Category Archives: FOOD

World Famous Ipoh Food

Likarli & Lo Tian

SeeFoon goes from North to South in her Foodie quest


Musings of Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

The one lament I have about being introduced to ‘Tai Chau’ (literally translated to mean ‘big fry’) restaurants is that the dishes in each are, as the Americans would put it…‘same old, same old’. Meaning that they all serve the same dishes and have similar items on their menus. The only variations are in the preparation styles and the skill of the ‘wok’ person in the kitchen and the flavours he/she coaxes out of the food. And that is what separates the wheat from the chafe. And what brings in the customers like myself and my foodie friends.

For eat we must and daily. And while our eager group will check out any small nook and corner with any new opening bringing one or two of our curious ones to check it out, on the whole, we end up returning to some perennial favourites or adopting some new ones that we discover. While some of these may have been operating for years, like Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant which is in the north of Ipoh close to Jelapang, serving folks from Silibin, First Garden and Taman Rishah, some others like Restoran Likarli are relatively new, catering to up-and-coming communities like the burgeoning one in Seri Botani in the south, close to the Simpang Pulai toll.

In this review, I shall cover both outlets in one go as the menu items are similar and I will highlight only those items that impressed me.

Restoran Likarli 1Restoran Likarli

This is a two-shoplot restaurant with well spaced out tables and one side fully air conditioned. The service is brisk and friendly and they are happy to make recommendations.

One of their specialties here that they recommend to everyone is their Mun Cheong chicken, a 90-day old (most market chickens are slaughtered at around 40-45 days) bird of the Wu So Kai or ‘whiskered’ chicken variety. This is steamed and served with a ginger/scallion paste. As the chicken has had sufficient time to grow, the meat is more hearty and voluptuous without descending into stringy toughness which some old birds are prone to do. At an average size of 3kg and above, the serving is huge and it’s advisable to request for half portions if the group is smaller.

Restoran Likarli 5

The homemade pumpkin tofu served with tung fun or bean thread noodles and garlic had a velvety texture and was scrumptious, as were the green peppers and black beans, the peppers still crisp on the bite with the black beans lending its smoky saltiness to the dish.Restoran Likarli 3

Venison Kway Teow or flat rice noodles was delicious, the venison well seasoned and tender, imbuing its gamey flavour to the bland white noodles and raising it to culinary heights. Similarly, the salted egg yolk added to the batter of the fried sotong or fresh squid, lifted this ubiquitous denizen of the depths to another  dimension.

Restoran Likarli 4

Restoran Lo Tian 1Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant

This is another one of my foodie friend, Ginla Chew’s peripatetic finds and considering that its so close to where I live I will be eternally grateful. Apparently, this is a coffee shop that has been open for quite some time specialising in river fish and white pomfret which is always available. As white pomfret is one of my favourite fish, I shall certainly consider making it my local ‘canteen’.

The night we went, we had the wild river fish head which came in a claypot and was absolutely mouth-watering fresh and certainly a dish I would recommend. Next came the soft shell crabs fried with salted egg yolk-crispy and umami morsels that just melt in the mouth.

Restoran Lo Tian 3

Restoran Lo Tian 4

The Dong Por Yoke or pork belly braised in dark soya sauce was wobblingly delectable albeit a tad too sweet for my palate. However, the next dish of Ikan Bilis Szechuan style made up for it with its sizzling spiciness tempered by the tofu cubes, long beans and onions.

The Salt Baked Kampung Chicken was average with the smokiness overpowering the subtle flavouring but the wonton noodles fried with chunks of roasted pork was tasty and excellent value at RM10. As was the Tom Yam Fried Rice. For a finishing touch we had fried Umeji mushrooms and pea pods or ‘mange tout’ embellished with crispy bits of dried sotong or squid. One dish that we didn’t get to try was their Hot Plate Har Gao or dumplings on a hot plate which I promised to return to sample on another day.

All in all, Lo Tian with its very friendly lady proprietor Choong Poh Foong, is one place I shall frequent.

Restoran Lo Tian 2

Restoran Likarli
44 Jalan Lapangan Siber 10, Bandar Cyber, 31350 Ipoh.
Tel:  016 529 0298
Business Hours:  noon-2.30pm; 5.30-10.30pm
GPS:  N 04° 32.528’ E 101° 06.543’

Restoran Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant
11, Jalan Raja Perempuan Mazwin, Taman Rishah, 30100 Ipoh.
Tel:  05 528 3575
Madam Choong:  012 556 6557
Business Hours:  5pm-midnight
Closed every fortnight Wednesdays
GPS:  N 04° 36.6’ E 101° 03.32’

Teochiew Restaurant-1

SeeFoon goes in search of Teochew Food


musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Call it Chaozhou, Teochew, or Teochiew as in the case of the Teochiew Restaurant on Maxwell Road but I drive past it almost daily and the name has caught my eye but like most other restaurants that my eagle foodie eye notices, I don’t dare make a move to try it until my intrepid Foodie frontrunner Ginla Chew has checked it out and decided it is worth reviewing that I venture forth, to eat, to taste and to write.

