, but nevertheless, is it right to say that we’re only 50? Anyhow, the reason why I brought this up was because we couldn’t find Osborne Road in Ipoh, and realised, in the process, that several road names had been changed. :-

We arrived at about 9.30am, so we were fully prepared for the absence of char siew pau, but we were still keen to try the other stuff. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we all exhaled a “wow” in unison at seeing the huge crowd, either seated or waiting to be served. It certainly appeared to be popular, not only with the tourists, but also with the locals.

The restaurant is bright and cheery, mostly due to its open concept which lets the sunshine in. Despite what other people may say, we experienced good service with a smile everytime we asked for something. Most of the waitresses are old “aunties”, and one can’t help but to warm up to them.

The dim sum was certainly delicious. A selection of pictures of the dim sum we consumed is shown below.

We were lucky enough to get ONE char siew pau, which we promptly, and fairly, divided into four parts. 🙂 We pronounced it good, and agreed that our trip to Ipoh wasn’t in vain.

The entire meal was very reasonably priced. At approximately RM40 for four of us, we agreed that we could never get a similarly priced meal of dim sum back in Kuala Lumpur.

The aunty and uncle manning the payment counter, despite having stern looks, were actually very pleasant. It was definitely a good start to our day in Ipoh.

Restoran Foh San

2, Jalan Osborne,

30300 Ipoh, Perak.

Tel: 05-2540308

About this blog

Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.


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