Category Archives: FOOD

World Famous Ipoh Food

SeeFoon goes South Indian by day and North by night

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musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

It is interesting as well as unusual to find a restaurant that combines both the more aristocratic North Indian Moghul style cuisine with the robust and fiery South Indian banana leaf variety. While the southern style relies more on coconut milk and rice and is more spicy, the northern staple is more wheat based and utilises yoghurt to temper the heat from spices. It is also milder.

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria-2At the Andersonians’ Club and Cafeteria, one will have to make two trips to sample both types of cuisine as it serves South Indian at lunch and North Indian mughlai food in the evening.

This club cafeteria has been around for many years with the current catering having changed hands 16 years ago. Under the able management of Karthar Singh, the restaurant has garnered a following of loyal supporters who enjoy the choice of cuisines, coming both for lunch and dinner for a change in textures and flavours.

Lunch is buffet style with one going to the counter and selecting the food which is then presented at your table in portions while dinner is à la carte. For lunch, as is usual with the banana leaf style of service, rice is served on your banana leaf with a choice of 3 vegetables and a dhal curry. These come in pails which are heaped on to the banana leaf in whatever quantities you wish for and top-ups are also included as part of the meal. For vegetarians, this is an economical meal for RM5 per person, with Rasam (a sour clear soup with herbs and spices) thrown in for free.

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria-5

The lunch buffet has a wide selection of items. The Mutton Curry was tender, medium spicy with well blended flavours. The Dry Chicken was spicier with a more robust coating. There is a choice of cutlets made from fish or chicken. I opted for the fish which turned out to be spicy and very tasty. The fish curry was mild, with a smooth creamy sauce and the cauliflower and potato dry curry rounded out the meal nicely. Our total meal for two came to RM23 which was a very satisfying meal indeed.

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria-7

For dinner, a printed menu is available from which to choose. There is the classic Tandoori Chicken, marinated with exotic herbs, spices and yoghurt and grilled in a clay oven. Our portion which was the entire thigh and drumstick, was grilled to perfection, slightly charred on the edges, marinated just right, and still succulent inside.

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria-1

We had a Mutton Vindaloo which was delicately spiced and cooked with potatoes. The mutton was tender with a very dry gravy, the potatoes providing a slight thickening. A dish worth noting is the Fish Methi, pieces of boneless fish cooked in a thick sauce with methi or fenugreek leaves, a powerful herb containing many minerals and vitamins. The blend of spices in the sauce was robust and most appetising.

The back of the menu had a list of Chef’s specials and I was recommended the Sizzling Tandoori Chicken, which arrived as its name implies, on a sizzling platter, smothered with a sauce which I found too sweet to my taste but which went down very well with my guest – RM12. I also noted on the same specials listing, Fish Head curry which is priced at RM25-30.

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria-3

To accompany our meat dishes, I ordered the Brinjal or Eggplant Masala, prepared with onions in a spicy sauce. This was delicious, the eggplant with a perfect ‘squishiness’ and  great with the Cheese Garlic Naan which was a large serving-plate-sized oven baked bread topped with the aforementioned ingredients. To temper the spiciness of all the various dishes, Raita, a yoghurt ‘salad’ of finely-chopped raw vegetables mixed in yoghurt completed the feast.

Lunch:

Vegetarian Banana Leaf Meal: a choice of
3 vegetables and dhal – RM5
Mutton Curry
Dry Chicken – RM4
Fish Cutlet – RM2
Chicken Cutlet – RM2
Fish Curry – RM4

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria-4

Dinner:

Tandoori Chicken – RM8 per portion
Mutton Vindaloo – RM9
Fish Methi – RM8
Sizzling Tandoori Chicken – RM12
Eggplant Masala – RM6
Cheese Garlic Naan – RM5
Raita (chopped vegetables in yoghurt) – RM4

 

Old Andersonian Club and Cafeteria
932 Jalan Hospital
Tel: 05-241 1615 or 012-501 7377
Business Hours: 11am-3pm & 6pm-10.30pm, closed every 2nd Monday
GPS:  4° 36.244’N, 101° 5.240’E

Taiwanese Beef Noodles

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Recipe

By Margarita Lee

Taiwanese Beef Noodles

Ingredients (A):

  • 400g Yellow Noodles
  • 1.5kg Beef Shank
  • 2 large Onions (sliced thinly)
  • 6 Ginger slices
  • 1 bulb Garlic
  • 4 Tomatoes (cut into wedges)

Seasoning (B):

