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Motormouth From Ipoh

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The NEW Foh San - And The Astounding Ripple Effects !!!

Unbelievable. That's the word to sum up the experience this Sunday morning. I pushed my luck, trying to see if the hype's justified, judging from the repeated claims that Ipoh's "Dim Sum Street" is perpetually jammed up with dim sum lovers, from morning until early afternoon. Even on weekdays!

The gigantic new lot that was specially built, with a generally more spacious seating area, albeit with modern influences as compared to the previous outlet

9 am should be early enough, on a Sunday morning. Or at least that's what I thought. Given the new location's humongous dining area, it did not cross my mind at all that the place would be soooooo packed. Both floors were fully occupied, and the 'vultures' perched on every corner were daunting, eyeing and scrutinizing every action of the (damn lucky) ones seated and picking on their morsels of choice.


The sea of people everywhere, as if FREE food was being distributed! Notice the specially-designed Take Away counter? SWARMED!

Unlike dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong, or maybe in KL (not so sure, as I doubt there are dim sum restaurants with such impressive traffic flow!), whereby numbers would be given to those queueing up, to ensure everyone gets their table, fair and square. Foh San however STILL practises the same old routine, ie : The "Let's Stand Around with Sharp Stares & Grunts, & Give the Patrons some Pressure, so they DO NOT refill their pot of Chinese tea any Longer & instead Buzz the Hell Off!" rule.

Seriously, this does not bode well, as the customers may feel threatened, disturbed, and their breakfast experience marred by the incessant urge to empty their seats ASAP.

But on a positive note, the place does look spanking clean and new, with a brighter, and generally more pleasing atmosphere. Though lacking in terms of the original Foh San's nostalgic ambience, they compensated with wooden panels, classic windows, and rustic furnitures.

The restaurant can easily fit several hundreds patrons at one go. But this morning, the ones standing/lurking around, with their steel-y glances may even outnumbered the ones stuffing their faces with the sumptuous dim sum. Hence, we made an early retreat and proceeded to Plan B.

The crowd @ Ming Court was spilling onto the sidewalk! WHAT?


Plan B - Ming Court Dim Sum right across the road. With that many people in Foh San (probably half of Ipoh's Chinese population .... hehe), we expected the other competitors along the street (Jalan Leong Sin Nam aka Dim Sum Street) to be swatting flies, succumbing to the almighty Foh San.

But we were dead wrong. Here's some evidences .......

Chef Fatt Hong Kong Dim Sum - A new addition to the scene (not so new though, opened a year or two ago, but without much fanfare)

Ming Court Dim Sum Restaurant has always been the top contender to Foh San's crown. Some may even argue the fact that Ming Court actually serves BETTER dim sum than the old Foh San. Yup, I do agree that the variety of dim sum at Ming Court is a notch above Foh San's, but the dainty morsels had me feeling dissatisfied time and again. Prices are generally the same across all outlets, and tastewise not much difference.

Chang Keong Dim Sum - Many may not even recognize or notice this restaurant beside Kedai Makanan dan Minuman Hua Nam. They operated at a stall in Hua Nam previously, but ventured out on their own now.

Yoke Fook Moon - To complete the BIG 3 of Dim Sum Giants, this restaurant seems to be at the losing end, due to the very near location of both Foh San and Ming Court now.

All the other dim sum outlets around the area were fully packed!!!! Even the lesser-known ones, and even the coffee shops surrounding the area. The whole road was jammed up with cars, people, kids, animals, and whatnots. Hehehe .. OK, maybe not animals.

People from all walks of life, be it locals or tourists from other states, were probably pushing their luck like yours truly, wondering how the epitome of Ipoh's dim sum restaurant; Foh San, looks like now at its new location.

Go and have yourself some Chee Cheong Fun, Dim Sum (again?!) and Egg Toast from Hua Nam, if you're frustrated with the wait!

So we surrendered, white flags and all, and decided to have our breakfast the simple way; at Hua Nam Coffee Shop across the street. Only to be greeted with another mind-boggling sight of a large crowd of people feasting on the hawker fares. Geez .... is there no other place for breakfast in Ipoh?!


Mee Gopeng and Yong Tau Foo (noon only), and Char Kuey Teow on banana leaf

Hua Nam has always been one of my favourite haunt, back then when I was working nearby Greentown area. But since moving to old town (jobwise, of course), my visit to Hua Nam has been lesser and lesser.