Teochiew Restaurant-2Such is the case with Restoran Teochiew. In the day, it looks nondescript enough but at night, its a bustling hive of activity as local foodies congregate to eat, drink and make merry in this restaurant with its open space next door.

As is typical, this is a fan-cooled-only space but they do lay on the red table cloths if you call to reserve a table. On the day we went, we were a group of six and my foodie friend Ginla was already there when I arrived with my two guests, one an American from Hong Kong and the other from USA.

We had come here specially for the Steamboat or Hot Pot which ‘legend’ (or what passes as legend in Ipoh, which is word of mouth) has it, is very special and very reasonably priced. This we immediately ordered and it arrived with a steaming tureen of bubbling stock and many  plates of goodies to dip into the soup.

Teochiew Restaurant-3

Unlike the usual steamboat stock one finds in other steamboat restaurants, this soup is your typical Teochiew one, with preserved mustard greens (Ham Choy), tomatoes and other unknown ingredients. I suspect this stock remains on the stove and is continuously replenished with fresh ingredients, not unlike some Hong Kong chefs who allegedly use the same superior broth that is preserved for decades (according to popular media). I wondered if this restaurant did the same thing but all attempts to get an answer was to no avail.

The ingredients that go into the tangy broth are not your usual off-the-factory-shelf ones. The standard set costing RM40 had nice fresh medium sized prawns in the shell, chicken slices, jelly fish, homemade minced pork scoops, tofu, regular fish balls and unusual meat-stuffed fishballs. These latter ones are very typically Teochiew and not easily available. The ones here were springy with the minced meat inside providing a burst of umami texture when biting into them.

Teochiew Restaurant-4Vegetables were minimal and we decided to order separately, calling for a big helping of watercress which were young and crispy. We could have re-ordered extra portions and make the hotpot our main meal but we chose to try other dishes instead and waited patiently for them to  arrive.

Other dishes came rapidly, the Keong Nga Kai or Ginger Chicken was well coated with a generous amount of ginger and had good ‘wok hei’ (pan fire), the chicken tender and juicy. Black vinegar trotters followed, not too sweet or sour and the trotter pieces cooked to the right degree of tenderness.

Mustard greens or Ham Choy came next, well married with roasted pork leg and stewed till tender. We then had the Fried Tofu, crispy morsels of soft tofu served with an interesting garlic, chilli and coriander or Chinese parsley sauce.

Teochiew Restaurant-7

The two dishes of distinction had to be the following: the Thai Style ‘Otak Otak’ which was tangy, spicy and full of flavour. Made from mixed seafood, the paste that binds it all together was irresistibly fragrant, hints of Thai basil appearing above the melange of other spices and the coconut milk lending its creaminess to the mixture.

Teochiew Restaurant-5

This was followed by pork ribs braised in a whole pumpkin, with peanuts providing texture and dried prawns lending their inimitable aroma, elevating the whole dish to new heights. The pumpkin was sweet, tender and juicy and eaten with the stuffing, I found myself in culinary heaven. Something so basic, simple home cooking raised to divine levels.

Teochiew Restaurant-1

We finished the meal with the ‘de rigueur’ noodle dish with on this evening and a specialty of the house, was the Kon Lo Meen or the dried fried noodles. This was done just right, with the usual prawns, egg, and green accompaniments; the noodles dry but well coated.

Teochiew Restaurant-6

This is one restaurant I would go back to again, a friendly place where the beer is cold, the food hot and some dishes, divine!

Suggested dishes:

  • Steamboat Set – RM40
  • Thai Style Otak Otak – RM25
  • Honey Ginger Chicken – RM12
  • Black Vinegar Pork Trotters – RM12
  • Fried Teochiew Tofu – RM8
  • Pumpkin Pork Ribs – RM26
  • Braised Mustard Greens with roasted pork – RM16

Teochiew Restaurant
10-Q Jalan Tun Abdul Razak (Maxwell Rd)
Tel: 05 506 3299
Business Hours: 10am-2.30pm and 5pm-midnight
Closed Tuesdays

Next Food Avenue-4

Next Food Avenue @ Ipoh Parade


Musings on Food

By Wern Sze Gill and VWSL


Ipoh’s Newest Food Destination

Ipoh Parade, one of Ipoh’s largest shopping mall destinations, has been undergoing a series of renovations lately, and we are pleased to reveal that one of its recently completed phases has been its brand new, swanky food court. Named the Next Food Avenue, this food destination is apparently the first in the country that has two separate food courts side by side, one with pork-free selections, while the other, non-halal dishes. The Next Avenue group, which runs a few food courts of the same concept in the Klang Valley, has successfully sourced about 30 of Ipoh’s famous foods, placing them all under one roof. Currently featuring 18 stalls in the non-halal, and 12 in the pork-free section, the manager tells us there will be more opening up in the near future.

