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Motormouth From Ipoh

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BETONG - The Dimsum Affair (Part 2)

Continuation from Part 1 ...

Picturesque view from our room's window

Waking up the next morning, from our window, we observe the mist enveloping the mountains, a picture of serenity with swifts flying over the skyline (though not captured on photo). Betong's timezone is an hour earlier than Malaysia's, the same with Bangkok's.

How helpful ...

Funnily enough, the tourist information centre is closed since the day before. Any plans to grab some maps, guides, or a word or two of advice was dashed. Guess outsiders would have to come fully prepare, maps and all, OR risk scurrying around like headless mice (haha, sounds morbid?) But really, the town's not THAT big ...

Mr. Policeman casting a shadow on a fine morning ...

Traffic's on the lighter side, especially at night when we unleashed the camwhores in us, right in the middle of road, in front of the clock tower. (=P) But if you're driving in this town, do be cautious, as the traffic lights system is somewhat different (or the people there couldn't care less about the laws), with vehicles zooming in from every direction although the green light's on your side.

Most restaurants in Betong do not display the English spelling, so remember the shop either by location, or the shape/colour of the building

Situated at the corner of Chayachawalit Road, a short walk from our hotel, Betong Merlin, is this supposedly popular dimsum joint, serving Chinese style breakfast. For detailed map of Betong, please refer to Travelfish's useful map HERE.

He's probably thinking, who's this nosy fella?

The owner's a local Chinese, speaking fluent Mandarin. Therefore communicating my orders was an easy task, given my limited vocabulary of the language.

A variety of dimsum on metal plates, before steamed and poured over some sauce

Unlike Malaysian style of serving dimsum, it's self-service when it comes to ordering, whereby you'll have to walk over to the counter, and pick your favourite pieces. Then he'll steam the dimsum freshly for you, (which may take a good 10-15 minutes) and serve them at your table. Innovative option, as fresh dimsum's always a better choice than those displayed on the trolley and being pushed around.

Stacks after stacks of dimsum for picking

You can opt for steamed fish slices with julienned ginger and chilli, served with their thick, special gravy, resembling Penang's Lor Bak or Lor Mee's gravy

Chinese tea in pot

Oh ya, something out of topic here. I've been in a 'heated' debate with TallGal, ZMin, KYT, KCA and the lot, on the REAL custom of thanking someone when he/she pours for you by tapping your fingers. To clarify this matter, please click HERE. Any objections? ;)

Pork Dumplings (Siew Mai), and Glutinous Rice (Lor Mai Kai)

Prawn Dumplings (Har Kau) and Chives Dumplings (9 Choi)

Economy Fried Noodles

Yam Cake (or is it?)

Other than serving dimsum, there is an additional stall serving chee cheong fun (rice noodles roll), fried noodles, and yam cakes (wu tau kou). The CCF was out of stock, so early in the morning. Tastewise? The morsels of dimsum was a paltry affair, pale in comparison to Ipoh's offerings (obviously). The fried noodles was not impressive either, but the worst had to be the yam cake. Made from more flour than yam, the chunk was oily, tasteless, and offered small cubes of yams as consolation.

Char Siew Pau (BBQ Pork Buns)

Probably we were expecting too much. But fortunately, the Char Siew Pau was passable, and the dough was not of the stick-to-teeth kind.

Though slightly disappointed by the breakfast spread, we were shocked, or rather pleasantly surprised when it was time to foot the bill. Total for 4 pax = RM15 ONLY. That includes everything on the table. To prevent miscommunication, we asked again whether the sum covered the drinks? YES. The noodles and yam cakes? YES. Wow .... speechless. In Ipoh, RM15 can only get you 5 baskets of dimsum at most. Haha .....

We had dimsum AGAIN for breakfast on the next day, when 8 (!!!) others arrived on the second day. But more on that in later posts ... For now, I'll be packing yet again, this time venturing south to Johor Bahru for work purposes. Wish me safe journey ya? Unlike previous JB excursion in April (read about that HERE), this time we have to take the bus. Prepare for a ride, on the bumpy side!!!

Til this weekend, tata !!!


-tAkEmOtO- said...

I went to China before and the i agree with the story presented. However, they use one index finger to tap the table three times. It's also the meaning of "Jia Jia Ni" in their local language or " Xie Xie Ni" in mandarin, meaning thank you.

It does make sense. But who knows?
My friend from HK does that too. Maybe i'll ask him for a more references.

Big Boys Oven said...

Nice place anything interesting at betong?

Anonymous said...

Really nice clear pics.

I do not know about the tapping business for thanking but when I was in Hong Kong, I heard that if you see two teapots facing each other on a table, get away quickly cos it's a meeting of two gangs.

Ciki said...

wow.. these two blogs on betong is making me wanna go! hva safe trip to JB! blogX3:D

Min said...

Oh, really 3 fingers :( Maybe the newer version is two fingers? Tapping with 3 fingers is somekind of inconvenient, hehe.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

wah so cheap 1..aiyah cant compare to hotel dim sum mah..but still looks like a steal!

Little Inbox said...

The dim sum is so so only hor? But price wise, RM15 for 4 persons, damn cheap ler.

CK Lam said...

Have a safe journey down JB and hope to see lots of yummy goodies from the south.

Anonymous said...

Crossing into Singapore? Welcome, any help required, let me know.

My friend just came back from Ipoh and commented there he sees no durians on the trees but cross over you will realise where they have gone and this season the good durians have gone crazily cheap.

Sharon Y. said...

Looks like plates of sushi when everything is laid out prior to steaming! Wow RM15 only.. where else to find

JeromeFo 令狐冲 said...

Walau...go so many dim sum waiting for you to eat! Envy -_-

Darrenmagic said... Post-call and i'm seeing this! All these! Just double my hunger!!! XD

HairyBerry said...

wow..that is very, very cheap...

wah, you quite a jetsetter, hor? how i envy you! ;)

SuwEi said...

Ok, u're right, evidence-based enough. But i still prefer two fingers which is more convenient. Dim sum is!I prefer the dim sum on the second day.More choices and taste better.

J2Kfm said...

takemoto : thanks for the clarification!

BBO : yup, coming up in later instalments! :)

jencooks : REALLY? gee, that's a new one. probably I should watch more HK triad movies!

cumi & ciki : thanks, I'm safely home. though wasted a whole Sat for travelling on a tortoise bus.

min : haha, so now you know. told you I didn't create a story.

joe : oh, tastewise, nothing compared to Ipoh's versions. But so cheap, the taste is negligible!

J2Kfm said...

little inbox : yup, did not even dent our wallets!

ck lam : hmm, not as much as I hoped for, but there are a few gems in JB far and between.

jencooks : yeah! we had a durian feast in Gerik the day before we crossed the border. amazing range, I tell you!

durianberry : to answer your question, NOWHERE! :)

jeromefo : the range is not extensive, considering there were NO fried goodies. Those are my fav anyway.

darren : you're on call and surfing? haha ...

nic : sadly, did not manage to cross over, though it was initially in our plan.

suwei : yeah, planned to blog about the 2nd day's, but maybe next time la.. so so so tiring JB journey

Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for the detail of Betong. I been there decades ago. From a little village to a busy town now. Will visit there one day.I visited the communist town up a hill and that was the only place opened to public. No much shops, now there are Dim Sum ! Must visit there as soon as my husband is free !