  • 2 tbsp Soya Bean Paste
  • 1 tbsp Chili Paste
  • 1 cup Soya Sauce
  • 4 whole Star Anise
  • ½ tbsp Rice Wine
  • 3-4 pieces Rock Sugar
  • 1 tsp Five Spice Powder
  • 6 pcs Cloves
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Red Peppercorns
  • 3L Water

Garnishing:

  • 300g Salted Green Mustards – cut thinly
  • 3 pieces Red Chilli – cut thinly
  • 3 pieces Scallions – cut thinly

Method:

  1. In a large stockpot, cover the beef shanks with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately drain the water and set the beef aside. (This step helps remove impurities to make a clear soup.)
  2. Add the parboiled beef, all the ingredients (A) and seasoning (B) in a large pot. Boil on high heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to low heat, and simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until the beef is tender. Turn off the heat. Let meat sit in the broth for another hour.
  4. Remove the beef to a cutting board. Pour the stock through a basket sieve into another pot. Discard the fat and vegetable solids. Slice the beef and return to the stock. Skim the fat from the surface, and return the soup to boil.
  5. To serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the noodles for 2 minutes. Dish out.
  6. Divide noodles into bowls. Ladle the beef and hot broth into the bowls. Garnish with cut salted green mustard, chilli, scallions and serve hot.

SeeFoon does a ‘Steak’ Out in Greentown

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musings on food - food reviews3Musings on Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Maria’s is a long established restaurant in Greentown and has garnered a following and a reputation for being one of the best steakhouses in Ipoh.

One has a choice of sitting outside on the pavement and watch the world go by or inside in cool comfort where the steak aficionados come. Here you can mull over the signboard that lists the various types of steak available. And there is a tempting choice available too, one to suit most palates and pockets.

One can order a chilled Australian Ribeye Steak (about 200g) for RM48 or pay more for the Angus at RM44 per 100g. Then the tastier selections come in (not that Angus is not tasty but there is a difference) and with it the price. Wagyu Beef (an Australian version of the Japanese Kobe) comes in 3 grades, 5, 7 and 9 with incremental prices per 100g as the numbers go up (see prices below). Of course at the top of the list is the quintessential steak, the Kobe and here at Maria’s it’s a grade number 6.

Maria showed me the Kobe Steak before whisking it away to be grilled and it was pink and completely well marbled. This is one time to throw caution to the wind and forget about clogged arteries and cholesterol, I said to myself. And what a treat it was and am I glad I decided to indulge.

Marie's Restaurant & Cafe 4

The Kobe Steak weighing in at around 200g arrived on the table with simple steamed vegetables, carrots, broccoli and pan-fried potatoes. Maria recommends in the menu itself not to have sauces with the steak but of course will comply and provide on request. Also she recommends eating the steak either medium rare and best rare. Well my steak was a trip to paradise. Served rare, I could almost cut it with a fork, being so tender. The meat was succulent, fragrant  and the mouth feel, velvety smooth.

To be fair, I was so carried away by my Kobe Steak, that I forgot to mention that Maria’s is not ONLY a steakhouse. They do have an extensive menu that includes the usual pastas, soups, lamb, chicken and fish dishes. The pies at Maria’s are particularly well known and popular, all homemade by self taught chef Maria Tan. I particularly like her Beef Pies which are juicy inside, with a crust that is crumbly and flaky at the same time.

Marie's Restaurant & Cafe 3

We started with an Oxtail Soup, thick and robust with two pieces of oxtail whose meat fell from the bone effortlessly. This was served with a slice of garlic bread and followed with a Caesar Salad, creamy dressing with chopped walnuts, beef bacon bits and croutons.

The fish dish came next, a Grilled Salmon Steak topped with Bonito flakes (dried skipjack tuna) and served with an interesting citrus sauce of orange, soya and zest. Unusual flavours.

 Marie's Restaurant & Cafe 1

The finale came with the Tiramisu, this one with strong hints of brandy and Tia Maria liqueur smothering the sponge finger base and infusing the mascarpone cheese filling with its fragrance. Chocolate shavings sprinkled on top finished the presentation which was wolfed down in a jiffy. I almost regretted agreeing to share one portion between two people.

Marie's Restaurant & Cafe 6

All in all, Maria’s is a well-rounded restaurant that is strong on steaks but non beef eaters will also get a good meal and those with belly room left over can look forward to the choice of desserts and cakes that Maria’s is famous for.

