Since the launch of Tourism Malaysia’s “Ipoh Food Trail” in December last year, interest in Ipoh’s food seems to have increased exponentially. Encouraging feedback from those in the food business prompted Tourism Malaysia (Perak) to get media representatives from all over the country to come to Ipoh and savour the city’s culinary delights.
The two-day event took place over a weekend on June 18 and 19. Thirty four media personnel representing various publications, including some very prominent social magazines, went on a conducted tour of Ipoh led by Norshamshida Abdul Rahman, Director of Tourism Malaysia (Perak). The guests were accommodated at a 3-star hotel in the centre of the city with easy access to many of the eateries featured in the palm-size pamphlet.
“It’s our intention to publicise and promote Ipoh’s food as a touristic product along with the city’s architectural heritage,” said Norshamshida to the invitees. The guests were taken to the museum on the first day of the tour. The objective was to acquaint them with the state’s historical past, particularly that of Ipoh. A treasure hunt was the next item on the agenda. The game was to reaffirm information the visitors had gathered on Ipoh at the museum and from Norshamshida’s briefing earlier.
The first food stop was lunch at the famous Restoran Tasek Raban next to Stadium Perak. The visitors soon realised why the open-air restaurant is so popular with Ipohites, especially the Malays. The wide selection of Malay dishes, prepared in true Perak fashion, is the drawing factor. Grilled fish was the guests’ favourite, as most were having more than their share.
After a hearty meal they were taken to Gua Tempurong to witness Ipoh’s most visible limestone cave at close range. Manan Idris, the tour guide, took time to explain the various attractions found in the cave. It was one exhilarating field outing which worked on the visitors’ appetite.
From Gua Tempurong they were taken to Mee Rebus Ramli, a restaurant synonymous with good food in Ipoh. Mee Rebus Ramli has been around in Ipoh since the 1980s. From a humble beginning, the late Ramli had expanded his noodle business from hawking on wheels to operating in plush restaurants. He now owns three, all operated by his children. The guests were feted at Ramli’s restaurant in Jalan Yang Kalsom. They were then taken to Ipoh’s only theme park, the Lost World of Tambun, to rest their tired bodies and limbs amidst the delectable man-made ambiance of the park.
The first day tour ended with a sumptuous dinner at Restoran Nasi Lemak Ayam Kampong in Jalan Ali Pitchay. Tucking into the delicious nasi lemak with a generous helping of fried kampong chicken seemed problematic since most of the visitors’ bellies were filled to the brim. But ate they did, as the aromatic coconut-milk-laced rice and succulent chicken were simply too good to resist.
Breakfast, the following morning, was at Ipoh Hainan Restaurant in Jalan Musa Aziz. The Ipoh Heritage walk was the first item on the second day’s programme. The guests were driven to Ipoh’s iconic railway station and were greeted upon arrival by Dato’ Hamidah Osman, the Executive Councillor for Tourism. They were taken around Old Town for a first-hand look at buildings left behind by the British and the Chinese tycoons of yore.
Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah was the visitors’ next destination. On the way back the bus stopped at the Jalan Kampar pomelo stalls to allow them an opportunity to taste Ipoh’s famous citrus fruit. The final day’s programme ended with a satay treat at Satay Endut located at the public food court (Taman Kanak-Kanak) in downtown Ipoh.
It had been a fun-filled weekend for the visitors. Obviously, the two-day gastronomical holiday was not enough to relish all the food that Ipoh has to offer. “I’ll be back for more,” said one very pleased journalist who was full of praise for Tourism Malaysia (Perak) for having organised such an eventful tour.