The concept of Next Food Avenue is not quite your typical food court layout where all the stalls occupy the periphery with tables and chairs set up in the centre for patrons. Here at Next Food Avenue, you will need to walk through the food court to view all the mouth-watering options as there are more stalls to be discovered around the back, smelling and looking better than the earlier dishes! It is self-service, so you will need to pay for your food at the stall and bring the dishes yourself to your table.

The overall quality and taste of both the pork-free and non-halal options are fair, but what stands out most is that you will be spoilt for choice with the sheer variety of options available. Plus dishes are very affordably priced as the ambience and cleanliness of Next Food Avenue is a class above other local food courts.


Pork-free Food Court

The twelve pork-free stalls have enough variety to suit everyone’s palate. From soup noodles to baked cheese rice, western snack food, nasi ayam and ayam percik, rojak and traditional fare like laksa, rendang and Chinese popiah made in different ways and chee cheong fun, one is spoilt for choice.

Next Food Avenue-2

Mee Bakso (RM4), an Indonesian beef noodle soup which comes with beef balls and beef patties or beef balls and slivers of beef. Mee Bakso Gabung – RM6. Get it from ‘Aneka Sup’. The familiar Sizzling Mee from the old food court sells for RM5.50 plus 50 sen extra with an egg. A must-try is the Udon Mee (RM7.50) from ‘K Seven Delicious’.

‘Ikan Bakar Kampung’ serves ikan pari and ikan kembong baked in tin foil with ladies fingers and limau kasturi. This ‘Selera Sutera Thai’ also has Nasi Goreng Thai (RM5.80) with lovely crispy ikan bilis on the side.

Next Food Avenue-1

For western and snack food lovers, ‘KJ Fusion’ has a Jumbo Hotdog on their menu and Cheese Baked Rice with chicken/fish (RM11.90) amongst other things, while ‘Pak Tuan Meatball’ has Roti John (RM7) with meatballs in a hotdog bun.

Next Food Avenue-3

There are numerous rice dishes starting with the usual chicken rice from the ‘Nasi Ayam’ stall and also Nasi Ayam Percik (RM5.80) from ‘Ayam Percik’.

The Rendang from ‘Rendang Tok Mak Nik’ is a must-try and the Asam Laksa Taiping from ‘Taiping Delicious’.

Non-halal Food Court

You can find a variety of Ipoh’s famous dishes here such as chicken beansprouts noodle, roast duck, chicken or pork rice, popiah, chee cheong fun, yeong tau foo, and more.  There are also other specialty dishes such as Hakka cuisine, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese fare, and fusion food.

Next Food Avenue-4

Recommended to try:

Front part of the food court:

Chee Cheong Fun with mushroom sauce / plain (RM3.50), or with curry chicken (RM5.50). Additional fried yeong tau fu (from Ipoh’s famous ‘Big Tree foot’ at Jalan King) at 80 sen per piece.

Hakka Yam Abacus (RM6) from ‘Noah Hakka Food’ stall. Other traditional Hakka dishes: Hakka Lui Cha (RM5.50),  Hakka noodles (RM5.50), steam pork belly with yam or mui choy (pickled vegetables).

Next Food Avenue-6

Hot & Sour or Vinegar pig’s trotters with rice (RM7.90) and a wide selection of pork, chicken and fish dishes with rice (priced from RM5.90 to 6.90), plus various chinese soups at the first  stall on the right at the entrance.

Kampung chicken rice (RM6.00), Roasted duck rice (RM6), Roasted chicken rice (RM6), BBQ pork rice (RM7) and other roasted meat combinations from ‘Restoran B Jing’.  All worth trying.

Next Food Avenue-5

Back part of the food court:

Chicken porridge (RM5.50), Chicken with abalone porridge (RM6.50) from ‘Fa Fa Corner’

Chilli Pan Mee (RM6.80).  This is the authentic version with the poached egg, and the stall is a branch of ‘Lat-yat-lat’ which operates in Greentown Business Centre. Other signature dishes to try: Sarawak Hakka noodles (RM6.30), CEO noodles (RM6.80) and Kimchi Pan Mee (RM8.60).

It would be remiss of us not to recommend the Ipoh White Coffee (hot RM2 and cold RM2.50) – aromatic and not too sweet – a must-try. An added bonus is all prices are nett and there is no added tax.


