By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
How this restaurant has escaped my foodie tentacles and not been on my flavour of the month, year, indeed even lifetime list is baffling to me. Indeed I even accused my Foodie kaki Ginla Chew of keeping secrets from me when she finally brought me here. Apparently when I mentioned going there to some other friends, they said, “Oh Fay Loo, it's been around for a long time and used to be our favourite after-clubbing spot for supper.” Their name card for the restaurant says they’re open from 6pm till 2.30am so after 20 years in Ipoh, why haven’t I been there?
It was well worth the wait though as I have definitely decided that this will be my ‘go-to’ place for a casual dinner, a place to tuck into some of my favourite ‘homey’ Chinese dishes and a place to ‘pig’ out literally and figuratively as they have many superlative pork dishes.
It’s a rare treat when one finds a restaurant where 12 out of 12 dishes which I tried were superb and worth going back for. So let me get down to describing the dishes.
Fay Loo is known for their pomfrets, both the black and the white more expensive variety. We started with one of their signature dishes which was Black Pomfret smothered in chopped Ham Tsoi or pickled vegetable. It was a biggish fish and very fresh, the Ham Tsoi adding a salty tart element to the fish – RM40. For contrast I asked for the white pomfret steamed Hokkien style. This was a small pomfret and again absolutely ocean fresh – RM30.
The next dish, the Ham Yu Yoke Pang or Salted fish meat patty really spoke to my palate. This is the kind of home cooking I grew up with: crispy on the edges, the inside redolent with the fragrance of salted fish – RM12.
The next dish was even more homey: Dried prawns, Tsu Yao Tsa (lardons) with green pepper and onions, spicy, salty, crispy and perfect as a snack or with rice – RM14.
The Salted Kampung Chicken was steamed to perfection, not too salty nor bland – RM35 followed by Asam Prawns which were superlative – RM35.
The pan-fried Big Squid (which is known as Wong Ka Lun in Cantonese) was chewy without being rubbery and was perfect with our drinks as an appetiser – RM24. Clams followed done ‘Kam Heong’ style, very fresh and fragrant with the curry leaves and spices – RM14.
What made the Mah Po Tofu special was the addition of Tsu Yao Tsa or lardons. This soft tofu dish with minced pork is a Szechuan specialty that can be fiery and in this case, it was moderate but the added lardons made it particularly fragrant and delectable. Definitely a ‘must repeat’ – RM12.
And the dishes kept coming. Belly pork or Tseng Chiew Fa Yoke with red and green pepper was excellent at RM14 while the ‘Moonlight Noodles’ named for the raw egg resembling a full moon topping the noodles was quite romantic as well as yummilicious – flat rice noodles with a soupy sauce.
We ended our meal with yet another noodle dish, this time a Mee Goreng, spicy and very close to the Indian version.Restaurant Fay LooA7 Jalan Dato Tahwil AzharTel: 05 255 7642Business Hours: 6pm-2.30amClosed Tuesdays FortnightlyGPS: N O4° 35.434' E 101° 05.007'