Bercham Councillor David Lai has been consistently trying to improve the traffic flow in his zone, Bercham.
This time around he is proposing to improve the traffic flow for traffic originating from Taman Bercham Bestari, where Giant hypermarket is located, going across onto Jalan Bercham main road in the direction towards Bercham town.
The congestion from the Lintasan Perajurit 17 traffic lights till the Tesco Extra junction began in March when the entrance road into Bercham, from the PLUS highway via Taman Bercham Bistari, was opened simultaneously with the opening of the Giant hypermarket.
The problem of congestion was created when traffic originating from Taman Bercham Bistari wanted to go towards Bercham town and Ipoh Garden East via Lintasan Perajurit 17. During the peak hours from 5.00-7.00pm the congestion in the area can be quite chaotic, “during which time accidents have occurred” added Lai.
Marcus Lau, who manages the Caltex petrol station on Jalan Bercham confirmed Lai’s findings saying that “the number of customers during the peak time has declined since March because they are unable to drive into my station at that time”.
Lai will submit his traffic improvement proposal to Ipoh City Council’s engineering section at the end of May and anticipates the work will be completed within the month of June.
Lai then went to check on upgrading work being carried out at the slip road from the highway heading south leading onto Jalan Tambun. This will enable traffic to immediately turn right onto Jalan Tambun and immediately head towards Ipoh. The current flow has traffic heading towards Ipoh having to make a U-turn at Taman Tambun. The upgrading work will widen the existing road to allow for two lanes one heading towards Tambun and the other heading towards Ipoh. Traffic lights will be located at the intersection and will subsequently be synchronized with another two existing traffic lights to enable smooth traffic flow. The works was started in April and at the time of the visit was 30% completed. The total cost of this upgrade is RM400,000 and is anticipated to be completed by early August.
The ‘Alternative Link Road’ linking Bercham to the PLUS Highway was opened on January 3 by MB Dato’ Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir. The link road, which is connected to Jalan Bercham vide Lintasan Perajurit 17/Light Industrial Estate and Lebuh Bercham Selatan is under 500 metres long but commuters using this link to access the southerly direction of the highway can slash 20 minutes off their queue time when compared with the previous flow which connected via Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.
The idea for the exit link road was proposed by Bercham Councillor Ir Lai Kong Phooi who brought it to the attention of State Exco for Infrastructure Development Dato’ Ramli Zaharin. Work on the link road started in October.
According to Zambry the state considered this “a minor project but a ‘priority’, as traffic congestion in Bercham is a problem especially during peak times” and gave it immediate approval to proceed with the project.
According to Councillor Lai, over 40,000 vehicles ply Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah daily while 20,000 vehicles use Jalan Bercham daily. The opening of the alternative link has relieved the traffic congestion by 30%.
Zambry who later drove the lead car onto the highway for a quick tour subsequently made a proposal to JKR Director Dato’ Safry Kamal and Lai to look into “improving the traffic flow when exiting onto Jalan Tambun to get to Ipoh Town” explaining that motorists have to make a U-turn first at Taman Tambun before they can head to town.” The correct flow should have the vehicle facing Ipoh Town upon getting onto Tambun Road.
With regards to the time line when the alternative entrance into Bercham, via the proposed Giant Hypermarket location, would be opened, Zambry stated that a “separate committee headed by MBI” would look into the issue.
Mention Bercham to any Foodie from Ipoh and you’ll end up with a list of recommended places to eat at that can fill a book. We all know about the claypot rice at K10; the crab rice and crab vermicelli at ‘Botak’ as we all refer to the boss of Mei Pak Tong or Rasa Lain; the economy rice with its endless choice of dishes at Ritz Bina; and the list goes on.
As my readers may have already noticed, I usually don’t bother to review the well-known restaurants and eateries as they are already so popular and require no introduction. What I enjoy most is to discover the relatively obscure or little known places that only the local cognoscenti patronise and keep close to their hearts for fear that fame and popularity will go to the chef’s head and up go the prices and down goes the quality. So far I have known this to happen but thankfully only to a few.
Escalating Price of Fish Head Curry
Lately I’ve heard friends complain about the escalating price of one of our pride and joy dishes: the fish head curry. Whether it be pungent Indian or Nonya Assam style, the large grouper or red snapper fish head is irresistible to most. Even the squeamish will not turn down the meaty collar morsel when extracted and presented to them on their own plate.