Bricks & Barrels-2

SeeFoon Goes Gastro Bar Hopping


musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Where I used to be the doyenne of pubs and nightspots with loud music I now shun places where the decibel level is higher than 65 (the decibel level for normal speech), seeking instead, venues where quiet conversation, good food and reasonably priced drinks are the raison d’etre for going.

So when my gang of office colleagues suggested that I go bar hopping with them, I shuddered and was about to decline when one of them said, “The food is pretty good and if we go early, like after work, its not noisy”. After much cajoling, I relented and we all traipsed off to Bricks & Barrels for an early dinner.

Bricks & Barrels-2

Arriving at 6.30pm, the lights were dimmed and a few tables were already occupied mostly with drinkers. One big family of varying ages occupied almost one side of the room and it was heartening watching them tucking into platter after platter of food and relishing each bite.

Bricks & Barrels-1Our ‘small’ group of seven settled at one of the high tables with their equally high stools and proceeded with our order. Regular tables and chairs are available in the back garden but as the area was only fan cooled, we opted to stay in the air conditioned section in the front. The temperature here was comfortable enough and the piped music bearable to my ears, although the decibel level heats up considerably when the live music from Urban 7 begins at 9.30pm.

Bricks & Barrels is one of the new breed of ‘gastro’ pubs that have begun mushrooming in Ipoh. Based on the concept of an English pub and instead of serving boring pub grub as most are prone to do, gastropubs are meant to elevate pub food to gastronomic levels offering wholesome well prepared food at prices that while not cheap, nevertheless won’t make a hole in people’s pockets.

Bricks & Barrels does this well. This is a place where families can come to taste and sample western food and leave before the party crowd descends. This is when the music gets raucous and the beer and booze really start to flow.

The menu at Bricks & Barrels is quite extensive although starters are restricted to three soups, two salads and a ratatouille which is a mediterranean-style stewed mixed vegetable in a tomato base served with sourdough bread. The mushroom soup which arrived was fragrant, thick and creamy and for the small eaters at our table, more than enough for two people. A Tapas or snack menu also serves as an alternative to starters and one has a choice of a variety of small titbits to whet one’s appetite as one waits for the main courses to arrive. These range from fried lamb bits to fried calamari or squid, buffalo wings or chicken bits.

Bricks & Barrels-6

The specialty at Bricks & Barrels appear to be meat with Pork dominating the menu and starring in myriad roles. From the English Roast Pork belly to the Roasted Teriyaki Pork Loin, or the Porky Parmigiana which is pan fried, breadcrumbed pork loin, topped with cheddar and mozzarella cheese, the pork menu is extensive.

Pork also shows up in their pastas in their Porky Carbonara, with Italian Parmesan cream, portabello mushrooms and bacon; their Roast Pork Aglio Olio which is simply spaghetti tossed with virgin olive oil, garlic and topped with roasted pork belly chunks a’la our Chinese Siew Yoke, combining elements of east and west; and their Spaghetti Porky Bolognese, the perfect option for those who don’t eat beef.

And if that wasn’t porky enough, three of their pizzas feature pork from the Hawaiian Pork Pizza with bacon, pineapple, Italian mozzarella to the Roast Pork Pizza and the German Sausage Pizza. Their pizzas are thin crusted, crispy and well worth ordering. On the night we were there we ordered the Smoked Duck Pizza which I would go back for.

Bricks & Barrels-5

But the crème de la crème and the most impressive dish is their Porky Platter, a Hog’s heaven for 4-6 people consisting of 3 types of German sausages, barbecued spare ribs, roast pork and potato wedges. Two types of sauce came with the platter as did Sauerkraut (German pickled cabbage) and pickled gherkins. The spare ribs were falling off the bone tender and the roast pork with its superb crackling a real treat, not to mention the crispy potato wedges which I couldn’t resist picking at. This platter was certainly enough for the seven of us with leftovers to spare.

Bricks & Barrels-3

We then ordered the Creamy Seafood Spaghetti with a white wine parmesan sauce, squid, prawn and capelin roe. This was delectable, with generous chunks of scallop, squid, big prawns, sundried tomatoes and the white wine bringing the right smidgen of tartness to the sauce. And to my delight, the spaghetti was al dente.

Bricks & Barrels-4

Bricks & Barrels-7By this time we were groaning with surfeit but soldier on we did and ordered dessert. We only managed one as the others we wanted were out of stock. The ingredients in this dessert intrigued us and proved to be worth the effort. This Premium Vanilla ice cream was topped with olive oil, sea salt and a raspberry balsamic glaze, marrying savoury with sweet. This was a mixed marriage that worked, the sea salt and virgin olive oil bringing a hint of the Mediterranean to an otherwise bland dessert.

Of course other meat items are also on the menu with chicken, lamb and even Wagyu beef but for me I will go to Bricks & Barrels for their porky dishes.

