When I was invited to lunch by Edward Foo to the Hahaha Cafe for Thai food, I thought he was joking.
But sure enough there is a Cafe by that name! And Thai food it was. Authentically Thai too. And in Thai may I say “Aroi” which means delicious.
Owner Natalie Coe is half chinese (her mum is from Kampar) and half British. She married a Thai and lived in Thailand for 10 years. Her mother-in-law helped with the menu. Everything is prepared in-house from scratch and she gets all her ingredients from Thailand.
Why the name I asked? Natalie then explained that the number 5 is pronounced Ha in Thai and youth in Thailand text each other 555 instead of HAHAHA. So in line of her mission of “Spreading Good Times, Thai Style” she decided to name the restaurant HaHaHa.
I had difficulty locating the place only to be told that it is situated above the Tealicious Cafe which serves more of a local cuisine.However as my friends are all so considerate and knowing that stairs are now very daunting for me and I will decline any invitation that involves climbing stairs, Edward and his lovely wife Ginla arranged for lunch to be served downstairs at the Tealicious Cafe. A convenience that has helped me on quite a few occasions.
Tealicious Cafe is the owner of the building and also Natalie’s partner and hence one can interchange menus for upstairs and downstairs.
The decor upstairs has a cosy ambiance and also a private room but alas as I couldn’t climb we settled for the more casual cafe ambiance of Tealicious.
The menu at 555 is quite extensive, and I had the opportunity to sample a large variety of the offerings. The staff are helpful and friendly and the serving is brisk and efficient. Lunch sets all come with fresh vegetables of the day and Crispy Pork Crackling, Thai or Mango salad and their special Thai chilli sauce plus a small dessert of the day.
But first it’s the Crispy Pork Crackling that is to be commended. Order it as a separate appetiser and while everyone is looking at their menus, dunk them separately into the sambal belacan dip provided (ask for more if it runs out) and munch while deciding. Unlike a lot of the pre-prepared crackling that is available at Thai specialty shops that tend to turn rancid on their journey here, these are fresh fried when ordered which means they are light and crispy and the dip is similar to our local sambal belacan sauce though a tad sweeter. For me this is the raison detre for coming to Hahaha. I can just sit here and nibble these tasty treats forever!
Most of the dishes here are presented as Sets. But on previous occasions I have ordered items as separate ala carte dishes, especially if you’re a large group and wish to try a variety and share.
Let me highlight my favourite savouries and move on to 555’s delectably delicious desserts
Check out this link on how to eat this: https://youtube.com/shorts/3FiAZTXMwAg
We started with the Miang Kham RM17.90, what Natalie calls Leaf Wrapped Salad Bites. This is a wonderful appetiser where freshly plucked Wild Betel (Kadok) leaves (they grow wild everywhere) are served with portions of chopped raw ginger, shallots, chillies, limes, peanuts, and dried shrimp. See the short video where I show how to make a cup with the Kadok leaf and fill with all the bits; finishing with a dollop of a sauce sweetened coconut palm sugar given extra texture with dried prawn bits and desiccated coconut.
I love the fragrance of Holy Basil (a different aromatic profile from Thai basil) or Tulsi for the Indians, which apparently has many health benefits like protect against infection, lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol, ease joint pain, and protect your stomach. Whew, that’s enough to make me eat a ton of it. Here at 555 they serve it as Kaprow Holy Basil or Minced pork basil. RM22.90. The earthiness and strong aromatics of the Holy Basil permeates the pork, aided and abetted by the fish sauce, chillies, garlic making this a ‘must dish to order’
Tamarind Fish has my full ‘thumbs up’, deep fried and coated with a mildly sweet tamarind sauce at RM23.90.
Tom Yam Kung, sour spicy soup with prawns, my favorite soup whenever I go to Thailand, could have been more tart and spicy but knowing the taste buds of local Ipohites, I reckon this to be a crowd pleaser. RM19.90
I loved their Gai Tod, chunks of Chicken, wings and all, deep fried and coated in a sauce with flavors that shimmer on your tongue, darting between bracing and bold. RM12
Something else which I have had the pleasure to sample at a birthday celebration that was held here is worth mentioning. The were medium sized Udang Galah prawns, charred and served with a typical Thai sauce for fish, the Nam Chim, a tart, mildly sweetened, lime, garlic, chilli sauce that goes perfectly with the Udang Galah. Seasonal Price, Order in advance
For prawn fans, Prawn Basil Kaprow was yummy. The prawns were large and very fresh, coated in a mild tangy sauce and sauteed with Thai Basil, lending that Thai Basil fragrance to the whole dish. RM25.90
Now for the piece de resistance of this 555 Cafe and I am reminded of their motto ,
“ Life is better when you’re Laughing”
Its their Desserts!
My doctor has forbidden me to eat all things sugar! And I don’t naturally have a sweet tooth. But put coconut milk into the equation and I am putty in your hands!
The Thai Coconut Pudding RM 9.90, an addictive and mouth-watering dessert native to Thailand was an irresistible bowl of Sago and Sweet Corn topped with smooth and flavourful Coconut paste. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I could have eaten ten bowls of it and my doctor would have had the stroke!!
How can anyone leave a Thai restaurant without ordering their Mango and Sticky Rice dessert RM12.90 ? You’d have to be a robot! Order we did and we were certainly not disappointed. Glutinous rice, coloured with natural blue pea flower, topped with crispy lentils and (for me….drowned) in thick coconut milk sauce served with half a portion of ripe mango has to be one of the reasons for being alive!!
Thai Rubies (rice starch with water chestnuts) in Coconut Milk at RM8.90 was yummy as was the Sapphire Sago Coconut Pudding RM7.50, ocean blue sago pearls made from natural butterfly pea syrup served with fresh coconut and coconut milk.
And can I forget their little ‘petit fours’ ?
Ocean blue sago pearls made from natural butterfly pea syrup with fresh coconut and coconut milk.
Little wrapped deliciousness of sago pudding topped with thick coconut milk, and the list goes on. If I don’t want to die in a diabetic coma, I can only allow myself an occasional indulgence.
Thank you, Natalie.
Keep up the good work.
Tues- Thursday : 11am to 5pm
Fri and sat : 12pm to 9pm (KITCHEN CLOSED 3PM TO 5PM)
Drinks and Desserts are available 3pm – 5pm.
(Sundays and Mondays closed)
This Café is non-Halal
Contact Person: Natalie @ 0142511-520
ADDRESS: 4A, Lintasan Perajurit 6, Taman Perak, 31400 Ipoh, Perak