Whenever I have difficulties in getting a group together to do justice to some restaurant’s repertoire of dishes, I call up my reliable standby Surine Ho and with or without her daughter Susan, we’ll hit the town and ‘snack’. Whether its breakfast, brunch, lunch or afternoon tea, Surine and especially Susan will have some special stall or coffee shop up their food sleeve and off we’d go a’tasting.
Recently we went on a snacking frenzy and tried a slew of stalls and shops each serving their unique specialties. I am listing here only the ones that I feel are worth visiting with emphasis on what I felt was taste-worthy about their specials.
Having lived in Ipoh now for 16 years I have to admit to an embarrassing fact: I have never eaten Bak Kut Teh (herbal pork soup) here, having always been under the impression that the best Bak Kut Teh is to be found in Kuala Lumpur.
Well I was wrong! The best pork herbal soup I’ve ever eaten is to be found right here in Ipoh and even as I write this, I’m drooling over the lingering memory of the soup I had yesterday, infused but not overpowered by the traditional herbs; the pork chunks, the stomach and intestines succulently tender; the fried bean curd (tao pok) and bean skin lending texture; and the soup absolutely divine. They were generous with the soup, refilling our tureen at least twice. RM8.00 per tureen. There is also a pork rib soup which has to be ordered one hour ahead as they cook this a la minute for the ribs to become tender – RM15.
Accompanying the soups were of course the ubiquitous crullers (Chinese fried bread sticks) to soak up the soup and an absolutely delectable WuTao or Taro rice which is a meal in itself, the taro and dried prawns combining for an irresistible taste treat. Crullers RM0.80 per plate and Taro rice RM1.20 for large bowl and half for small.
There is also a delectable Dry Bak Kut Teh, stir-fried tender chunks of pork, stomach and intestines, combined with cuttlefish slivers and ladies fingers. A most unusual and superlative dish – RM8.00. Vegetables can be ordered for RM2.50 a plate or as in our case, we had a combination plate of three veggies for RM5.00. And thinking that we were only there for a snack and that this place was a one-dish wonder, imagine our surprise when they asked if we’d like to order their steamed fish head, a suggestion which I accepted with alacrity. Soon, half an enormous Garupa head arrived at our table, perfectly steamed, just coming off the bone, the flesh ocean fresh, the skin well scaled and tender. RM30 and above depending on size.
Tung Lok Hin Restaurant
1 Jalan Ho Lok Park, Medan Bendahara 2
(closed Tuesdays) 8am-2pm
New branch: 36 Jalan Seenivasagam
(closed Wednesdays) 5pm-10pm
Tel.: Ah May 017 5550706 or Ah Hon 016 5665234.
Stuffed to the gills with Yeong Liew
Another snack delight we visited on another day was the famous Yeong Liew stall in Gunung Rapat. Kedai Kopi Kwong Hong is situated about 100 yards diagonally opposite the Gunung Rapat wet market. Yeong Liew literally translated means stuffed ingredients, in this case, the stuffing is primarily fish meat for most items while a few ingredients will have the addition of minced pork.
The choice and variety here is amazing. Never have I seen so many types of greens and other vegetables given the ‘Yeong Liew’ treatment. From green beans to more unusual sayur paku (fern), watercress, choy sum, lettuce, bak choy, cabbage, lotus pod, and many more, as well as the usual green chillies, bitter melon, egg plant; this Yeong Liew stall is a vegetable lover’s paradise, all individually cooked and served in piping hot bowls of tasty broth.
Meat lovers need not fret as there is choice galore in the fried tidbits and other delectables. There are probably more than 30 varieties to choose from with different types of stuffed tofu as well.
Like a child lost in ToysRUs, I promptly began to pick one of each and realised that the four of us couldn’t possibly do justice to them all so had to settle for a sampling. Noodles come with a choice of laksa, curry or plain broth and the homemade chilli sauce a tantalising complement to the Yeong Liew. Yeong Liew from RM0.60 – RM1 per piece. Additional Sayur Paku (fern) mildly spiced RM2.20; Chicken Feet RM4. Laksa Noodles RM2.70; Curry Noodles RM1.50.
Kedai Kopi Kwong Hong
684 Jalan Gunung Rapat
GPS: N 04 34.320 E 101 06.914
Open 12.30-4pm; 6-10pm
Expect to wait if you go at lunchtime.