Ladies will be pleased to know that on Tuesday nights, selected complimentary cocktails will be served and massive discounts given on other cocktails.

  • Creamy Seafood Spaghetti — RM30
  • Spaghetti Roast Pork Aglio Olio — RM24
  • Mushroom Soup — RM12
  • Soup of the Day — RM6
  • Caesar Salad (with chicken) — RM20
  • Smoked Duck Pizza — RM32
  • Roast Pork Pizza — RM29
  • Porky Parmigiana — RM23
  • Porky Platter (for 4-6 persons) — RM98
  • Tapas — From RM13-RM16

Bricks & Barrels
28-30 Jalan Lau Ek Ching, Ipoh.
Tel/Fax: +60 5-253 8558
Sun-Thu: 5pm-1pm;  Fri-Sat: 4pm-2am
GPS:  N 04° 35.919  E 101° 05.133

Jale Inn-4

SeeFoon tackles 15 dishes in one sitting


musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

By See Foon Chan- Koppen

When Dato’ Daniel Tay called, it was supposed to be a casual get-together, a relaxed meal with family, kids and friends, T-shirts and shorts being the order of the evening as the venue was a fan cooled outlet.

Relaxed it was indeed but little did I expect (nor my two friends whom I invited along), to be tucking into a total of 15 different dishes which were shared between eleven of us. Mind you, the dishes were not humongous but they just kept coming.

Jale Inn Restaurant is an unpretentious ‘Tai Chao’ restaurant on Gopeng Road, shortly after the turn-off to the Swimming Club on the way to Simpang Pulai and beyond. It is a corner shop lot with the name prominently displayed and coming from town it is hard to miss.

Jale Inn-4

Although the decor is nothing to write home about, the dishes that come steaming out of the kitchen certainly is. Usually with restaurants like these, there will be some hits and some misses and while I usually only recommend the hits, I will sometimes comment on the misses for being too sweet or too sour, etc. But in the case of this Tai Chao restaurant, every single one of the dishes that I tried were hits!

We began with a steamed Tilapia (Kam Fong) smothered in a chilli bean sauce, the flesh smooth and soft and the sauce with just the right balance of flavours. As we were so many at the two tables (we were passing dishes back and forth) we ordered another fish which was the catfish or Pak So Kung which came redolent with ginger cooked in a claypot. The catfish was extremely fresh with none of the muddy taste that sometimes come with this fish.

For the fishermen amongst my readers out there, it is useful to note that they will also steam any fish that you bring along and charge RM16 per fish and up, depending on the size. So if you happen to catch a fancy sea or river fish, this is a good place to bring it to as their steaming techniques and recipes are good.

We then had the Claypot Lamb which was robust in a thick dark sauce oozing with the fragrance of ginger. This was followed by the Baby Romaine lettuce with salted whitebait or Ngan Yu Tsai, the greens still crisp to the bite.

Other dishes then came in quick succession. The Tse Tsap Pai Kwat, soya sauce spare ribs were tender while the vinegared Pig’s Trotters were succulent, juicy with the right balance of vinegar and sugar. Fried Sotong or Squid chunks were crispy on the outside, fresh and tender inside.

Jale Inn is famous for their frogs and we ordered two styles of preparation, one with dried chilli and the other steamed with essence of chicken and wine. Each preparation had its own inherent goodness and the frog legs were very fresh, velvety smooth on the palate and worth going back for more.

Jale Inn-2We also ordered another dish of Sek Pan or Garoupa Fish Head cut in chunks and steamed with a thick black bean sauce, the fish pieces extremely fresh and the sauce was robust and tangy.

Jale Inn-5

Home cooking Chinese style was represented by the next dish, the steamed minced pork with salted fish, one of my favourite comfort foods. The one at Jale Inn was perfect, the pork well marinated with the salted fish aroma permeating the whole dish.

Jale Inn-1

Fried kangkong or convolvulus fried with sambal belacan arrived piping hot and full of ‘wok hei’ a Chinese accolade for dishes that have been well fried in high enough heat, retaining the goodness of the greens and melding the rest of the ingredients in a fragrant melange. So were the Fried French beans with onions and minced pork, the beans still crisp on the bite and the minced pork lending its umami presence to the beans.

Jale Inn-6

It certainly was a fishy evening for another fish dish arrived, this time the fried Black Pomfret topped with preserved mustard greens. The black pomfret which lends itself to frying or spicy sauces was fresh and the mustard greens with its sauce provided the perfect touch of salty and tart notes to set off the fish.

Jale Inn-3

As each dish only allowed for one morsel for each person to taste, we continued with our feasting, this time moving on to the rice and noodles, ordering three different dishes. The first of these was the Mee Goreng, with a distinctive Indian flavour but embellished with fried soft tofu instead of the harder one found in the Indian version. This was spicy with good wok hei but it was  the Fried Rice that won the evening, delectable in taste and texture, each grain of rice separate and not too oily.