But of course, given the fact that this area is no doubt THE hot spot for dim sum, there's even a stall in this not-so-humble coffee shop selling dim sum to the masses! Tastewise? Forgettable. Go for the char kuey teow instead, which is good in its own right; comparison with Penang's authentic versions notwithstanding. The egg toast came in bite-sized cubes, toasted with margarine, then served with 2 half-boiled eggs. Still prefer Nam Chau's version, but this should do on average days.

Bigger than the average budget hotel, this magnificient restaurant will book (or maybe already had!) its place in Ipoh's history ......

Sorry if you're feeling duped into believing that this post covers all of Foh San's delicacies. Promise there'll be another write-up in the near future, ok? As of now, I certainly am not in the mood to jostle with the maddening crowd!
Here's a MAP, with all 5 dim sum outlets around the area, within walking distance from each other. Parking's sure to be a problem here, given the already limited lots around the place even before Foh San moved in. Do bear in mind that this area is a HOT SPOT not only for your favourite dim sum joint, but also a popular target for the enforcement officers from MBI, aka those who write you FREE tickets. ;)

55 comments:

Wilson Ng said...

Finally! Maybe next time, I will stand a chance to eat there. Thanks for the info...

worldwindows said...

Went to Ipoh for a overnight working trip. Thinking of the new Foh San but knowing the repressed dim sim souls I better not go. Next time, like what you say, I will be back with a post after a good breakfast!

Selba said...

So many places for dim sum in Ipoh! How great! :)

Bangsar-bAbE said...

The place is so much bigger...still have to wait??? 0_o

KCA said...

wow!!! reli reli unbelievable wo.. hehe.. this morning we planned to go there too.. coz sis came back.. luckily changed our mind.. if not we sure wil get disappointed lo.. =P

550ml jar of faith said...

You mean the move's over and done with!!? This is something really regrettable, that I didn't final dibs on dim sum at that old Foh San. The new one looks, well... sterilized somewhat... and yes I find the hovering table queues distressing!

Nic Da Nic said...

i went to yoke fook moon
before i go back to johor
erm...nice dimsum there
but
the boss so lcly
haizzzzzz

Julian Si said...

Excellent write-up, well done! Wow, I would never have thought so many people would queue for so many different dimsum joints!!

I miss Ipoh ... :-)

thenomadGourmand said...

wahhh...so all come then cant find plc to sit, then proceed to Plan B til D (frm one dimsum plc to atr) till they get their fix,( i think...)
CRAZY. But yeahh..finally a local fare tht beats DONUTS horrr???

cariso said...

Wow! SO difficult to get seats at new Foh San uh! This is definitely not a good news for my next trip, man!

allie said...

I had my last dim sum at the old foh san outlet weeks ago. But I kinda feel that the taste is not as good as it used to be.. or my tastebud changes... or am I benchmarking it with Hong Kong one? That'd be so unfair of me!

Joshua Tu said...

OK, James, u success in luring me to Ipoh! One day I shall come and tackle all the dim sum big 3!

fcoe said...

eveyone went there and came home disappointed!goodness..looks like we have to camp outside foh san to get a chance to have dim sum!so lets try one weekday:)

fcoe said...

eveyone went there and came home disappointed!goodness..looks like we have to camp outside foh san to get a chance to have dim sum!so lets try one weekday:)

qwazymonkey said...

Wahliu! That's massive!

Missha-SanXD said...

where is the new Foh San Dim Sum Restaurant? lol i'm going back to Malaysia next week and i'm trying to mark down the restaurant that people review.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

looks like nothing has changed la..foh san = 6am hahaha

ck lam said...

Had my last dim sum breakfast in the old Foh San with you.
Hope to have the first with you again in their new outlet but looking at the crowd, I think that have to wait, right?

UnkaLeong said...

Love the steamed fishballs from Yoke Fook Moon.

soo sean said...

Did not know that the new Foh San has opened. Being a local, my family need to arrive at dim sum place before 8am to secure a table. Cham! So we seldom go dim sum these days as we need to wake up to early.

Missha-SanXD said...

lol why do you guys go and eat dim sum soooo early? lol i usually eat dim sum after 12

Simon Seow said...

Wah lau eh, Foh San so grand already. They should start implementing queuing system, if not it will be chaos.

J2Kfm said...

Wilson Ng : you do 'stand' a great chance to eat there. from all the standing around. try avoid peak hours.

worldwindows : probably in weeks or months to come. hahahha ... cant bear the thought of queueing for a table.

