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Motormouth From Ipoh

Friday, November 28, 2008

Roasted Duck and Such @ Hong Kong Restaurant ... in Ipoh?

Sinful piece of roasted duck, with thin, crisp skin, albeit slightly gamey flavour

OK, a very short post for the weekend. FRIDAY doesn't come around often ya know.... ;)

HONG KONG in Malaysia ....
There's this REALLY good roasted duck, oil chicken (a direct translation I suppose), and various roasted meats served in a restaurant in Tasek, Ipoh. More often than not, the place would be swarmed by locals and tourists alike, for the years of legacy (walk in and you'll notice the sublime and ancient ambience).

Herbal drinks - Boiled IN-House, and changes everyday
To wash off all the grease, oil, and guilt (hehe) you can opt for their 'leung sui' or herbal drinks. The 'Yeung Sam Sou' was particularly bitter on the day we went. So much that Mr Z could not finish his without squirming in his seat.
Stir-fried long beans with sambal
Other than satisfying your carnivorous cravings, there are various other side dishes, mostly vegetables and such, to accompany your mains. Still remember they serve a mean "Mui Choy" (preserved vegetables?) with Pork, costing RM10 per bowl, but was darn good. Very thick and dark sauces, intimidating yet pleasantly delectable. But on certain days only I think ...
The usual chilli sauce and 'hoi sin' sauce for the duck

A platter of artery-clogging indulgences yet sumptuous serving of meats - Crispy Roasted Duck and Deep-fried Pork with 'Nam Yue'

The duck's skin was crispy, the layer of fat was mostly roasted away. The meat was tender, but this time around rather gamey and strong in flavour. The batter-fried pork has always been a staple of mine; something which can't be easily found in other similar restaurants. Coated with batter, marinated with 'Nam Yue' (translation?), it can be a light snack (OK, as light as I'd portrayed them to be) on its own.
Not exactly cheap, as the platter of meat was about RM18, the greens about RM5, and drinks RM2. Still reasonable, but a simple lunch here may cost RM10 per pax.
Location : KEDAI HONG KONG @ 638-640, Jln Kuala Kangsar, Ipoh, Perak. This is located in Tasek, on the main road of Jln Kuala Kangsar leading to Chemor, and Sg Siput.
No MAP yet, sorry .... =P

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another One of Those Temptations - Mee Kari Ipoh Garden

Another feather in the cap. Another chapter in the "Ipoh's Famous Curry Noodles" saga, after a looooooooong hiatus. (Here's Part One and Part Two, for those who've yet to be poisoned!)

Mee Kari Ipoh Garden .... in Pasir Putih?!!! *_*

This happened some time ago. When we have yet to travel to Betong, it seems. However, this outlet is rather new, opened sometime in the beginning of the year. Or that's what my brain had me thinking. OK, I kinda forgot all the tiny details. And some major ones as well, like... the ADDRESS, PRICE and such. Minor setbacks, no? Sorry lor ..... =)

Notice the COCKLES piling on top of each other?!!! Geez .... I'm so near I could stretch my itchy hands and stole some right away!
The shop's new. But the name isn't. That's why some may scratch their heads wondering why a curry mee restaurant in Pasir Putih is named Mee Kari Ipoh Garden, when Ipoh Garden's a good 10km away! This one is a branch of the famous curry noodles at Aneka Selera, or Tung Koo Thing in Ipoh Garden. Struck a chord?

Sinful bowl of curry noodles
This one managed to impress, somewhere in the Top 5, or even Top 3 in my list. Of course, my favourite Nam Chau comes 1st. The luscious santan (coconut milk) was literally poured into the bowl of orange-tinged gravy, resulting in a rich and slightly spicy mouth-watering concoction, complete with the usual chicken, prawns, cockles and such.

Dry Curry Noodles ... MY preferred version.
I opt for the dry curry, routinely. Somehow the thicker consistency of the gravy, paired with soy sauce and dark soy sauce was deadlier than the wet-ter sibling. But of course, sloppy people (like yours truly) must practise extra caution when slurping their orgasmic fixes, as the combination of BLACK, ORANGE and RED gravies on one's spotless shirt may not sound appealing.
Rojak .... for light eaters. Or greedy ones who's not easily satiated with their bowls of curry mee
They do serve some other variety of noodles, rice and even nasi lemak, I think. In case you can't spot their signature item, which btw, is printed BIG & BOLD on their signboard, pasted on the walls surrounding you, AND practically ordered by every single table in the premise. Ahem.
Oh, the Rojak is worth a try too. The thick and sweet shrimp paste with abundance of chopped peanuts goes REALLY well with the freshly cut fruits. But do remember to order at least a dozen or so (OK, at least two pcs) of their crispy shrimp crackers. Lovely combination. On most days, I eat only the crackers with the rojak sauce.
Location : MEE KARI IPOH GARDEN @ 209-211, Jalan Pasir Putih, 31650 Ipoh, Perak. Got MAP !!! (albeit a shabby one ... correct me if I'm wrong)
Specifically, the shop is near to SMK Jalan Pasir Putih, a secondary school on Jalan Pasir Puteh. Same row with Maybank of Pasir Puteh branch. Feel free to ask for directions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Truely American Food @ David's Diner, Greentown, Ipoh