Escalating prices is a double edged sword: less people order the dish, more fish heads are frozen and more fish head curries end up on tables tasting like last month’s bottom of the net than the day’s fresh catch.
Hence I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to San Chai in Bercham to taste their fish head curry to find that not only was it fresh-caught fresh, but the price was reasonable as well.
20-Year Bercham Veteran
Chef Woo Wing Kee who has been cooking in the Bercham area for more than 20 years, is the proprietor and chief cook in the kitchen while his wife and other family members man the service side in this spacious corner coffee shop. Where other fish head curries emanating from Chinese kitchens have hitherto had more of an Assam/Nonya taste, it was therefore unusual for this Fish Head Curry to have more of an Indian spice taste and flavour and not what I had anticipated from a Chinese chef. Chef Woo’s fish head curry was pungent without being overpowering and the fish head was just caught fresh with all the gelatinous bits simmered to perfection. Our fish head for 5 people – RM42.
We had a small portion of their Fried Roast Pork which arrived on a bed of lettuce with a touch of sweetness which was not cloying, and a good starter while waiting for other dishes to arrive – RM10.
We also ordered their Ham Dan Kai or Salted Egg Fried Chicken. This is better than most other places that serve this as there was hardly any batter on the boneless chicken pieces, coated instead with salted egg yoke whose distinctive taste and mouth-feel explodes on the taste buds on the first bite – RM12/18/25 for S/M/L.
Accompanying our meal was a portion of their Bean Sprouts fried with salted fish. Our Ipoh bean sprouts which have earned for itself as being the best in the country, thick, plump and crunchy, paired with generous slivers of a fragrant salt fish (some establishments use poor quality salt fish which can ruin the dish) was fried to perfection.
The fish head curry which by this time had been ravenously demolished by the five of us, had proven to be more than satiating and only at my pleading for more variety to write my review, did we then decide to order two more dishes (just to taste!)
These were the Kon Jeen Har (dried fried prawns), quick fried in their shells and juicy on first bite. Seasonal price; and the tofu topped with minced pork and chopped choi po or Chinese preserved radish. This was heavenly with the tofu left in its original state: white, creamy, smooth and the stir-fried minced mixture lending its crunch and ‘umami’ mouth feel to the bland tofu. Heavenly! I am confident that if vegetarians ask for this dish to be made without the minced meat, it’ll be equally delicious.
Our total bill for 5 people came to RM120.
For those who need directions, you make a right turn at Glamour Square at the third traffic light after Tesco Extra and turn left immediately after into Persiaran Bercham Selatan 8, San Chai is on the right after a small playing field.
Restoran San Chai
2 Persiaran Bercham Selatan 8
012 512 1000
Open: 11.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m. & 6.00-10.00 p.m.
Bercham, a high-density area east of the city, is to have another access road. The application for a link from the highway, designed to be located in the immediate area fronting the Giant hypermarket under construction, has been approved.
According to JKR State Director Dato’ Ir Dr. Safry Kamal, the application for the link was made a year ago by Giant Hypermarket. The hypermarket is currently under construction at Medan Bercham Bistari and its location is immediately parallel to the North-South Highway. It is scheduled for completion around the middle of this year.
Dr. Safry Kamal said that two important aspects for granting the approval are: 1) safety to the public and road users, and 2) there must not be the possibility of bottlenecks or hindrance to the flow of traffic.
“A traffic study as well as a Road Safety Audit (RSA) has been done and found to be feasible to proceed with the project,” he said.
Dr. Safry however added that the city council too has made an alternative proposal to have the entrance and exit at the Ipoh East Industrial area and are currently designing a flow linking it to the traffic lights on Bercham main road.
The city council’s design plan will be ready next month and the link would be open by the middle of this year to coincide with the opening of the hypermarket.
Bercham’s city councillor David Lai Kong Phooi said another entrance to the area had been long felt necessary. It would ease the traffic flow in and out of Bercham, which is bordered between Medan Ipoh, Tanjung Rambutan and Tasek and covers an area of 8,877 hectares of which 56% of the land is utilised for housing, industry and agriculture. As at 2009 the population of Bercham was 150,000.