Selba : true. it's almost a heaven! hahahah.. for dimsum lovers that is.

Bangsar Babe : surprisingly! i was thinking, so spacious yet gotta wait?!!! ridiculous.

KCA : go ma ... then can bump into me, then eat hua nam instead. =P

550ml jar of faith : the old one's history ... from the ever-increasing rental! its mad, if you know the amount they're paying per month back then!

Nic Da Nic : the boss? really? its been years since i've been there, but the dimsum there not so memorable, to me at least.

Julian Si : true. in KL probably there are more choices, even the Hong Kee also branched to so many areas, the authenticity has somewhat dwindled.

TNG : donuts? hehehehe .. dun remind me. darn sweet stuff.

J2Kfm said...

cariso : can ... try arrive early, or go on weekdays.

allie : dun compare with HK's! the ones there diff cz fresher, and pricier!

Joshua Tu : come lah, book yourself a ticket NOW! since you also serial traveller ...

fcoe : let's! how bout next week? hehe ... this wk cannot lah.

qwazymonkey : big hor? almost unreal.

Missha : this restaurant is same road with Ming Court. refer to the MAP I've attached.

Joe : true. IF you can wake at 6am!

ck lam : erm, come lah! we try our best. ;)

UnkaLeong : really? me forgot what's their specialties though.

soo sean : true. go on wkdays better. if can lah ...

Missha : after 12??? no chance. hahahah ... they open til 2pm though. u can try ur luck.

Simon : true. they should provide chairs for the ones waiting, and give numbers.

Pureglutton said...

Ya i heard they have opened last week but it's really madness there - whole place all jammed up. And they really shd implement a proper queue system. Better give them a couple months to settle down, haha - heard the food quality there is not so consistent now.

jason said...

The battle of the dim sum restaurants in Ipoh!

And I still can't figure out where's this new place of Foh San... can't remember if there's such a big vacant area in Leong Sin Nam street...

Missha-SanXD said...

lol i have a question, do they still put Dim Sum on your table and ask you which plate you wanted? or do they have the cart? Cause the last time i went to the old Foh San they placed everything on my table before i got to sit down on my sit and i was terrified lol -.-"

CUMI & CIKI said...

i dont think i cld evah wait dat long.. no matter how good.. eek!

Hulk said...

this is definately known as DIM SUM KAI of Ipoh. Seriously...is one concentrated dim sum eatery area in Ipoh.
I was there on friday as I took leave for to watch Transformer. I took almost 1 hour to spot a parking space, while waited almost half hour for a seat at Foh San but eventually gave up & adjaourned to Ming Court.
I must say..its like a PALACE,bet food price like one too.
Will I go again...will see? I stick to Ming Court as I felt taste better then the Foh San.
And yes..the moment you sit, all the tiny plates with micro size dim sum will be placed over the table.
I hv to return all to its original serving tray.
The bill for 2 came to RM28.00 yet I crave for an early lunch after thet.

reanaclaire said...

hi..greetings from IPOH.. so that was what the crowd was about.. i went on saturday around 11am, got stuck in the jam along Hua Nam, wanted to turn in foh san, impossible! so ended up turning left at the traffic light and back to ipoh garden stadium for my brunch... sigh... as u said, no other place in ipoh for breakfast meh? :) as cantonese ppl say, "sun see hang" hahaha... maybe in days or months to come, not so jam.. hopefully!

J2Kfm said...

Pureglutton : yup, heard the same grouses as well. maybe cz they make them in large batches, so quality's compromised?

jason : its near to the bridal shop. next to it, i think.

Missha : erm, this time i didnt eat at Foh San, for the sheer number of people. but previously at the old outlet, they dont come that often to your table anymore.

Cumi & Ciki : sometimes, if you've the time to spare, or not that famished, its ok to wait abit. :)

Hulk : truth be told, I gotta try Ming Court another time, from the various positive comments on the dim sum. cz its been quite some time since I've visited.

reana : 'hopefully' .... i just hope to go for a simple breakfast someday, and see what's the fuss all about now. in the new setting...

boo_licious said...

That is such a huge place but sadly, it looks like it lacks that old world atmosphere of the previous place.

email2me said...

OMG! Ipoh dim sum rush is crazy .... With that kind of crowd, I rather skip. =.=||

ai wei said...

one word ---- WOW!!!

really good? guess it is a must to visit when travel to Ipoh hor?!