Jale Inn-7

Suggested Dishes:

  • Steamed Tilapia with Bean Paste (by weight) – RM35.60
  • Ginger Claypot Catfish – RM35
  • Claypot Lamb – RM12
  • Frog Legs Kung Po – RM28
  • Frog Legs Chicken Essence and Wine – M35
  • Vinegared Pig’s Trotters – RM12
  • Fried Kangkong with sambal belacan – RM6
  • French Beans with minced pork – RM8
  • Spare Ribs any style – RM12
  • Black Pomfret with mustard greens – RM28
  • Garoupa Fish Head with black bean sauce (seasonal) – RM30
  • Baby Romaine lettuce with whitebait – RM7
  • Steamed minced pork with salted fish – RM12
  • Fried Rice – RM8
  • All Noodles per one person portion – RM4.50


Jale Inn
150 Jalan Gopeng, Ipoh.
Tel: 05-312 1398 or 019-557 2080
GPS: E 101 39.7” N 4 34’ 27.9”
Open: 6.30pm-2am; Closed 2 days a month.


Wu So Peng-3

SeeFoon finds yet another ‘Tai Chao’ Gem in the heart of town


musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

They say that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and in my case, I am blessed to have found my ‘flock’. My group of Foodie friends are always the first to try out a new restaurant or in many instances discover little gems that often we walk or drive past without even a second glance.

Wu So Peng is a case in point. Discovered by my peripatetic foodie ‘scout’ Ginla Chew, this is another of the Tai Chao (meaning ‘Big Fry-Up’) restaurants with unprepossessing exterior but harbouring big ambitions in the kitchen. It even has a fancy printed menu featuring close to 200 dishes.

But menus aside, we all know that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, so a group of us traipsed off to give the restaurant a try. For a start I have to give the proprietors full kudos for being innovative. The restaurant is not air-conditioned but they did go to the trouble of setting up a cooling water drip system on their canopy to help relieve some of our extreme heat. There are ample tables with loads of space in between, not squashed in as some smaller restaurants tend to be.

Looking at their extensive menu, we decided to leave it up to them to bring their signature dishes one by one to the table. And bring it one by one by one by one they did – to a total of 13 dishes in all!

We tucked in first to the Sayur Paku (jungle fern) fried in sambal belacan and dried prawns. This had good wok hei or wok aroma and had a nice bite to it, the dried prawns providing a slight crunchy texture to the crisp Sayur Paku. Everyone was offered a bowl of the Lai Tong or soup of the day which, on the day we went, was a brown marrow or Lo Wong Kwa, umami and clear.

Other dishes came in quick succession, a Claypot Catfish fried dry in soya sauce, with scallions and garlic; Eggplant with minced meat which was delectable although a tad too oily; Tong Poh Yoke or pork belly braised in dark soya sauce was tender; Wu So Kai or whiskered chicken smothered in ginger paste and scallions; Marmite Chicken which was too sweet for my palate but others loved it and Sweet Sour Pork Ribs which were done just right – neither too sweet nor sour and the ribs tender inside.

Wu So Peng-4

The Pork Knuckle came next, a generously sized knuckle deep fried to a crisp, and almost falling off the bone. This was served with two different sauces, a Thai style sweet and sour with cucumber and onions almost raw and the other a dried Wai San, Gei Ji or Chinese Yam and Goji Berries sauce that was dark, robust and very umami. This was a delectable treat, the skin crispy, the meat tender and the gelatinous bits from tendons and some fat alleviating any tendency to dryness of the whole knuckle.

Wu So Peng-5

Next came the Asam Fish Head, cut into pieces, cooked with ladies fingers (okra), tomatoes, long beans and onions. This was tangy, not overly sweetened, the tamarind sauce with just the right note of acidity and the fish head pieces very fresh.

Wu So Peng-3

This was followed by a dish of pig’s Fallopian Tubes or Sang Cheong fried with dried prawns, scallions, garlic and oodles of my favourite Chu Yau Tsar (crispy chunks of rendered lard). I love offal and this came at the end which was a pity as I could have eaten more, the whole dish being so satisfying and appealing to my taste buds with the fallopian tubes rubbery (its an acquired taste), the rendered lard crispy, and the rest of the condiments and garnishes serving up a cornucopia of taste and textures.

Wu So Peng-1

By this time we were a group of very satiated diners but ever the inquisitive foodie, I needed a taste of something ‘Tsing’ (clear or pure in the sense of food) and promptly ordered a congee with frog’s legs and minced pork. We had to wait 15 minutes for it as it was done a’la minute but it was well worth it. The congee was delectably umami, the frog’s legs tender and succulent and the minced pork lending its flavour to the broth which we all slurped up with alacrity.