You know sometimes, when you least expect a place to be special, the food to be marvelous, and the service to be impeccable, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover a hidden gem, unearthed for all to savour and share its glory?

Freshly-opened for business a day before ... David's Diner, a restaurant serving "TRUELY AMERICAN FOOD".... or so they claim.
But inevitably, or in reciprocal, when you put too much hope in an eatery, brimming with fresh concept and spanking menu, you're bound to be slightly, or sorely disappointed. One time or the other. Sigh .....

The ambience sets the mood for a no-frills, American fare commonly seen in diners in the movies, complete with mirrors and artificial bricks on the wall. But of course, Kimball sauces instead of Heinz or a good ol smoky BBQ sauce was a thorn in the flesh ...?

Recently opened ... in fact, they started business yesterday, David's Diner managed to grab our attention with its cool signboard, proudly proclaiming their brand of "True American food." And when we went for another round of Nasi Vanggey yesterday for lunch, we realised David's Diner was opened for business, and offering FREE breakfast on opening day. Shucks ... we missed. But pledging to come one day, we succeeded in doing so today.

Garden Salad

The place was rather packed during lunch, a positive sign of good things to come? The owner is an Indian guy,married to an American lady, and both returned to Malaysia to open this outlet. With so much American influence, one can't help but anticipate in glee for some good ol' American fare.
But sadly, that was not the case. First off, the service was horrendous. Only 2 waiters managing the lunch crowd, plus the countless amateurish mistakes made by those newcomers had some other patrons raging in their seats. And the half hour wait for our food was somewhat distressing, as one of us is strictly bound to the hospital's one hour break ruling.

Italian Chicken Burger Set (RM9.90)

But poor service can be easily forgiven, as staff training takes time, and customer service needs experience. We were not daunted by the many 'black faces' occupying the tables all around us, as I hoped (and prayed) that the food would somehow excelled in response to the shortcomings, proportionate to the longer-than-average wait.
But reality bit me in the a$$ ... HARD. Pricing-wise, all the items are reasonably-priced, with most burger sets below RM10, and the pasta, chops, Mexican Tacos and Burritos, etc will not burn a hole in the pocket. Most mains come with either a soup or a salad, and 2 side dishes of your choice. And credits must be given where they're due, the side dishes list is an honorable 15 items, at least. From the potatoes (mashed, fries, roasted and baked!) to the salads and soups, and mac+cheese and beans+franks, you'll have fun picking 2 of your preference.
Meatball Spaghetti (RM13.90) with Salad and Garlic Bread

Nan's Italian Burger was a miniature version of TGIF's, or Chili's grander version. Even smaller than your average Big Mac or Whopper. OK, EVEN smaller than a McD's Chicken Burger. Seriously. But size does not matter, does it?
The meat patty (chicken or beef) was marinated well, fortunately, with hints of herbs and whatnots (I got a mere small sliver for sampling) and not too dry. But the accompanying buns were measly, generic burger buns WITHOUT toasted sesame that you can easily purchase in bulk from your favourite hypermarket. In short, a Ramlee burger type of buns. The crinkle-cut fries were NOT crispy, and slighty soft.
The spaghetti was far from al dente, soggy and drenched with tomato puree. The flavoursome meatballs and melted cheese saved the dish somewhat, yet the tough garlic bread was nothing amazing. (TallGal's comments, not mine as I sampled few strands of the pasta and sulked).

Popcorn Shrimps (RM15.90)

Dipping the shrimp into the sour salad dressing for some taste .... Notice how small the shrimp is?

My Popcorn Shrimp (12 pcs of S-sized shrimps) came on a big platter. Mostly occupied by the baked potato and the salad. The 12 pcs of shrimps were sitting in one corner, battered and deep-fried. Yup, they were fresh and succulent, but this is NOT a good choice for big eaters, as you can basically finish all the shrimps in two spoonfuls.
Baked Potato

Fortunately, for some carbo-boost, they have potatoes cooked in every way imaginable. I chose a baked one, and some roasted ones. Since their Macaroni and cheese was out-of-stock. Yup, heard that right. Only knew bout this AFTER I've finished my main.
The baked potato was served with very little sour cream, and the potato tasted mysteriously like sweet potato. The four of us could not intepret the REAL nature of the potato. Was it a sweet one? Or the usual one? Hmmm ....

