SeeFoon explores Bercham and turns up Trumps (excuse the intended pun)

I am often asked how I find all these places I write about and the only answer I can give is that I’m blessed with good friends. Not only good friends but Foodie friends. Friends who take me to places I could never discover by myself. Like Dato’ Daniel Tay and his wife Datin Siew Phaik.

Choy Delicious is a small, unpretentious fan-cooled restaurant serving some wildly delicious dishes. Ah Yoke who ‘mans’ the front of the house and her husband Chan Keat Choy, whose culinary skills were honed in Singapore for more than 10 years, serve up typical Chinese ‘Tai Chau’ dishes but like every good chef, adds his own inimitable style to turn a dish from mediocre to superlative.

Like the Chicken with lotus pod, chicken chunks mixed with crispy fried lotus pod slices, whole garlic pips, onions and coated with a thick mildly sweet sauce, was so good that we promptly ordered another portion – RM20.

Another unusual dish was the Sizzling Bangkok prawns, large very fresh ‘Meng Har’ pan fried and served on a sizzling platter with a bed of pandan leaves wafting its fragrance and permeating the prawns – RM30.

One of their signature dishes is the Sek Pan Yu Tao Woh or Garoupa Fish Head Steamboat. What I liked was their service, in an old-fashioned hot pot tureen with charcoal underneath rather than the dangerous one with the gas canister. This was Tong Hou or Garland Chrysanthemum leaves, Bak Choy and fish head chunks or if fish head is not your fancy, fish chunks, swimming in a delectable broth (I had no MSG reaction) that was seasoned to perfection. Fish head: M/L RM40/50. Fish meat: daily price.

Similarly delicious is their Curry Fish Head which was cooked with coconut milk instead of what appears to be ubiquitous these days – that dreadful evaporated milk – giving the gravy that luscious, creamy ‘coconutty’ flavour and aroma complemented by curry leaves and other spices – M/L RM45/55.

Their homemade Bean Curd was deep fried and topped with a crunchy Choy Po (Chinese preserved radish or daikon) mince which contrasted nicely with the velvety smooth bean curd – S/M/L RM8/12/15. This was followed by very meaty Spare Ribs coated in a mildly sweet sauce and cooked to the right degree of tenderness – S/M/L RM10/15/20.

For their creme de resistance, their Indonesian crabs are done in many styles including the one I had to try, reminiscent of my days in Singapore where I grew to crave for them. This is Black Pepper Crab, a dish made popular in Singapore where this chef honed his skills. Ah Yoke was very honest and came to tell me that the crab she had kept for me was not as fresh as she would have liked it and that the meat had shrunk a tad (this happens to crabs when they have been kept alive for too many days…they shrink). That didn’t mean that the crab was bad so I opted to try it anyway just to get a taste of the sauce; which on tasting, justified my risk. The crab was still fresh to my taste buds and yes it was true, the flesh had shrunk a bit but the sauce was everything I remember it to be in Singapore. Peppery, tangy, and ‘finger-licking good’ to quote a certain Colonel Sanders. RM100 per kg (about two smallish crabs). Worth going back for when they have new stock.

Choy Delicious Seafood Restaurant is tucked away in the bowels of Bercham. Once you’ve been there it’s easy to find but some other friends had difficulty. So do use Waze or the GPS co-ordinates given here.

Choy Delicious Seafood Restaurant
120 Lebuh Bercham Timur
Taman Bercham Sinar (East Eden)
Tel: Ah Yoke 012 482 2187 or 016 513 2213
GPS:  E 101° 8’ 11.0  N 4°  37’ 46.9
Business hours: 5pm-10.30pm; Closed 3 days a month (call to check)
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See Foon

SeeFoon Chan-Koppen has been writing a food column called Musings on Food in the Ipoh Echo since 2009. It is widely read both in print as well as online which receives more than 1 million hits a month. Her forte is in communications, having honed her skills after graduating from the University of Singapore where she worked for the Straits Times Group and was a food critic for the New Nation. Her knowledge of food and cooking come from more than 30 years in the hotel industry based in Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and subsequently Kuala Lumpur. During this time, she has travelled all over the world and eaten at the best and worst restaurants. She is totally intimate with the subtleties and nuances of most cuisines of the world having been involved in opening over 50 hotels throughout the Asia/Pacific region and China where she helped to conceptualize Food and Beverage themes and critiqued on food quality. SeeFoon calls herself a global citizen and now chooses the serenity and friendliness of Ipoh to the bright lights of the many cities she has lived in. She also loves the food in Ipoh and is passionate about telling the world about it.

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