Beef Steaks:
Kobe                           RM185 per 100g
Wagyu # 9                 RM115 per 100g
Wagyu # 7                 RM85  per 100g
Wagyu # 5                 RM70 per 100g
Angus                         RM44 per 100g
Oxtail Soup               RM 19.50
Caesar Salad             RM14.00
Seafood Spaghetti   RM 23.50
Salmon                      RM38.00
Tiramisu                    RM13.50

Marie's Restaurant & Cafe 2

Maria’s Restaurant and Cafe (Pork Free)
60 Persiaran Greentown 1
Pusat Perdagangan Greentown, 30450 Ipoh
Tel: 05-242 4233
Business Hours: 4pm-11.30pm daily.   GPS:  4º 36.942’N, 101º 7.365’E

 

 

Woolley Food City Ipoh Garden

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Hawker Food

The Woolley Food City has been around a good many years and may be one of the first ‘modern’ food courts, which is ubiquitous nowadays. The concept of having one main stall supplying drinks was unheard of before. Surprisingly, a lot of people get Woolley mixed up with Aneka Selera (Glutton’s Square) which is just next to it. Woolley operates mainly for breakfast and lunch and most stalls close by 6pm and they don’t have fixed days for closing. With more than 15 stalls there’s something for everyone.

Woolley Food City

Things to try:

  • Sabah Pandan Rice sells rice and curry from RM4 onwards and on weekends they have pandan and wong keong (yellow kunyit) rice.
  • Ban Mee at RM4 and there is also Hor Hee
  • For fusion fare try the Fried Udon with prawns & Italian herbs (RM6.50) at Everfresh Fried Rice. There is also the Broccoli Salad with mayonnaise dressing at RM7.90
  • Tick Ke Prawn Mee Curry Mee – RM5.50 also has Prawn Mee at RM4
  • Bak Kut Tea (Teh) – RM9
  • If you like the sweet taste of lap cheong in Claypot Rice – RM5.80
  • Penang Banana Leaf Fried Koay Tiao with prawns, cockles and egg sells at RM4

Others include: Economy Rice with more than 30 varieties and Teochew Porridge, Beef Noodles and Chicken Soup Noodles, Saba Bento, Chee Cheong Fun, Rojak/Sotong Kangkong, Fong Kitchen, Pork Noodles, Happy Delicious Salted Chicken, and the Food Network selling pau and salted egg custard.

VWSL

Kimchi Fried Rice

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Recipe

By Margarita Lee

Margarita Lee's recipeIngredients:

  • 2 cups cold White Rice
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • 2 large Eggs – lightly beaten with salt and pepper
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely minced
  • ½ small Onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup Kimchi (Korean spicy pickled cabbage), cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp Mirin (sweet rice wine) – optional
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • ½ tsp Pepper
  • 1 stalk Spring Onion, cut finely
  • ½ Chili, cut thinly
  • 3-4 tbsp Cooking Oil

Method:

  1. Heat wok or frying pan and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. Stir briskly until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry. Remove the eggs and clean out the pan.
  2. Heat oil in a wok, sauté garlic and onion until aromatic. Add in Kimchi, fish sauce, Mirin and stir quickly before adding rice. Stir well to combine.
  3. When the rice is heated through, add the scrambled egg back into the pan. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add in pepper and sesame oil. Garnish with spring onion and cut chilies. Serve hot.

 

 

SeeFoon seeks out seafood at its most extravagant

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musings on food - food reviewsMusings on Food

 By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

There is a general belief amongst foodies that the best seafood restaurants are situated by the sea. Being the lazy diner that I am, I seldom venture out on long trips whether its to Pantai Remis or Tanjung Tualang or Matang. So whenever the urge for fresh seafood comes on, I head for Lucky’s right in the heart of town.

Lucky Restaurant is a veritable shrine for seafood lovers looking for the biggest, the rarest, and the freshest seafood and fish and willing to pay the high prices that some of these dishes fetch.

To be fair, not everything at Lucky’s is expensive. Lucky’s also has the best prawn wonton in Ipoh which one can eat with a plate of noodles and feel satisfied that one has had a good lunch and not have to mortgage the house to enjoy it. Or their heavenly, springy, homemade fish balls which Lucky Cheong swears is made from pure fish meat, a mix of saito (wolf herring) and tao foo yu (Yellowback fusilier) with no other additives other than salt and water. And there is always a fried fish to nibble on while waiting for the other dishes to arrive — RM1.50 per piece; not to mention their double-fried roast pork whose crackling is rendered more crispy by the frying. But these are all merely appetizers for the fans who flock to Lucky’s and who come for his specialties.

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 5

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 7

Lucky Cheong always has some special fish up his sleeves. Whether it’s the giant grouper or loong dan which is prized for its thick, velvety smooth gelatinous skin; or the parrot fish; or his specialty (depending on availability) the tao dai (large white pomfret, seasonal price), Lucky has a choice of 8 preparation styles from which to choose according to customer’s taste and inclination.

