Musings on Ipoh Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

I was recently introduced to the Foodie possibilities in Desa Rishah when my friend Datin Phaik Lean gathered a bunch of us together for dinner at Hung Ting.

A relatively new restaurant (open for 6 months) but apparently a Lo Chiew Pai as they had relocated here from First Garden, the restaurant was a hive of noise and activity and if Phaik Lean hadn’t booked, we would have been left stranded.

As we settled down with our pink bubbly from Dato’ John Lim’s private cellar while waiting for our food, we had to almost shout at one another to make ourselves heard above the cacophony of voices but that only added to the fun and camaraderie of the evening.

The service was fast and the food came in rapid succession. We ordered small or medium portions so as to taste a large variety of dishes and despite the number of us at the table (12), there was enough to go around as each dish was presented.

We had a total of 13(!!) dishes altogether and I will list here the ones which caught my fancy and will go back for more.

I love soft shell crabs and the ones here were crispy and perfectly battered if a tad too salty. Do ask them to go easy on the salt when you order your food here as the chef tends to be heavy handed with the salt. This was followed by the Tofu with pork and the ‘Ham Dan’ salted egg sotong (squid), deep fried. Both these were yummy.

The Pig’s Trotter with white radish was unusual, well braised and the trotter pieces tender, followed by Har Cheong Gai pieces of chicken marinated in preserved prawn paste and deep fried.

I found the three flavour pork ribs too sweet for my taste and overwhelmed by garlic but I  am sure some of  my readers out there would enjoy it. Baby long beans with belacan was delicious and the Ka Heong Jai a vegetarian dish sauteed with preserved red bean paste lacked ‘oomph’. It called for more bean paste and umami nuances.

Kow Gay (soft, oval, dark green, slightly bitter leaves of the Chinese boxthorn which is touted to have medicinal properties) soup with seafood was ‘ching’ a term found only in the Chinese culinary lexicon to describe a taste that is clarified, pure, coming from the meaning of unsullied.

Their Fish Head Curry is definitely worth repeat visits. Cut into chunks, the fish head was very fresh, the curry gravy mild, yet tangy enough to be pleasing served with ladies fingers, brinjal and tao pok (fried bean curd puffs).

After 12 dishes which were wolfed down with alacrity, Dato’ John decided he needed another plate of the soft shell crab to finish off the meal. By this time we were on to the single malts and the suggestion of yet another plate of soft shell crab was warmly welcomed.

The most delightful part of the evening was the bill. For a total of 13 dishes most of which are described above, the total bill came to just over RM260, a sum which Dato’ John paid with a smile.

Restoran Hung Ting
# 121 LGK Desa Rishah 1, Desa Rishah
Business Hours: 11.30am - 3pm; 5.30pm - 9.45pm. Closed sporadically.
Tel: 05  281 0681
Proprietor Ah Chan: 012 417 8997