I am not going to win any popularity awards with my foodie buddies this issue as I write about one of my/their favourite breakfast/brunch places. Their unanimous opinion when we first went for breakfast one early morning was that this was a precious find and we had to keep the secret to ourselves. Naturally as my first obligation is to my readers who rely on me to ferret out foodie places and write about them, I couldn’t keep Moon de Moon to myself any longer. Mind you, at least half of Ipoh knows about Moon de Moon and now the other half will know!
It is one of those places where you have to keep your fingers crossed and hope you don’t have to wait too long to get a table as the place is always choc-a-bloc all the time. It is also a place where you get one of the best Kai See Hor Fun in Ipoh, although Dato’ David Tan’s Katong Laksa might be vying for that accolade now. And there will always be fans of Kong Heng, Thean Chun and Jen Jendefending their respective choices.
I have more than one reason for going to Moon de Moon though; in fact I have quite a few. For starters, their Kai See Hor Fun stall also offers Curry Mee both the dry and wet variety and a selection of ‘balls’: fish, cuttlefish and pork.
The fish balls are not your usual run of the mill bouncy fish balls, but are Hock Chew ones, filled in the centre with minced pork, providing a delightful surprise when one bites into it. Their pork balls are bouncy with hints of cuttlefish on the bite and their cuttlefish balls are the same. Dipped into their sambal belachan sauce which is provided generously at their stall where one can go and help oneself, these balls are a wonderful accompaniment to either their Kai See Hor Fun or their Curry Mee. RM1.00 each.
Their Curry Mee is mild, smooth and easy on the palate. Although my taste runs towards the more pungent and tangy variety, I find this curry mee very pleasing. They are generous with their chicken which come in thick chunks and you can order just a portion of their curry without noodles, which also has potatoes. There is a wet and dry curry choice and the morning when we were there recently, I ordered both to share.
Personally I prefer the wet curry as the sauce can be slurped like a soup which I enjoyed. Order an extra plate of Taugeh or bean sprouts, our thick crunchy Ipoh bean sprouts which tourists come from all over just to savour, add to the bowl and go straight to culinary heaven. RM4.50 per bowl.
Their Kai See Hor Fun is in a culinary bracket of its own. Velvet smooth ‘hor fun’ swimming in a delicate broth with slivers of chicken meat and smallish prawns, colour and ‘herbiness’ provided by garlic chives and spring onions and before we can say abracadabra, the whole bowl has disappeared down our gullets. My ankles being the control yardstick by which I measure MSG content (they swell up), after a few hours, stayed relatively slim which told me that their broth has little of this insidious food enhancer which is the bane of all outside food these days (not to mention quite a cause for many physical problems). RM4.50 per portion.
But I don’t go to Moon de Moon only for their Curry Mee and Kai See Hor Fun. There is another delectable dish which makes me drool whenever I think about it: the vermicelli pancake.
This is offered by a stall right opposite the Curry Noodles (there are a variety of stalls in this coffee shop). A sign says ‘Pancake Mee Hoon” and that is where I head for. Order it with seafood or pork and the dish arrives at your table with a small plate of chilli sauce perched on the pancake. The ‘pancake’ is a round thin crust made from fried rice vermicelli (Mee Hoon) sitting atop a sauce/gravy popularly known as ‘wat dan’ or smooth egg, a sauce thickened and smoothened with egg white, to which is added greens, pork slices and shrimps etc. To be eaten immediately the plate arrives, the crispiness of the vermicelli contrasting with the velvety sauce given further texture by veg and meat, brought my group of visitors to ecstatic exclaims, including a Hongkie and a Penang foodie who had never had such a treat before. RM5.
My Hongkie friend kept exclaiming over the taste and pricing (we also had a plate of the chee cheong fun stuffed with Sang Kwang or yam bean) which was a first for both of my friends as only around Ipoh do we get this culinary treatment for in Hong Kong they roll the steamed rice sheet around meat, or seafood and it’s served only in Dim Sum restaurants. We were four of us and our total bill for the morning came to slightly over RM30 which had my Hongkie friend promising to return with a coterie of her friends.
It is no wonder that Ipoh has been voted by the Lonely Planet as the 6th ‘hottest’ place to visit in the world! It is food of this quality that has helped achieve that recognition.