Shivering from the inevitable 'balik kampung' exodus yet? No fret, as if you're not fond of the highways, go for the trunk roads instead. Not that I'm giving my words suggesting there won't be any traffic jams on the significantly longer and tedious journey on the one-lane roads from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, but at least one can stop over for a leisurely breakfast in various smaller towns, and be amazed by the sheer quality of the simpler, hawker food, aside from the possibly more fruitful and entertaining journey along the way.
Just be sure to endure the incessant "Are we there yet?" nonsense from the young ones, as the rural outlook of the towns and whatever else sandwiched in the middle between the towns may get to a child's nerve pretty fast. Especially if one's tailing a lorry or roadhog at 40km/h.
Kampar is a developing town about 30km south of Ipoh. Previously only famous for the 'Chicken Biscuits' (Kai Jai Peng), Claypot chicken Rice (coincidentally, I wrote about the origin of claypot chicken rice HERE before) and Curry Chicken Bread, Kampar has been transformed to a bustling town complete with a hypermarket, a university, and new residential areas sprouting to cater to the growing population.
For breakfast, hop over to Medan Selera Kampar adjacent to Kampar's wet market that houses an impressive number of stalls selling a delicious array of hawker fare, from the hearty pork porridge and famous glutinous rice to Kampar famous 'Lou Shu Fan' and Char Kuey Teow.
The Char Kuey Teow (fried noodles with eggs, prawns, and waxed sausages) was served on a sheet of banana leaf, and a welcoming half a calamansi lime for extra zing. A respectable portion, enough to feed a big eater (Mr Z had them, not me ... LOL), the noodles was fried with enough 'wok hei' or fire from the wok, hence ensuring a satisfying plate of greasy noodles for breakfast. At RM3.30 per plate, considered a steal if you ask me.
The Nasi Pulut or Glutinous Rice (Stall No 42) was ever so satisfying, with the usual slices of Char Siew, and peanuts, with optional curry gravy, and garnished with chopped spring onions. At a mere RM1.70, one pack or plate may not be enough. Just be sure to arrive early as they finish rather fast especially on weekends and public holidays.
Skip the Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun though, for the taste was a little off, with an evidently pungent taste emitting from somewhere (probably the steamed rice noodles was soaked in some foul liquid).
Location : Medan Selera Kampar @ Jalan Pasar, Kampar, Perak.
Still wondering where the charm from the yesteryears has disappeared to? Sigh ....