SeeFoon Dines ‘Al Fresco’ In Old Town

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Dining ‘al fresco’ or under the stars has always appealed to me, ideally in a more temperate climate with a gentle breeze creating a soothing susurration from surrounding trees as one sipped slowly from a glass of wine. But with the recent heat wave, I was somewhat reluctant when friends suggested I join them for an ‘al fresco’ meal in old town. I was about to make some excuse when my friend C.K. Cheah mentioned the fantastic iced beer that was the chief attraction. At this I accepted with alacrity, as this was just the right antidote to the stifling heat. So dressed in my skimpiest (my modesty and concern for not outraging other’s sense of aesthetics notwithstanding), I hurried down to old town to rendezvous with my friends.

Iced Beer

Kafe Yoon Wah is located on Jalan Bijeh Timah, almost on the corner of Jalan Panglima. In fact the table we were sitting at was directly outside Lorong Panglima, more popularly known as Concubine Lane. An iced beer mug was immediately delivered, followed by an iced beer that was poured in quickly. The resulting foam almost filled half the glass and I was told to drink it quickly before the foam dissipated.

Not being a seasoned beer drinker, I spluttered through the foam and found the ice cold beer below, refreshingly cold on the tongue and absolutely what the doctor (if he was my kind of doctor that is) would prescribe! Apparently the beer and the mugs are kept in the freezer, taken out and immediately opened. RM12 for a large bottle.

Late night spot

We then proceeded to order and I was given the ‘low-down’ on the Kafe. Essentially open for business only at night, Kafe Yoon Wah stays open and serving till the wee hours of the morning (like 2-3.00 a.m.). It is a favourite haunt for bar-flys, after-movie, after-banquet, after-dancing crowd and earlier for general diners and families. Tables covered almost half the street stretching from the corner of Jalan Panglima for about two blocks. I asked what happens when it rains and I had the opportunity to find out that evening for as we had just finished our meal and preparing to pay, we felt the first few drops of rain and ran scurrying to our cars. I then saw the waiters running forward to set up removable canopies which were already open and ready to provide instant shelter from the rain.

Signature Dishes

The first dish to arrive was the pig’s fallopian tubes fried with dried prawns, dried chillies and chilli padi with a sprinkling of rendered lard (ju yao jah). While it may sound repugnant for a lot of folks, it must be remembered that unlike other offal meat which usually act as filtering systems in the body, pig’s fallopian tubes purely act as a passage for eggs and are therefore much more hygienic. It has a crunchy texture and can be very tasty when cooked in the right way. Kafe Yoon Wah certainly cooks it right and in fact our bunch of foodies liked it so much that we had to order a second helping.RM13.00 per portion.

Another dish worthy of note was the steamed frog with chicken essence. Soft and succulent, these bite-sized morsels of frog which on its own is quite bland, were given a lift with the addition of a whole bottle of chicken essence. Our portion for six – RM37.50.

Must-Haves

Other must have dishes included the dry boar curry (a must have) RM13; fresh eel braised in dark soya with dried chillies  RM17.50; shelled Mantis prawns fried with Nestum RM15.00  and deep fried ‘Sa Tsui’ fish, a small local fish that is very popular with Ipohites RM18.00.

For noodles, we had two types: the fried Hokkien noodles, thick udon type noodles in a dark sauce (RM9.00 for a 2-person portion) and the dry fried ‘beehoon’ or thin rice vermicelli (RM10.00 for a 2-person portion), both of which were generously topped with crisp lardons.

Completely stuffed to the gills at this point, a lady approached us and asked if we’d like to try her boneless stuffed chicken wings – 3 for RM10.80. Her description of it was so tempting that we just had to order three for a trial. And we were glad we did. Fried to a crisp on the outside, the stuffing which was a combination of pork meat, mushrooms, and water chestnuts, was most flavourful.

Kafe Yoon Wah, worth a visit.