J2Kfm said...

boo_licious : true, it kinda lost the nostalgic feel of the former. anyway, do go early if you guys are coming on a wkend.

email2me : hmm, depends if you're REALLY going all out for dimsum. if anything also can, hehehe ... just stick to white coffee and curry mee!

ai wei : i've yet to try the new place myself, but should be more or less the same as the old one.

Lingzie said...

wow!! the new Foh San is HUUUUUUGEEE!!!

and all i can say is...ipoh 'lang' REALLY like their dim sum! lol

sc said...

woah, foh san is grotesquely huge. incredible...

Wilson Ng said...

I show my wife the new "foh san" pictures and she said...

"WAHHHH!!!"....

See Teck said...

Lucky me for not going there last Sunday, 5 July 2009, morning. As expected, the place should be very pack.

Ipoh folks like dim sum and Sunday morning is THE day!

Dragon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
allenooi said...

wow, the foh san building is just amazing. need to find one day and go ipoh to have dim sum already. hahaha.

mimid3vils said...

I scare ppl waiting behind me when I having my meal =.=''

iamthewitch said...

OMG look at the crowd! It's crazy! Last time the road in front of Ming Court was still bearable but now with Foh San nearby, *faint* I can't imagine having bfast there anymore. Probably go there for lunch or brunch would be a better idea...

foongpc said...

Wow! So good business? Looks like no one is suffering from the economic downturn or afraid of H1N1!

Photos of the food make me drool. Yummy!!

iamdoryfish said...

wei, seriously, 9am is consider late to have dim sum in ipoh. :P kakakka, your comment on the let's stand ard with sharp stares and grunts...are very funny and true :D I support ming court more than fo shan, and to me, taste wise, they are MUCH difference and better!! Yum

Nic (KHKL) said...

WOAH! like free liddat...haha! and they said the economy's going down...

i guess weekends are the best times to get together and catch up over good breakfast. hence, the crowd la. what i cant explain is the weekdays crowd! haha!

Hulk said...

Buddy! There's this new Cafe opens at somewhere Greentown. Its a corner bungalow building convert (along the road of Nasi Ganja). Right opposite...this muslim chinese outlet call Laksamana Chen Ho. I dont see the signboard up just yet but then the place is crowded during weekend. Wonder if u been there?

Sorry way off the dim sum thing.

J2Kfm said...

Lingzie : yup, but not only Ipoh lang ok? outsiders also like dim sum all the same. :)

sc : grotesquely? now that's a strong adjective!

Wilson : wah indeed. completely unlike the old one eh?

See teck : had you gone there, we wouldve bumped into each other. and ended up at hua nam, maybe. hahahah ...

Dragon : you swore?! haha ...

allenooi : true. and eat them all up in one morning's worth of marathon!

mimid3vils : its annoying, really. when you felt like even your conversation is being eavesdropped at.

iamthewitch : the whole place is congested. we parked a few streets away, to be safe.

foongpc : H1N1!!! nobody thought of those really. FOOD come 1st!

iamdoryfish : yeahlah ..i know. they open frmo 630am onwards anyway. hehehee ... Ming Court REALLY REALLY that good? ok ...

Nic : they're slightly better, the wkdays crowd. but where got time to go leh?!! need to work ma.

Hulk : i think it's Island Red Cafe. commonly found sprouting everywhere in penang, and KL.
it's more or less a cafe-cum-kopitiam of sorts.

backStreetGluttons said...

Looks like olde Ipoh is trying its darnest to regain its lost stature as the gastronomic capital of Malaysia , a title which it losted to Penang many years ago !

wtH at least it shud comfortably still be the best Dim Sum center , now raised by a few more levels ?

J2Kfm said...

true. even more established with the formation/crowning of the so-called Dim Sum Kai of Ipoh.

Big Boys Oven said...

Awesome, this is awesome, defintely be back for the dim sum! I heard the lady owner of Lok Fook Moon is not well!

J2Kfm said...

BBO : not well as in? me dunno. cz din step in for a good number of years. (psst ... actually me also lazy to queue up for a table for dim sum in the early hours of the AM!)

Mummy In Vain said...

i just dunno y! i don't think Foh San's dim sum is good.... y still many people like it?? Ming Kok is better a lot!

J2Kfm said...

Mummy in Vain : really? you're definitely NOT the 1st to say that. ok, i'll do Ming Court justice and go for a visit someday.

Chee Kean said...

Sorry..i am confused..Foh San shifted or they have a new branch now???