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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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