Project: Ipoh Revisit
I thought I was away from KL for far too long, stuck in the middle of the seas, sweating in the middle of the dust & noise of warehouses…
But just 5 days in for a pit stop in KL, & my heart & head & balls are screaming to get away for a break from KL!
So, just like back in those days in UTP when you felt like you are completely abandoned, lost & isolated in the gettos of Tronoh, we made the decision to execute Project: Ipoh Revisit. The goal? To conduct quality inspection on favourite makan places that were frequented & discovered back in uni days, in 1.5 days.
In actual fact, this revisit was long planned ever since we felt our feet drag away upon graduation, leaving behind the “old town”ess of Ipoh & the delightful stomach wonders this town offered. We just felt like we couldn’t wait anymore & decided to make it a spur-of-the-moment adventure. So we came up with a list of all the favourite mouth-watering food locations we always went to, & crammed all of them absurdly into the 1.5 days we had in hand. The only thing that was gonna stop us from devouring all in the “impossible” list was our lack of fitness & aging stomach.
Turns out these 2 factors were more than apparent during this trip. But let’s not lose focus here.
:: MOB TO IPOH ::
So, checklist needs to first be…well, checked. Empty stomachs – check. The best company in the world – triple-check. Comfortable clothes a.k.a. Quicksilver boardpants – check. Shades – check. Money – duh. Car in good condition – chec…oops, had to service the car in the morning before we departed. Uh oh, that’s gonna lose us a couple of hours of precious food-time! No worry, mintak extension sikit…catch-up plan is to drive faster lo.
& along for the journey, for the very first time, is the my newly purchased compact ultra-zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ8!
I may be small but I can zoom your ass off
This dude is coming along for the ride to provide some visuals. At 12.1mpxls, 12x optical zoom & 16x digital zoom, this dude burned me for RM1180 together with an 8gb memory card.
Saturday morning, off we departed from the concretes of KL into the uneven ridiculously bumpy highway towards Ipoh.
:: UNPLANNED APPETIZER ::
As usual, we made a stop at the rather-packed Tapah rest house for bladder pressure release, but due to the blistering afternoon heat blessed upon us by the fireballness of the sun, the sight of Baskin Robbins hollering to us “What’s Your Favorite Flava?” was irresistible. So, first consumption of the day goes to Strawberry Cheesecake &…I forgot what was the other scoop she chose, but it’s something that is associated with chocolate & nuts.
What’s your favorite flava? Lai lai
Strawberry cheesecake…the best flavour by BR. Anyway, this tastes better than it looks, trust me. Total damage – RM14 something.
Before long, the familiar sights of Ipoh soon dawned upon us.
You know you are reaching when you see sights of caves!
Macam Sepet kan?
:: BRUNCH ::
First official Ipoh stop: Under the Tree! Okay, actually I have no idea what this shop is actually named but they sell stuff like fried beancurds & “yong tou fus” & stuff parked under a tree, so people seem to call it under the tree & we kinda stuck with it.
See the tree on the right? You gotta believe us that there is something about this place, seeing that we are willing to eat hot shit under a hot tree shading us from the hot sun
The freshest crispiest beancurds ever, these are fantastic. You may whallop the stuff just like that, or get a bowl of curry & choose to do the following: dip & eat, or soak & eat. Amount spent for this – RM6.90 (with dry noodles)
The mix-pork-internals porridge (that’s the best I can do with my translation, sorry) goes only for RM2.40 here, which is pretty good. But I still think Pusing’s the best
The drinks here are kinda at rip-off price, but we usually go for the Red Bean ice. Do note that next door to this tree-stall is another food court that has more structural concrete & integrity to it, & apparently they sell the same supplied “yong tou fu”s & all there too. However we still prefer the authentic feel of consuming fantastic sizzling fried beancurds under a tree.
Next on the impossible itinerary is a pit stop at this little shop called Funny Mountain for Tou Fu Fa & soya bean!
You may eat while sitting on the limited small benches & stools, or you may line your cars up & they will attend to you in the comfort of your car. For environmental & traffic purposes, I encourage you to just park your damn car & walk a little up the mountain that’s funny, you big fat cows
She claims it’s the best tou fu fa in the planet! (I really hope my translation isn’t as horrendous as it looks to me)
Now we had to find some time to waste while awaiting our stomach to complete its cycle of digestion & for our appetite to recover for the next meal, so we went to the most generally popular hangout place in Ipoh…Kinta City Jusco. Lolz.
