By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
Ipoh is known for many special dishes and people come in busloads for them but in all the years I’ve lived here I have never had a roast goose. It’s been aeons since I had roast goose, harking back to my Hong Kong days when we’d flock to Sham Tseng or go terribly upmarket and go to Yung Kee. I have since then been searching for roast goose here in Ipoh but to no avail.
Finally, I have to hand it to my foodie kaki Ginla Chew to be one of the first to discover the newly-opened Goose Incense Pavilion where the Cantonese-style roast goose can just about hold its own against its Hong Kong counterparts.
We were a table of ten and one whole goose was ample for us. The goose arrived complete with the head and served with a separate sauce. The goose was not too fatty, with a layer of fat that allows for the meat to remain succulent and tender, which it was. The skin which is the prized pièce de résistance of the whole dish was nice and crispy and will likely earn this restaurant a place in Ipoh foodies ‘must try’ list – RM268 for a whole goose. To be ordered the day before.
Next to arrive was a whole Pig’s Trotter deep fried and then braised, the fat having been rendered partially by the deep frying and the long slow braising produced a trotter with meat that fell off the bone and the fat mixed with the tendon was gelatinous, gliding down my throat with velvety smoothness. Sandwiched in a Man Tou steamed bun, it was ‘Chinese Hamburger’ at its tastiest – RM70.
This was followed by the Snakehead or Haruan fish (Sang Yue in Chinese) prepared two ways which is a change from the usual style served in most other restaurants. The first saw the fish sliced and steamed with garlic and soya sauce followed by a soup made from the fish bones and head which were first deep fried and then cooked in the soup which contained goji berries, wood ear fungus, scallions and other Chinese herbs, redolent with a generous helping of Chinese rice wine. RM78 for the steamed fish and RM60 for the soup.
The roasted Kampung Chicken or Choi Yuen Kai was tender and juicy, served with spiced salt – RM55. We ended with the bean thread noodles or Tung Hoon fried with dried prawns, carrots and scallions. Hearty and robust – RM36.
Not content with the ‘grand’ dishes I tasted I had to go back to taste a few more of their ‘ordinary’ dishes. Which I promptly did a few days later. We had four dishes, each one a taste treat in itself. The Nam Yu Fah Lam, marinated pork belly in fermented red bean curd, was deep fried and delectable – RM22. Followed by the Deep Fried Homemade Tofu brick on a bed of velvety steamed egg and topped with yummilicious pork lardons, fried garlic and shallots. Divine – RM16.
Next we tried their Yin Yang Wat Dan Hor, a combination of hor fun and egg noodles deep fried to a crispy consistency and topped with a wat dan sauce, a rich umami sauce thickened with egg white. I particularly liked the fried hor fun which has a chewy texture – RM14.
The final dish was the Tsing Loong Choi, a type of hybrid chive sauteed with bacon, carrots and garlic, the bacon lending a new nuance to the dish. I loved anything with bacon and this was such a good idea – RM22.
The Restaurant is offering a set dinner of eight courses for 10 persons at RM698 nett. While that may sound a bit pricey, but if you consider there is Braised Abalone with Goose Webs, Deep Fried Sea Prawn and Scallops on the menu, which are all high priced items, then it is a set worth coming for.
There is also an economy set lunch with a choice from six categories of Tilapia fish, seafood dishes, chicken dishes, meat dishes, bean curd and egg dishes and vegetable dishes. Within each category are six different styles of preparation. Set A is for 2-4 persons for three dishes plus daily soup at RM68. Set B is for 5-7 persons with five dishes plus daily soup at RM128 and Set C is for 8-10 persons for six dishes plus daily soup at RM178.Goose Incense Pavilion Restoran Sdn Bhd33 Jalan Medan Ipoh 7, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh.Tel: 05 541 6006Ava Cheng: 012 519 3687Business hours: 12.30pm-2.30pm; 5.30pm-10.30pmClosed Mondays