Musings on Food
By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
The long stretch of Kuala Kangsar Road is unfamiliar territory for me with its block after block of shophouses and a myriad sundry businesses. It takes a person of my foodie friend Ginla Chew’s energetic exploration to ferret out the latest in good eats along this stretch. And ferret out she did. This time in a newly opened restaurant called (wait for it) Ipoman.
Only opened in August last year, the restaurant is an offshoot of one of Ipoh’s familiar favourites, the Mah Poh restaurant in Ipoh Garden. Apparently a relative of the proprietors of the original Mah Poh, proud proprietor of the new Ipoman, Mdm. C.W. Lian (otherwise fondly called Wan Tseh) was quick to point out that the signature dishes for which the original Mah Poh is famous, such as their crispy fried Pig’s Trotter are also available here in Ipoman but pre-ordering is essential. However, she was keen to showcase her specialties at Ipoman which are a departure from its ancestor shop in Ipoh Garden.
We were a group of seven that night and the first dish to arrive was a steaming tureen of Curry Fish Head, cut up pieces of very fresh and meaty fish head simmering in a curry broth teeming with brinjals, ladies fingers, and towpok or fried bean curd – RM28 and up depending on numbers.
Next was another soupy item, this time a curry Tongfun (bean thread vermicelli) with prawns. The prawns were quite large and generously portioned with the curry sauce creamy and mild. It would have been more fragrant if not for the penchant here in restaurants to use evaporated milk for creaminess instead of the traditional santan (coconut milk) in the mistaken belief that santan because of its saturated fat content, was bad for you. I personally don’t subscribe to this as coconut oil is now gaining a resurgence in popularity with new studies showing that it has some very health giving properties. And think about the added flavour that coconut milk brings to a dish. I immediately made a mental note to order this dish in advance and ask for coconut milk to be used instead of this bland compromise. However, having said my piece, I have to admit that the dish was extremely tasty despite the use of evaporated milk. RM35 and up.
Then came one of my favourites, fallopian tubes sauteed with sambal, dried prawns and chillies – heavenly – RM22. Steamed fish slivers were next on the menu, ocean fresh Sek Pan or Garupa steamed and topped with soya and scallions. Very fresh and firm – RM28.
Dry-fried brinjals with red chillies, spring onions and dried shrimps followed, soft but not soggy, and not too oily, a measure of skill with the delicate eggplant – RM12. Deep-fried Lemon Grass Chicken with honey was a tad too sweet for my taste but others at our table were very pleased with it – RM20. Gailan or long stemmed Chinese broccoli with sweet rice wine, wolfberries or Goji berries, cloud ear fungus or Wanyu and ginger slivers was utterly fragrant and delectable – RM14; as was their homemade Tofu with mushrooms, carrots and peapods – RM12.
We finally finished the meal with a Woh Pang, lotus paste wrapped in a pancake and deep fried. Now I’m not usually a big fan of desserts especially Chinese ones but this I have to admit was special and I ended up eating three slices which is indicative of how good it was – RM10.
One specialty of the house which I didn’t get to try and which sounded mouth-wateringly yummy is the Ham Yu Tao Fa Lam Tau Fu Tong. Quite a mouthful to pronounce which means salted fish head in a broth cooked with pork belly and tofu. This has to be ordered a day in advance. For me that’s on the menu for my next visit.
Ipoman60-62 Laluan Tawas DamaiAnjung Tawas Impiana 30010 IpohTel: Wan Tseh: 012 506 1714GPS: E 101 6’ 46.8 N 4 39’ 46.4Business Hours: Daily 11.30am-3pm & 5.30pm-10pmClosed Mondays every fortnight.