Lately, I have been swamped with visitors all keen on experiencing Ipoh’s local food especially hawker food. Not being a keen breakfast person as far as roaming the streets and seeking out new delectables is concerned, preferring the quiet comfort of home with my juice and fruits, I nevertheless felt obliged to check out some new breakfast places to add to my repertoire. And I’m glad I did.
If you’re coming from Meru Raya, head towards Chemor and a little way before the T-junction of Chemor town there is a row of shophouses on the left hand side with Chemor Seafood Village in the middle. If roast duck is your thing, then stop first at Restoran Oldfriend with its faded yellow sign (a few doors before Chemor Seafood Village) and either take away some roast duck or just stay and eat their duck rice which has quite a following in Ipoh. The duck here is less fatty, the skin crisp and the sauce served with it, robust. RM40 per duck but they will sell in quarters which you can choose as to whether drumstick or wing portion.
If the option is to ‘Ta Pau’ or take away, then head down about 6-8 more shops, bringing along your roast duck and eat it with your Yin Yong Pan Mee (which is the name of their shop).
Here the Pan Mee (freshly made noodles quite similar to Italian pasta) is quite unusual in that you can have a choice of fresh dough made with pumpkin or coriander (Yeem Sai). Hence the name Yin Yong which means a contrast of two.
They also have a choice of sauces and styles to choose from. Having chosen between the pumpkin or the coriander, I now had the difficult task of choosing between the Pan Mee with Garupa fishhead, RM5.50; the Mah Lat (spiced with Szechwan peppercorns) RM4.00; the curry chicken RM4.00; or the traditional Pan Mee which is served with green vegetables, slivered mushrooms, fried ikan bilis RM3.50. This comes with a pleasantly flavoured sambal chilli sauce.
The noodles (choice of thin, thick or torn into bits) are nice and ‘al dente’ (which is firm on the bite), were right up my taste alley and I especially liked the cleanliness of the shop. Side dishes here include braised chicken feet and as we had some takeaway duck with us, we tucked into that as well.
Another morning saw me and some friends heading towards Falim arriving at Restaurant Blue Sky which was teeming with people and tables spilling over onto the side lane and the front of the road. For those who are unfamiliar, coming from town, head towards Falim and at the fork take Jalan Kledang Utara and just before Laluan Sg. Pari and it’s visible on the right. Coming from the Lumut Highway, turn left at sign for Falim and on Jalan Kledang Utara, pass Laluan Sg. Pari, it’s on the left.
Apparently it is choc-a-bloc full like this everyday, with most people coming for the large choice of different hawker dishes for which Ipoh is famous. Amongst these, most notable is the curry noodle which commands a wait of at least half an hour after placing the order. Here the curry noodles come in two styles: the dry and the wet. Naturally we ordered both which came with chicken, char-siew, bean sprouts and siew yoke or roast pork with skin. Of the two my personal favourite is the wet noodle with a very mild curry sauce/soup. We ordered extra prawns with our dish getting three very large and fresh prawns in addition to the usual garnitures. RM12 for both dry and wet.
Naturally, no tasting is complete unless we order practically everything in the coffee shop, which we had no problems doing. Of note are the fried curry puffs especially the ‘special’ one which we had to wait for as they had run out and were for a fresh batch to be ready. This is worth buying at RM2.00 for a giant curry puff that was oozing inside, redolent with chicken, potatoes, peas and beautiful curry flavour.
Another unusual dish and a must try is the fried Chee Cheong Fun fried in the style of char-kway teow, with bean sprouts soy sauce, chilli sauce and egg. RM3.00. The pork wontons and ‘sui kao’ were very flavourful too. We accompanied this feast with
‘Leong Fun’ coffee – grass jelly mixed in iced milk coffee. This is an unusual ‘fusion’ local concoction that I was initially dubious about but on first sip, I was sold.
There is such a cornucopia of different types of dishes here that it takes two to three visits to fully do justice to the variety. Do keep a note of Blue Sky for your breakfast forays.
Kedai Makanan Yin Yong Pan Mee
30 Hala Chemor 1
Taman Chemor Cemerlang
Tel: 016 592 8043
Open: 6.am-3pm Closed: Mondays
Blue Sky Restaurant
#2&2A Jalan Mas 1,
Taman Mas, Falim
Tel: 012 590 9262