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 6

His signature dishes are many. My particular favourite is his Fish Noodle Soup which comes sizzling hot in a claypot. These are thick filaments made from fish meat that resemble Japanese Udon in looks but are completely different in taste. Because they’re made from pure fish meat, the ‘noodles’ are springy on the bite and also serve to lend its umami flavouring to the soup which usually comes with Tientsin cabbage, and a choice of any other fish that one may order with it. Occasionally I have had these fish noodles with whole fresh lobster (sold at RM130 per kg) which makes it a dish precious for every bite and every drop of soup.

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 3

What is very popular here at Lucky’s is their Crab Congee, a steaming tureen of rice congee where the rice has been boiled down to a thin gruel and flavoured by the crab with its red roe, permeating the dish. This can also be ordered with their large prawns for those who are not fond of crabs.

And while on the subject of congee, their crème de la crème has to be their ‘Fairy’ Congee or in Cantonese, the Sun Seen Rice Porridge, the same umami congee enhanced with shark fin, abalone, scallops and crab meat.

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 2

Finally a write up on Lucky is not complete without a mention of their Braised Prawn Noodle, Sang Meen the al dente egg noodles which Lucky Cheong tells me are made specially for his restaurant with duck eggs, braised in a velvety smooth sauce thickened with egg white.

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 4

It’s always good to have a chat with Lucky himself before you order as he always has a special or two of the day to recommend. These are usually highly innovative concoctions which Lucky himself dishes out.

His teas are also worth sampling as Lucky is quite the tea connoisseur, the shelves on one side of the restaurant being lined with boxes and patties of Chinese tea, some aged and apparently highly coveted by tea aficionados.

Suggested Dishes:
Prawn Wontons – RM0.50 each
Fish Balls – RM1.10 each
Giant Grouper or Loong Dan – RM110 per kg
Parrot Fish – RM40 per kg
Tao Dai (large white pomfret) – seasonal price
Fish Noodle Soup – RM3 per person or RM11 minimum for the basic dish
Crab Congee – crabs at RM70 per kg
‘Fairy’ Congee or Sun Seen Rice Porridge – RM150 for 6 persons
Braised Prawn Noodle or Sang Meen – large prawns or Meng Har at RM80 per kg

Musings - Restoran Lucky - 1

Restoran Lucky
266 Jalan Pasir Puteh, Pasir Puteh.
Tel.: 05-255 7330, 012-501 6630, 012-510 6279
Business Hours: 7.30 am-3.30 pm
Closed 1st and 3rd Wednesdays
GPS:  4° 34.802’N, 101° 4.913’E

Tong Sui Kai Night Stalls

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Hawker Food

By Wern Sze Gill

Tong Sui Kai

Tong Sui Kai Night Stalls
Row of street stalls next to Sam Tet School
Jalan Gereja, Off Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, Ipoh.

Known popularly as “Tong Sui Kai” (desserts street) in Ipoh, this row of about 50 night stalls sell not only desserts, but a variety of hawker foods to meet everyone’s gastronomical preference. You can choose to sit close to your favourite stalls, although in general, most stalls will bring their dishes to you wherever you may be seated along the row. Tong Sui Kai is a fabulous one-stop dinner or supper destination especially if you are looking for variety, and some good old fashion tong sui to finish off your meal.

Here are some popular stalls:

Stall No. 18 Porridge stall with choice of mix pork innards (chee chap chuk), frog legs, fish or chicken. RM3.80 and above.

Stall No. 20Bakuteh Ipoh-style. Nice, strong herbal flavour to the soup. RM8.50.

Stall No. 21 –  A popular Tong Sui stall selling ice kacang with ice cream, nyonya kuih and a variety of dessert soups with options of sweet potato, sago, black bean, red bean, black sesame dessert and bubur cha cha.

Stall No. 25Kway Teow Mee stall selling kway teow soup noodles and authentic claypot noodles. RM4 and above.

Stall No. 32Fried Kway Teow and other noodles.  RM5 for a plate with egg, cockles and prawns.

Stall No. 40Chee Cheong Fun. Curry or mushroom sauce options with a variety of liew or yeong tau foo to choose from.  RM3 and above.

Stall No. 41 – Another popular Tong Sui stall.  Must-try dessert is their extra large mixed fruit and ice-cream served on shaved ice with rose syrup and milk. RM5 per bowl.

Stall No. 42 Pangkor Curry Noodles stall.  Curry noodles with long beans, large sized cockles, pork meat and skin. RM4.70 per bowl.

Stall No. 44Wonton Noodle stall.  Uses pork lardons in the preparation of the noodles. RM3/ RM3.70 (with char siew).

