I don’t know how my friend Ginla Foo finds all these little tucked away eating places but find them she does. And naturally she’ll call me excitedly to give me the ‘low-down’.
So her recent discovery of a coffee shop specialising in home-made soups brought five of us to Kedai Makanan Wong Ngok Far in Jalan Theatre. It is tucked away behind the now extinct Yau Tet Shin market which has become a car park, next to a well-known hair salon Team Florence but the big sign emblazoned across the front is difficult to miss once you’re on Jalan Theatre (see pic).
Forty Years in the Business
The lone stall serving in this coffee shop is operated by the eponymous proprietor Ah Yee whose Ah Yee Restaurant has moved around and been around for many years (40 to be exact) and has fans in many places in Ipoh. Originally located near the famous Nga Choi Kai shops around Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Ah Yee has been in operation for two years in these relatively new premises for this renowned eatery. Six months ago, he opened a new outlet on Jalan Raja Musa Azis (Anderson Road) which operates in the evening, run by his son, although Ah Yee is always around to supervise.
Large Choice of Soups
The Chicken Soup with herbs consisting of Dong Kwai (Angelica sinensis), Tong Sum (codonopsis pilosula), Ge Ji (Goji Berries), Wei San (Pyrrosia Leaf) and red dates was well-rounded, clear (Tsing – as in the way Chinese judge their soups) and the Dong Kwai not too overbearing which it can be when the chef is heavy-handed – RM8.
The next soup may not be everyone’s cup of tea or soup but certainly one of my favourites; the Pig’s Stomach Soup, with another mixture of herbs and the addition of pork slices was scrumptious, the stomach having been simmered till tender – RM10.
Post Partum Favourite
We next had that favourite of post partum Chinese mothers, the Braised Pork Knuckle in black vinegar, tender morsels of knuckle braised to the right degree of doneness and unlike a lot of other places, not too sweet nor too sour – RM8. Following on this came the Tung Gu Mun Gai Geok (braised mushrooms with chicken feet), the chicken feet tender and redolent with the fragrance of the dried shitake mushrooms – RM8; and the Ham Yu Mun Tao Foo (bean curd braised with salted fish) the salted fish imparting their characteristic pungency to the bland tofu – RM5.
By this time, the Mutton Soup was ready to be savoured having spent sufficient time on the burner and we tucked into succulent chunks of mutton ribs in a rich thick broth flavoured with hints of star anise and cinnamon RM10.
For vegetables (all Chinese meals must be accompanied by the de rigueur greens), we settled for the bitter melon sautéed with roast pork. This was robustly tasty, the bitter melon at the right consistency and the roast pork with black beans lending the touch of richness to mask any after taste of bitterness in the melon – RM12. Not satisfied with one green, we then ordered a plate of Fried Kangkong (convolvulus) with belacan – RM6.
Our meal for 5 persons came to a total of RM70.
Ah Yee Restaurant
81 Jalan Theatre
11.00 a.m.-5.00 p.m.
40 Jalan Anderson