Wu So Peng-2

We promised ourselves to return on another occasion to check out their noodle and rice dishes as well as their specialty steamed fish which was listed with seasonal prices on the menu as were their crab and prawn dishes. This time we were happy to stick to the home-style dishes.

Wu So Peng-6

  • Sayur Paku (small) – RM6
  • Lai Tong (soup of the day) – free
  • Claypot Catfish – RM38 per kg
  • Eggplant (small) – RM7
  • Wu So Kai or whiskered chicken (half a chicken) – RM25
  • Marmite Chicken (small) – RM12
  • Shanghai (Sweet Sour) Pork Ribs (small) – RM12
  • Deep-Fried Pork Knuckle – RM40
  • Asam Fish Head (small) – 20
  • Fallopian Tubes or Sang Cheong (small) – RM10
  • Frog’s legs – RM30 per kg

Kedai Makanan Laut Wu So Peng
7 & 7A Plaza Kinta, Jalan Dato’ Tahwil Azar
Tel: Ah Choy 012-559 7840, Shop: 05-255 8840
Hours: 11am-10.30pm
GPS: N 04° 35.515; E 101° 05.019
Closed 2 days a month Wed/Thurs.




By Margarita Lee

Kimchi (ML)

Ingredients (A):

  • 1 head Chinese cabbage, sliced into 2” lengths
  • 8 cups Water
  • 1 cup Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch Spring Onions, sliced into 2” lengths

Stock (B):

  • 20 dried Anchovies
  • 2 cups Water

Kimchi Paste (C):

  • ½ Onion, diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic
  • 1” small piece of Ginger, diced
  • 1 cup Cooked Rice
  • ½ Sweet Pear, peeled and diced
  • ⅔ cup Korean Chilli Flakes
  • 3 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Korean Salted Shrimp or Cincalok
  • 3 tbsp Sugar


  1. Dissolve the coarse sea salt with the water in a large bowl. Add in the cabbage slices and toss to mix. Press top so the liquid will seep through the cabbage.
  2. Leave cabbage in mixture for minimum 1 hour or until leaves have wilted. Toss the cabbage to ensure even distribution. Leave for another hour.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the anchovies with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil and simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. Remove cabbage from the solution and rinse thoroughly with running water. Drain well. Use paper towels to dry if necessary.
  5. For the Paste: blend the onion, garlic, ginger, pear and rice until smooth. Add the anchovy stock and pulse blender till well combined.
  6. Transfer paste into a medium mixing bowl and add the rest of ingredients (C). Leave for at least 10 mins so that the chilli flakes will absorb the moisture. Do not wash your blender!
  7. In a large airtight container, combine well-drained cabbage, spring onion, and leek or onion. Add two-thirds of kimchi paste and combine well. Add the remainder paste for additional colour and to your taste.
  8. Add salt to taste. Do not be concerned if it is a little saltier than expected. This helps with the fermentation process.
  9. Pour half cup of water into your blending container and mix in remainder paste. Pour over your vegetables.
  10. Let it sit at room temperature for 1 day to begin the fermentation process, then refrigerate and consume within the next 1 to 2 months.

Beacon Point 2

Seefoon checks out a family restaurant


musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

When a restaurant has been around for 18 years, and still going strong, I reckon that they’ve got the formula right and chances are, they’ll still be around for the next 18. This is certainly the case with Beacon Point, a cheerful, bright café whose menu has stood the test of time and faithful diners will come for their individual favourites choosing from quite an extensive menu of snacks and main courses.

Beacon Point 2

What most people come for though is their large selection of scrumptious cakes, with cheesecake being the number one favourite. And then there are their other specialties.

My particular delight is their Fried Nasi Ulam or Herbal Rice, a delectable portion of rice mixed with finely sliced mixed herbs, redolent with ginger flower or bunga kantan and serai or lemon grass, and served with sliced purple onions and one of the best sambal belacan sauces I’ve ever had. It is this sambal belacan that elevates the Nasi Ulam to new heights and after demolishing the first plate with alacrity, I had to request for a refill which they obligingly supplied.

Beacon Point 1

Another signature dish of the house is their Laksa Lemak, an interesting fusion of the Asam Laksa which uses condiments like raw sliced onions and cucumber and using the same type of thick rice noodles called Lai Fun except that in this instance it contains coconut milk and tuna fish.

Their Chicken Pie which runs out pretty fast (it was down to the last one on my last visit and we had to quickly reserve it) has a lovely flaky crust and they are generous with the filling of chicken, potatoes and carrots which was savoury and succulent. We shared one chicken pie between the four of us which left us craving for more but it was the last pie!