Stall No. 47 – Famous sisters’ Beef Noodles.  Well known for their springy beef balls and smooth kway teow noodles served in a tasty light broth.

Stalls No. 50-53 – A group of Malay stalls selling pasembor rojak, mee goreng, nasi lemak and drinks.  Situated nearest to the main road, Jalan Sultan Idris Shah.

Fried Chicken Wings with Salted Egg

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Recipe

By Margarita Lee

 Fried Chicken Wings with Salted Egg

Ingredients A:

  • 12 Chicken Wings
  • ½ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp White Pepper
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Oil for frying

Ingredients B:

  • 2 Salted Egg Yolks (keep the whites to use as a coating)
  • 2 Chili Padi
  • 3 sprigs Curry Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Evaporated Milk
  • ½ tbsp Sugar (optional)

Method:

  1. Marinate chicken wings with salt and pepper for minimum 2 hours.
  2. Dip the chicken with the salted egg whites and then coat with the All Purpose Flour.
  3. Heat oil in a wok, deep fry the well-coated chicken wings until cooked. Dish out, drain oil with paper towel. Keep aside for later use.
  4. Steam salted egg yolks for 3-4 minutes. Remove and break egg yolks with a fork.
  5. Melt butter in a wok, sauté curry leaves and chili padi until aromatic. Add salted egg yolks and keep stirring until mixture turns foamy.
  6. Add in evaporated milk, sugar and chicken wings. Stir fry briskly to mix.
  7. Serve hot immediately.

SeeFoon revisits an old favourite

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musings on food - food reviewsMusings 0n Food

By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Yum Yum was one of the first restaurants I was introduced to when I first arrived in Ipoh 17 years ago. I became an instant fan, for nowhere had I tasted such an interesting blend of Nyonya, Thai flavours with Chinese influences thrown in. Essentially the style of cooking is Peranakan and over the years, embellished by the creativity of the chef.

A meal at Yum Yum is incomplete without the Asam Fish Head which arrives usually as half a head, absolutely fresh from the market, swimming in a delightfully colourful soup/gravy punctuated by chunks of ladies fingers and tomatoes. The sauce is robust, acidified by asam or tamarind which gives it its eponymous name, tangy without being fiery, well seasoned and umami.

Yum Yum - 4

I am a creature of habit and will tend to order my favourite dishes whenever I go there. Aside from the Asam Fish Head, the must-haves for me include the Asam Petai Sambal Prawns, again that ubiquitous ingredient, asam or tamarind blended with belacan or shrimp paste, shallots and chilli and sautéed with a mixture of petai and prawns. Petai has earned its nickname ‘stink bean’ because its strong smell is very pervasive. However, it is touted to be very good for health and many locals love it.

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Another dish here that I invariably order, especially if I have friends from overseas, is their Pandan Chicken, well marinated morsels of chicken, wrapped in coconut leaves and deep fried. These tasty titbits are great as appetizers.

Yum Yum - 5

One dish that appears innocuously simple, the fried eggs topped with minced meat, for some reason of kitchen wizardry, never fails to appeal to my taste buds, the fried egg with its yoke still intact and not totally hard, topped with well seasoned sautéed minced meat. Another of my favourites is their soft tofu topped with minced meat, the tofu, silky smooth contrasting with the grainy texture of the minced meat.

I especially like to go there on Fridays when they have their special Siamese Laksa. Unlike the Asam Laksa which is found everywhere and different from the curry mee which is equally common, a lemak laksa is hard to find in Ipoh. The one served here at Yum Yum is fragrant, creamy, and the sauce coaxed from a generous boiling down of fish bones and flesh.

Yum Yum - 9

Also on Fridays, they may have other specials. Ask for them. They are usually yummy at Yum Yum.

Suggested Dishes:

Gulai Tumis Style or Fish Curry without coconut milk – 400g RM26 onwards
Assam Fish Head Curry – 400g RM26 onwards
Assam Petai Sambal Prawns – RM15 (S)
Yum Yum Pandan Chicken – RM3.60 per piece
Thai Kerabu Mango – RM9 (S)
Yum Yum Fried Eggs with Minced Meat – RM9 (S)
Yum Yum Fried Brinjal – RM9 (S)
Friday Special Siamese Laksa – RM6 per set
Hot Dessert (Fried Fu Pei)

Yum Yum - 2

Yum Yum (Pork Free)
5 Persiaran Greenhill (New Town)
Tel: 05-253 7686
Business Hours: noon-3pm and 6pm-10pm; closed Wednesdays
GPS:  4° 35.953’N, 101° 5.283’E