by SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
When you name your restaurant Sedap, you’d better live up to your claim and your menu items had better be “Delicious” or you’re going to get loads of brickbats.
Thankfully Gary Soh and his gorgeous wife Penny Lai have succeeded in living up to the “Delicious” name in this, their second restaurant in Ipoh.
While Sun Heng in Ipoh Garden (see JUNE 15, 2021 review in Ipoh Food Diva) continues on its merry way serving well-loved dishes to a faithful customer base, Sedap is opening its doors to a wider clientele in a more exclusive location.
The new premises are in a purpose-built addition to the Banyan Spa on the corner of Jalan Raja Dihilir and Lorong Cheah Cheng Lim.
The decor is Chinese/Peranakan and the most notable aspect is that there is lots of elbow room. The tables are nicely spaced apart with high ceilings and an ambiance of spaciousness. The windows look out onto lush green hedges and one feels like one can breathe here.
Surrounded by lush vegetation, and old trees, this new restaurant is destined for stardom.
The one magnificent act of eco-friendliness this couple has achieved is to preserve a grand old tree around which they have built their roof, standing tall and proud providing cool shade to the restaurant.
I applaud you Gary and Penny for having taken the trouble, not to mention the expense to do this.
And now to the food.
A lot of the menu items are similar to those at Sun Heng in Canning Garden but there are new additions, notable amongst which are the Pan Fried Chu Cheong Fun with egg, bean sprouts, choi po or preserved radish which lends its characteristic crunch in contrast to the smooth velvety Cheong Fun. Eat with or without the chili sauce. Either way, it’s delectable.RM12
The other new menu item is their Fried Kang Kong (water spinach). Kang Kong is a vegetable that is not usually battered and deep fried, but this dish is a winner, remaining crunchy throughout our meal, and the slightly sweet spicy sauce served on the side gave the crispy leaves just the perfect piquancy. RM9
Other tried and true dishes include their famous Sun Heng Curry Noodles. Whether you order the Jumbo (RM35) or the Signature (RM17) the taste is the same but the garnitures are grander with the Jumbo. I cannot handle the size of the Jumbo and the Signature suffices just as well especially if you wish to savour other dishes. You can choose the type of noodle for the Curry with a choice of Mee, Ramen, Horfun, Lai Fun, or BeeHoon. The Curry sauce was strongly aromatic, with a spice factor hovering around 4 which means it can be handled by most palates. Garnitures include Tau Fu Pok, (fried bean curd puffs) chicken, fried fish balls, gigantic prawns (for the Jumbo), and for me the best part, cockles.
I wanted to see how Sedap would fare with our Ipoh’s iconic dish, our Kai Si Hor Fun (KSHF), the dish that tourists flock here to sample. And I’m happy to report that Sedap does Ipoh proud, producing a bowl of silky smooth rice noodles, in a stock that has to have seen many hours of coddling and simmering, resulting in a broth that is umami, savoury, and mellow. No need to jostle with the hordes downtown. Enjoy your KSHF here in spacious air-conditioned comfort. RM12
For our next dish, we opted for the ‘burn’. Tripping delicately into the realm of the fiery, I suggested we try the Dan Dan Noodles first, a renowned Sichuan Specialty noodle dish with a peanut base that has a manageable spice factor of 2 or 3. RM19
Then we really stepped into it with the Chongqing Hot and Spicy Noodles. RM20
The whole key to Sichuan cooking is the use of Sichuan peppercorns to ameliorate the fiery hot chilli peppers, which are used with gay abandon. Sichuan pepper though is not a pepper at all but a member of the prickly ash family. It has a distinctive flavour but more importantly, it numbs your tongue and makes the fiery Chilli peppers bearable.
For me, the spice factor of around 9 or 10 is manageable if I eat it in small mouthfuls. Please do not try to slurp it as we do with the KSHF. (it’s perfectly polite in Japanese society to slurp your noodles and make as much noise as you wish). You’ll either choke or hurt your tongue by trying.
But it is worth the adventure! The Velvety noodles and soup/sauce meld beautifully in a zesty marriage as your eyes water and your tongue burn, not forgetting your nose running.
Some people will call it torture (like my daughter) but if you’re addicted to chilli burn, this style of cooking using Sichuan pepper to numb the burn makes it all the more enjoyable.
There are many other Sichuan dishes on the menu which require at least 4-5 people to order. Such as the Vinegar Shredded potatoes, RM18, and the Smashed Cold Cucumber and special chilli paste RM10 both cold starters worth sharing, and the Grilled Fish with Spicy Hot Plate
RM160. This fish, coupled with one or two appetisers and eaten with white rice, is an ample meal for a party of 6, plus perhaps a plate of Fried Kang Kong.
After all the spice, we decided to cool down with a Cendol with Grass Jelly and Kidney beans. RM8. This was just what we needed, the thick coconut milk, sweetened with Gula Melaka (coconut palm sugar) on shaved ice, coupled with the silky cooling grass jelly, was one of the best I’ve ever had.
And remember to pick up a box of their Kuih Muih on your way out. Or try a plate after your Cendol. They are made by Penny, and are ultra delicious.
All in all, Sedap is a perfect venue whether you are looking for just a snack, tea, full lunch, or an early dinner. A salivating break of your day.
40, Jalan Raja Dihilir
30350 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: Penny Lai +6012 532 3888
Gary Soh : +6012 503 5888
Business Hours : 9 am – 9 pm.