Beacon Point 5

We ordered the Chicken in a Basket next which arrived piping hot, crispy and crunchy and served on a bed of French fries. Unlike many a fried chicken which can end up dry and leathery, this chicken was good to the last bite.Beacon Point 4

By this time, the desserts were beckoning to us. Sitting in their refrigerated glass display, the choice was impressive. We had a choice between Butter Rum Cheesecake; sinfully nice 3-Layer Chocolate Cake; Irish Coffee Cheesecake; Coffee Marble Cheesecake; Blueberry Cheesecake; Brownies with single scoop ice-cream; Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake; the choice was a difficult one.

We settled for one slice of the Carrot Walnut and the Chocolate Moist cake. The Carrot Walnut was moist and not too sweet, holding together well on the fork, releasing its subtle flavours on the tongue, textured by the crunch of the occasional walnut; while the Chocolate Cake could have done with more melted chocolate, but was nevertheless a good choice for the chocoholic at our table.

Beacon Point 3

Beacon Point has specials which change every day and after 3pm a larger Western menu featuring items like Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce, Chicken Maryland, Chicken Spaghetti Bolognaise and on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Roast Beef with a choice of three different sauces feature on their menu.

The drinks menu is equally extensive featuring ice blended drinks, milkshakes, floats and fruit juices. No wonder that Beacon Point is known as ‘Your Family Restaurant’.

  • Fried Nasi Ulam or Herbal Rice – RM8.20
  • Laksa Lemak – RM9.30
  • Chicken Pie – RM5.90
  • Chicken in a Basket – RM9.90
  • Butter Rum Cheesecake – RM6.80
  • 3-Layer Chocolate Cake – RM6.80
  • Irish Coffee Cheesecake – RM6.50
  • Coffee Marble Cheesecake – RM6.20
  • Blueberry Cheesecake – RM6.20
  • Brownies with single scoop ice-cream – RM7.90
  • Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake – RM6.20
  • Carrot Walnut and Chocolate Moist Cake – RM6.20 each
  • Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce – RM14.90
  • Chicken Maryland – RM15.40
  • Chicken Spaghetti Bolognaise – RM12.90
  • Roast Beef with a choice of three different sauces feature on their menu – RM16.90
  • (every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday)

Beacon Point
41 Lintasan Perajurit 6, Taman Perak, 31400 Ipoh
Tel: 05-546 9916
Business Hours: Mon-Thurs: 9.30am-6pm, Fri-Sat: 9.30am-10.15pm, Closed Sundays
GPS:  4° 36.871’N, 101° 7.587’E

Traditional Malay Food @ Medan Selera Stadium


Hawker Food

By Wern Sze Gill

A good place to sample all things Malay plus some good old fashioned ‘masakan kampung’ (village cooking), is the Medan Selera Stadium, located adjacent to the Perak Football Stadium in Ipoh Garden. The stretch of Malay and halal food stalls start from Stall No.49 right up to No.70.

Aneka Selera Perak Stadium 3

The food here ranges from breakfast selections such as nasi lemak, nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, lontong and roti canai, up to a variety of ‘nasi campur’ (rice and dishes) selections and fried noodles offered during lunch hour. The stalls selling rice dishes operate on a self serve method, where you pay the proprietor upon selecting the dishes. Prices therefore, vary depending on the dishes taken.

Below is a list of some of the stalls and the various dishes to sample:

Stall #51 Wak Nasi Lemak
A nasi lemak stall which also sells ayam bakar wrapped in pandan leaves.

Stall #54 Fuad Roti Canai
A ‘kopitiam’ themed roti canai stall that also offers nasi lemak. Dishes for the nasi lemak are on the sweet side.

Stall #58
Fried Koay Teow – RM3.50, Mee Bandung – RM5.50, Mee Lakna – RM5.50. Uses very large prawns for Mee Bandung and Lakna.

Stall #59 Sudut Selera (morning)
Nasi Kerabu – RM3.50, Nasi Dagang with gulai ikan – RM4.

Nasi Lemak – RM1.20 for pre-packed takeaway version, or RM2 and above for own ‘self-serve’ version.

Stall #60/61 Cahaya Fatehah
Nasi Campur (curry fish head, sambal and vegetables) – RM8.50.

Stall # 62/63 Sri Puteri
Nasi Campur (chicken drumstick, vegetables, gulai lamak pisang, sambal) – RM5.50
Nasi Lemak (morning) – RM2.00 (ikan bilis), RM3.20 (squid,egg and ikan bilis)
Lontong (morning) – RM3.50, charges 30 sen more for takeaway (more gravy and nasi impit).

Stall #64 Pak Tam Place
Bihun Sup Utara (with chicken) – RM3.50
Also has nice fried Koay Teow and other types of noodles – from RM4.