Okay, we had no idea what to do aside from getting bored by the sight of similar-styled chicks & wankers, so it wasn’t long before we were spotted lining up for movie tickets. Since Toy Story 3 was full (aik, Ipoh ahbengsahlians watch Toy Story wan ka!), the only acceptable movie that had ticks was the Cruise-Diaz Knight & Day. I’m glad I decided this post was not going to touch on movie reviews…cause I myself was struggling to keep my night away from my day throughout the movie.
:: DINNER ::
Anyway, it was time for my personal main agenda for the whole revisit, the ridiculously delicious Pan Mee at Gunung Rapat!
Only now I realized this shop’s called Restoran Chung Wah
Don’t ask me for directions to this place cause I have no idea how to explain it in detail. Back in uni days we just said it was “somewhere near Suet Yeng’s house”. Now the thing I need to warn you guys about this place is, the food is great, but you gotta be prepared to wait for it. The usual timeline for the food to come is 30 minutes. Some of my friends even walked away after an hour of waiting. But us? We love this place, so it just had to be in the list. The uncle usually starts cooking at 6pm, so try to come at a suitable time, if not you are not gonna get a place to sit, or you might be waiting till 11. Oh, try to sit outside if you can get a place, cause the inside’s gonna get your ass baked to perfection before the food arrives.
Alan told us last time the standard waiting time is 30 minutes upon delivery of chopsticks
You may choose from the soup version…
But this is the real killer. Dry pan mee that comes with killer ikan bilis. Don’t fret, they also give you a bowl of soup with vegetables, meat balls & pork that’s so tender it’ll make you cry
Time to mix up the sauce that’s hidden underneath the noodles
Ready to be eaten! All this for RM3.20 per person – the serving’s a healthy portion I’m telling you!
I seriously do not know how to explain to you how amazing this pan mee is. The sauce is not salty, the soup has a lot of garlic but the taste is so neutral. It’s practically tasteless, so why the hell does it still taste so good? I’m no food expert, but I believe this boils down to the texture of the noodles. Guess this kind of explains why the uncle takes so long to prepare them. In this corner shop, aside from the pan mee there are also 2 other stalls. I suspect the stall that sells fried stuff (chicken, sausages, that kinda snacks) makes loads of profit from people who are too hungry while waiting for the pan mee.
Full & satisfied, there were 2 more spots to hit before bed, but we needed a rest so we decided to check into Impiana Casuarina first. Thanks to our big green company & corporate rates, the two of us have enjoyed the likes of Mandarin Oriental & Awana far too much we found ourselves unwilling to go any lower than Casuarina or Syuen in Ipoh. How times have changed. This is not a good thing!
:: SUPPER ::
The alarm to our snoozing rang at about 10pm. Grumpy & sleepy, we told ourselves that the impossible list is not impossible, so we freshened ourselves in a jiff & jetted off to supper locations. First up, Indulgence.
Don’t go to this place on Valentine’s. It’s madness, I heard. Like Puduraya
Now this place is cosy & really perfect for a long chat, but the meals are a little too pricey for what they offer, so I wouldn’t really recommend their main meals. The desserts however, are a different story. To be exact, we were only there for the Ultimate Brownie. No, I’m not exaggerating, that’s what they really named it. There are many brownies & cakes on display, but we only wanted one, we wanted the ultimate one.
It’s cosy I’m telling you. Lots of cushions like Delicious
Hold on a sec, WTF is this? The serving of the Ultimate Brownie this time around was absolutely pathetic. Back a few years, they served it all warm without the top being melted off. This time however, it looks like something that came out of the waiter’s ass
Thankfully it still tasted as lusciously good as ever. We ordered a 2nd one, however this time we made sure it bore more similarity to the previous ones we loved, so we demanded from the waiter to accompany the brownie with loads of warm chocolate syrup & cream with chocolate powder. They used to decorate the syrups nicely too, this time around the serving & decoration is just plan disappointing. Didn’t anyone tell them that in these kinda places, the food’s gotta look as good as it tastes too?
