By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
My favourite meal of the day is breakfast. That is when I’m ravenous and my palate is fresh. Ready to savour the delectable dish of the day. Alas, I’m often too lazy to trek into town for breakfast. Recently however, I allowed myself to be persuaded by friends on two occasions to do just that. The first was to Auntie Fei Sow for oodles of noodles done any way you choose and two days later to Weng Oon Kopitiam two doors down, for the best beef balls and beef noodles in all of Ipoh (best for me that is, watch for the next review).
Fellow foodie Datin Phaik Lean loves offal as I do and she persuaded me to try Auntie Fei Sow where she swoons over the ‘Tsor Yuet Tong’ or post-partum soup. This heavenly rich broth is heavy on the ginger (ginger is supposed to help new mothers regain their strength after birth) and unlike other places where they use home brewed rice wine, Auntie Fei Sow’s (whose name means Fat Auntie – quite an apt description) is laced with Siew Heng (Fa Tiew) a Chinese wine rather like sherry. Liver is high on the priority list for boosting new mother’s blood so this soup has loads of it. And my favourite, pig’s small intestine or ‘fun cheong’. Add an omelette of sorts fried with slivers of ginger, minced pork and wood ear fungus to top the soup which can be served with or without noodles and I am in offal heaven – RM8.
Their seafood soup is very ‘tsing’ (Chinese for clear) but with Auntie simmering her soup overnight with good quality ikan bilis or dried whitebait and some pork bones, the broth is rich and umami. Add to this rich stock some very fresh big prawns, some fish paste, fish slices, clams (again very fresh and nary a bad one), cuttle fish, bitter gourd slices and some ham choy or preserved chinese kale and you have a concoction fit for the most discerning gourmet. I chose the ‘lai fun’ a thick round rice noodle which has a lovely chewy consistency and imbued with the fish flavours of the broth and other garnitures, reminded me of some other noodles I’ve had elsewhere which are actually made from fish paste – RM8.
For the less adventurous palates, their fish slices are very fresh and can be mixed with fish head chunks or have fish head on its own with the ‘Ham Choy’ or preserved vegetables and bitter melon – RM8.
A bowl of just innards with some sliced pork is RM5 as is the ‘Yu Wat’ or fish paste with your choice of noodles.
Worthy of mention is their Pan Meen, homemade noodles (you have a choice of the thick or thin type somewhat similar to spaghetti in taste and texture) in a very clean broth served with a bowl of ‘gow gay’ soup, the dark green, slightly bitter leaves of the Chinese boxthorn which are reputed to be very healthy. I opted for the dry version with thick noodles which came with a dark slightly sweetish soya sauce, delicately flavoured, topped with minced pork and a generous portion of crispy ikan bilis. The noodles were ‘yeen ngan’ the Chinese equivalent of what I would classify as Italian ‘al dente’ and at RM4.30 beats any Italian pasta for both price and flavour.
The ambiance might not measure up to most Italian restaurants but if one is willing to sweat a little (although their big powerful fans really whip up a cooling breeze) this is one coffee shop to patronise. And I haven’t even mentioned their sambal belacan which is doled out generously with every bowl. Just ask for replenishment.
When Auntie first opened she was closed by 2pm but now with extra help from her son and even grandchildren, she has extended her hours till 8pm.Restoran Auntie Fei Sow20 Jalan Medan Ipoh 1b, Medan Ipoh Bistari, 31400 Ipoh, PerakTel.: 012-515 1289Business Hours : 7:30am-8pm. Closed one day a month.