Right in the middle of town, a few blocks away from The Store supermarket, is this hawker food centre, housing at least 80+ stalls, dishing out 'halal' food, as well as an array of Chinese hawker fare.
This colonial building is in fact, a premium-priced hotel by the name of Peace Hotel, serving 5 stars dishes, with a posh spa, gym facilities, and a swank pool to boot. Yeah ... right. (Hehe, me and my sarcastic thoughts. Blame it on the weather)
In case you missed the food centre, which I highly doubt, you can look for The Store supermarket (the orange building at the background of the photo above, OR you can look for this Jurassic of a building). It is facing the food centre.Surprisingly, hygiene is maintained quite well. Just don't look into every nook and corner ...
With so many stalls to choose from, and typical us who woke up later than expected (",) we could not scout the whole area, skipping the Malay and Indian stalls. The drinks are pretty cheap, by Ipoh's standards.Til now, I've no idea what this lady is selling. Yeah, me and my battered tastebuds. Deep-fried Radish Cake? Rice Cake? (Rm0.40 per piece)
While waiting for the auntie to scoop the sweet sauce for the deep-fried blocks of artery-clogging snacks, my motormouth babbled and chatted her up. (NOT for the wrong reason, mind you =P). She explained the nature and name of the kuih, but my bad command of Mandarin got me nowhere, and with my tails between my legs, paid for them and scurried away to oblivion.
The texture and tasteless nature of the snacks suspiciously resembled Lor Bak Kou (radish cake) commonly served in dim sum outlets. But with a twist. They were served with a type of sweet sauce, with a hint of chilli in them. In fact, the sauce reminded me of the gravy for chee cheong fun (flat, rolled rice noodles), which brings me to ......
This plate of smooth Chee Cheong Fun (CCF), served with a type of sweet gravy and chilli sauce, sprinkled generously with sesame seeds, dried shrimps, and fried shallots, was very much alike Ipoh's version, BUT with another twist. (Anymore twist, and you'll figure this might be a plot in M.Night Shyamalan's upcoming movie) You can request for additional yam cake to be served with your plate of CCF. Yup, sounds strange, but the bland yam block provided a powdery, chewable texture to the noodles. Interesting.Peanut Pancakes (RM0.50 each)
We Ipohans call them 'Dai Kow Meen'. Penangites recognize them as 'Ban Chang Kuih'. Some call them Apom. Whatever they're known as, rest assured all towns with a sizeable Chinese community would have stalls selling these snacks.Char Kuey Teow with Eggs (RM2.20)
Ah Leng Char Kuey Teow. Translation? The Pretty One's fried kuey teow. Portion was big, enough 'wok hei' and with lots of ingredients thrown in. Without prawns or cockles, as KYT avoids seafood like the plague. Hehe ....
Location : Chee Cheong Fun @ Stall 71, Ah Leng Char Kuey Teow @ Stall 83. The rest easily located. Pusat Makanan Larut Matang @ Jalan Iskandar, Taiping.
Mum was raving about some famous Aulong Heong Piah (a type of biscuits with malt sugar filling, and crunchy outer layer sprinkled with sesame). But Aulong is another area nearby to town, but with mazes of housing area. We were lost on the 1st day, unsuccessfully tracking the confectionery. But all's not lost.
On the 2nd day, a local girl was with us (praise be to her?), and hey! She knows the way around Aulong, and even suggested a few shops famed for their biscuits. We managed to crawl our way to Eng Huat Food Mfg & Trading, in Taman Bersatu. I highly doubt I can re-locate this shop, but help's always available (right, Ms NWN? =P)They bake a whole range of products, for sale, and displayed a 'halal' certificate. Normally, Chinese confectioneries do not cater to the Malay crowd. So, one-up for Eng Huat. I bought a packet each of Heong Piah (RM3), Kaya Puffs (RM5), and Hup Toh Soh (RM2.70) (a crispy biscuit made from wheat flour, sugar, eggs).
Only the Hup Toh Soh managed to impress me, and had me chomping on them with delight. The Heong Piah are OK, but fell short of expectation. The Kaya Puffs are best avoided altogether.Union of the Sweet and the Crumbly ... Aww ...
Location : Eng Huat Food Mfg Trading @ 261-262, Jalan Pak Cik Ahmad, Taman Bersatu, 34000 Taiping. Tel : 05-8076148.
Nothing beats curry-drenched white fluffy rice with meat & vegetables (RM4.90)
Final meal of the day in Taiping was at A.Rahman Nasi Kandar Restaurant, somewhere in Medan Taiping. Sorry, no exact address. The fried chicken was delicious, fried to perfection but still manage to retain the moisture of the meat. "Kuah campur" (mixed curry/gravy) is what I normally order whenever I have nasi kandar, since my days in Penang. Plus point is the curry here is spicier than the ones in Kayu, Khaleel, Pelita etc, providing much-needed kick.
With that, the 2 Days, 1 Night Taiping Getaway came to a halt. Still a lot of undiscovered gems in this town, definitely. Pledge to return in near future (supposedly end of this month, but major changes in government's policies forces us to be prudent, and .... well, let's just wait for my post at the end of June. You'll see).