There is this mental attitude amongst Ipohites that any destination that takes more than five minutes to get to by car is far. Thank goodness for developers like Sunway, the Haven, Namcom, and Kinta properties in Klebang and Meru who have pushed the residential mind set of locals further afield to embrace a travelling time of 20 minutes as normal. So I was not fazed when my foodie friend Ginla Chew suggested we meet at Chemor Village Restaurant for their special peppery-hot fish soup.
Situated on a corner lot with ample parking spaces around and highly visible from the main road, this restaurant was a stall in Chemor and only moved to its present location two years ago. Because it is on a corner site with open space on two sides, the lack of air-conditioning was not a problem as both ceiling and standing fans were whirring at full blast.
Peppery Fish Soup
The first course to arrive was naturally their famous Fish Soup, a large tureen of bubbling broth with its hidden treasures. The Ikan Haruan fish bones and head bits were deep fried for crunch but the fish meat slices were ‘au-naturel’ just poached to perfection by the broth. The taste was fiery, pepper-hot rather than chilli, but only to the degree that removed any possibility of a lingering fishy taste and smell. There was enough for two helpings each and do ask for the addition of Hsao Tsing wine to the broth. RM50 for 10 people to order in advance.
Unusual Fish Intestines
An unusual dish followed, fish intestines sautéed with dried prawns, a hint of chillies and sambal belacan and topped with oodles of Chu Yau Cha or fried pork lardons, that irresistible cholesterol nightmare of local cuisine that lends its crunch and fragrance to many a dish. RM15.
We then had clams steamed in Chinese wine: fresh, large and not one bad clam RM15; a steamed ‘Wu Tsou Kai’(white-whiskered chicken – a special breed) that was juicy and tender, served with grated ginger RM40; ‘Sayur Paku’ or jungle fern fried with sambal belacan – RM8; and another vegetable dish, the ‘Sei Tai Teen Wong’ or 4 Heavenly Kings, petai, ladies fingers, long beans and brinjal fried with a sambal sauce.
‘Al Dente’ Noodles
We finished this meal with one of their signature dishes: their ‘Sang Meen’ fine egg noodles famed for their ‘al dente’ or springy quality, topped with refried roast pork. This is perfect for those with a sweet tooth but for my taste buds, I found it a tad too sweet. When ordering this dish, depending on your taste, do ask them to lay off the sugar which they add to the pork.
On another occasion when I gave that instruction with the order, it arrived perfectly. RM20. This time I had specially ordered the Hakka style ‘Yong Tau Fu’ – brinjal, ladies fingers, chillies and tofu stuffed with their homemade fish paste and pan fried with a dark taucheo (preserved bean paste) sauce. RM28.
Chemor Village Restaurant
20 Hala Chemor 1, Taman Chemor Mutiara
Tel: 05-291 1359
Monday to Sunday 11am-10.30pm
Closed two days a month on Mondays