This is what I usually order, Choco Mellow! Hot chocolate with a marshmellow & chocolate sliced rolls to fool around with. This goes for RM15, while the brownies cost RM7 each
I kid you not when I claim that Indulgence’s Ultimate brownie is the best brownie in Malaysia. Though these little desirable brownies have failed to meet the ecstasy I felt devouring them the very first time years ago, I always leave the Indulgence bungalow satisfied & my teeth a little more magnetic to ants.
Then it was time for the real supper. No Ipoh trip is complete without Lou Wong Taugeh Chicken!
Those guys who work here are pretty noisy & horny by the way
1 person tauge & noodles + 2 person chicken portion goes for around RM14
Best accompanied with my favourite, dry hor fun, you may also choose soup hor fun or chicken rice. Opposite Lou Wong is Onn Kee, which also serves taugeh chicken. They are good too, but I’ve always preferred the extra oiliness & saltiness in Lou Wong’s recipe.
Feeling all bloated & unhealthy, it was time to hit the pillows & rejuvenate for tomorrow.
:: BREAKFAST ::
Day 2 morning found us dragging our feet unwillingly towards the dullness of Casuarina’s buffet breakfast spread. If we had a choice we would gone to Kledang for the dim sum, but since this was included in our bill…well, cuba dulu lo.
What do you see?
Let’s just say the buffet spread did not feel like a spread, more like a splat. Not many choices, & the eggs (scrambled, mata kerbau) tasted suspiciously funny.
:: LUNCH ::
The thought of having lunch at one of our favourite spots kept us alive. Nam Heong here we come!
Now the locals have told us that Nam Heong & the opposite shops are the original shops way back in those days that made white coffee popular. The place is usually packed, so be prepared to share tables with strangers or sit at the back alleys
In our opinion, Nam Heong’s white coffee is a little milkier while the opposite shop’s white coffee has a thicker coffee taste. An iced glass serving goes for RM1.50, or you can tapao for RM1.70 each
But the real reason we always come back to Nam Heong is not only for the white coffee, but the food they offer here. I personally adore the Char Kuey Tiau. But the serving’s very small, so you may want to decide on the “big” option
Nam Heong’s dim sum, though offering very few choices, is delectable. My better half loves those egg tarts…
…& these little buggers. Unfortunately I have no idea how to translate what they are called into Roman letters
That boy on the right has grown up! He used to be this short little rascal who cheekily took orders for kuey tiau & gave me a face when I ordered wrongly last time
Word of advice, you may want to watch where you park your car & where you walk when you come to Nam Heong. Lots of birds happily ready to deploy bombs around the area
That place certainly brought the smile back to our faces.
:: DEMOB & RETURN TO PURGATORY ::
It wasn’t long before we realized we could not check the other spots in our impossible list, as we had to snap back to reality & drive back to face the Mondayness of work. Among the missed spots include our favourite late night dim sum in Kledang, Bercham steam boat & grill, fish head noodles, salted chicken, Menglembu honey chicken, Pusing kuihs & mix-pork-internals porridge, & Starbucks…joking.
I wish we could just make a U-turn
Total amount spent on all the food? RM110. That’s 1.5 days worth of Ipoh food equivalent to a Chili’s meal for two. Interesting…especially when you gotta note that we didn’t really go for a completely budget-food-trip (almost half of that RM110 is contributed by Indulgence & Baskin desserts) so you can about see what the rest is worth.
The revisit project was exhausting, but absolutely satisfying, memorable & worth-it. All in all, the food still tasted as good as ever, exactly as we remembered & wanted to remember them (minus the disappointing service at Indulgence). Left us a little bloated & reeling from indigestion though, haha. In a way, I’ve gotta say I owe UTP a big thanks for this. Because if my university was not located in such a bloody forsaken spot surrounded by trees, monkeys, wild boars & cows, I would not have been introduced to the many small delights of Ipoh.
& honestly, thank God for the wonderful food offerings of Ipoh, because during the many times I’ve been in Ipoh in the past 5 years, I felt like shooting the person who claimed “Ipoh chicks are freaking hot” in the balls.
Last of all, I leave you with a word of advice if you are to give the best makan places of Ipoh a try. Bring lots of tissues (cause none of the above places offer any except Indulgence), & be prepared to sweat!