Musings on Food
By Wern Sze Gill and VWSL
Ipoh’s Newest Food Destination
Ipoh Parade, one of Ipoh’s largest shopping mall destinations, has been undergoing a series of renovations lately, and we are pleased to reveal that one of its recently completed phases has been its brand new, swanky food court. Named the Next Food Avenue, this food destination is apparently the first in the country that has two separate food courts side by side, one with pork-free selections, while the other, non-halal dishes. The Next Avenue group, which runs a few food courts of the same concept in the Klang Valley, has successfully sourced about 30 of Ipoh’s famous foods, placing them all under one roof. Currently featuring 18 stalls in the non-halal, and 12 in the pork-free section, the manager tells us there will be more opening up in the near future.
The concept of Next Food Avenue is not quite your typical food court layout where all the stalls occupy the periphery with tables and chairs set up in the centre for patrons. Here at Next Food Avenue, you will need to walk through the food court to view all the mouth-watering options as there are more stalls to be discovered around the back, smelling and looking better than the earlier dishes! It is self-service, so you will need to pay for your food at the stall and bring the dishes yourself to your table.
The overall quality and taste of both the pork-free and non-halal options are fair, but what stands out most is that you will be spoilt for choice with the sheer variety of options available. Plus dishes are very affordably priced as the ambience and cleanliness of Next Food Avenue is a class above other local food courts.
Pork-free Food Court
The twelve pork-free stalls have enough variety to suit everyone’s palate. From soup noodles to baked cheese rice, western snack food, nasi ayam and ayam percik, rojak and traditional fare like laksa, rendang and Chinese popiah made in different ways and chee cheong fun, one is spoilt for choice.
Mee Bakso (RM4), an Indonesian beef noodle soup which comes with beef balls and beef patties or beef balls and slivers of beef. Mee Bakso Gabung – RM6. Get it from ‘Aneka Sup’. The familiar Sizzling Mee from the old food court sells for RM5.50 plus 50 sen extra with an egg. A must-try is the Udon Mee (RM7.50) from ‘K Seven Delicious’.
‘Ikan Bakar Kampung’ serves ikan pari and ikan kembong baked in tin foil with ladies fingers and limau kasturi. This ‘Selera Sutera Thai’ also has Nasi Goreng Thai (RM5.80) with lovely crispy ikan bilis on the side.
For western and snack food lovers, ‘KJ Fusion’ has a Jumbo Hotdog on their menu and Cheese Baked Rice with chicken/fish (RM11.90) amongst other things, while ‘Pak Tuan Meatball’ has Roti John (RM7) with meatballs in a hotdog bun.
There are numerous rice dishes starting with the usual chicken rice from the ‘Nasi Ayam’ stall and also Nasi Ayam Percik (RM5.80) from ‘Ayam Percik’.
The Rendang from ‘Rendang Tok Mak Nik’ is a must-try and the Asam Laksa Taiping from ‘Taiping Delicious’.
Non-halal Food Court
You can find a variety of Ipoh’s famous dishes here such as chicken beansprouts noodle, roast duck, chicken or pork rice, popiah, chee cheong fun, yeong tau foo, and more. There are also other specialty dishes such as Hakka cuisine, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese fare, and fusion food.
Recommended to try:
Front part of the food court:
Chee Cheong Fun with mushroom sauce / plain (RM3.50), or with curry chicken (RM5.50). Additional fried yeong tau fu (from Ipoh’s famous ‘Big Tree foot’ at Jalan King) at 80 sen per piece.
Hakka Yam Abacus (RM6) from ‘Noah Hakka Food’ stall. Other traditional Hakka dishes: Hakka Lui Cha (RM5.50), Hakka noodles (RM5.50), steam pork belly with yam or mui choy (pickled vegetables).
Hot & Sour or Vinegar pig’s trotters with rice (RM7.90) and a wide selection of pork, chicken and fish dishes with rice (priced from RM5.90 to 6.90), plus various chinese soups at the first stall on the right at the entrance.
Kampung chicken rice (RM6.00), Roasted duck rice (RM6), Roasted chicken rice (RM6), BBQ pork rice (RM7) and other roasted meat combinations from ‘Restoran B Jing’. All worth trying.
Back part of the food court:
Chicken porridge (RM5.50), Chicken with abalone porridge (RM6.50) from ‘Fa Fa Corner’
Chilli Pan Mee (RM6.80). This is the authentic version with the poached egg, and the stall is a branch of ‘Lat-yat-lat’ which operates in Greentown Business Centre. Other signature dishes to try: Sarawak Hakka noodles (RM6.30), CEO noodles (RM6.80) and Kimchi Pan Mee (RM8.60).
It would be remiss of us not to recommend the Ipoh White Coffee (hot RM2 and cold RM2.50) – aromatic and not too sweet – a must-try. An added bonus is all prices are nett and there is no added tax.