Italian Roasted Potatoes

As replacement for my initial order of Mac+Cheese, I picked the Italian roasted potatoes, as even the Mexican Rice was not served this afternoon. The roasted potatoes, lightly seasoned, were good. Though a bit over-carbo for lunch, I just munched my way through it all.
And ended up feeling darn sleepy for the remaining 3 hours until the magical 5pm.
Will I return for another round of TRUELY AMERICAN FOOD? Hmmm .... Maybe sometime down the line. But not so soon, not before they sort out their teething problems, less-than-stellar service and quality of the food. And service charge's at 10%. Go on and have a try, I'd like to hear some comments from you guys.
Location : DAVID'S DINER @ B-G-1, Ground Floor, Greentown Square, Ipoh.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Taiwanese Traditional Snacks @ Yong He Soya Milk, Ipoh

KLites and Penangites have their Shihlin Taiwan Snacks, with their signature oyster mee sua (meant to be slurped, not eaten), XXL Fried Chicken etc.

While Ipohans drooled away and sulked in one corner ....

Until now.

YONG HE Soya Milk @ Medan Ipoh Bistari

Started business barely a month or two ago, the place has been picking up steam, judging from the breakfast and lunch crowd. Though packed to the brim, the tables and chairs merely occupied HALF of the shoplot, while the larger-than-usual kitchen took up the other half.

Bet they're performing acrobatics in there. :)

Reasonably-priced and various rarely (or in fact, NEVER) seen snacks and familiar beverages

They take pride in their soya milk drinks, served either hot in a bowl, warm, or cold. And indeed the soya milk is good, but not breath-takingly marvelous. A notch above most offerings out there, except the one I had in Hong Kong. But let's not compare.

But the star beverage in Yong He, (at least to me, anyway) is their Rice Peanut Milk drink, served either hot, warm or cold as well. Saw this in TV some time ago, in a Taiwanese food documentary, and was pleasantly surprised to find the drink available here. Milky, yet not overly rich, the concoction reminded me of a typical Chinese sweet soup (tong sui), the Fa Sang Wu, aka Blended Peanut Soup.

They also have salty soya milk, on top of the usual sweet version, and a sugar-free version. Choices, choices ....

There's the Chilli Oil, Garlic Sauce, and Soy Sauce for all your condiment needs

Clockwise from top left : Ham Egg Cake (RM3.50), Bacon Egg Cake (RM3.50), Twisted Bun+Egg (RM3.00) and Rice Roll+Meat Floss (RM2.50)
Serving mostly snacks, one can REALLY pig out here, without a care in the world. OK, maybe practise some self-restraint, but everything's rather cheap here, one can't help but over-ordered. The Egg Cake can be served with ham, bacon, pork chop, etc. Akin to our Popiah or spring rolls, the egg roll is quite tasty as the fried egg with spring onions is fragrant, and paired with either ham or bacon, the combination of flavours work on every level. And dip them into the garlic sauce+chilli oil combination, and the taste was somewhat enhanced tremendously.
The same could not be said bout the twisted bun though, as we find them rather dry, and required some chewing. The rice roll with meat floss filling was another good choice. Very much alike nasi impit (of Sate Kajang fame), the roll is stuffed with lots of meat floss, and a crunchy and savoury combination of choy pou (preserved mustard) and dried shrimps (I think).

The SPICY sauce
Aside from the garlic sauce and chilli oil, they've another container filled with dark, watery, un-assuming liquid, with hints of chilli seeds. Their signature spicy sauce. Unlike the ones usually found in restaurant serving Xiao Long Bao, it's rather diluted, but pack a punch nonetheless. Not extremely spicy though (which would be nice!!!), but would be a tad better had it been more concentrated, as I found it rather funny pouring the watery sauce onto the snacks, rather than dipping the snacks into the sauce.

Clay Oven Rolls + Egg (RM2.50)

Another one of their signature item is the clay oven rolls, dough sprinkled with sesame seeds, baked to crispy perfection, and sandwich-ing either egg, ham, bacon, or any combination (I kinda forgot ... hehe) Just remember to have them FRESH, as it'll harden rather fast.

Meat Bun (RM2.00)
Piping hot from the steamer, the steamed Meat Bun is purpotedly a Taiwanese favourite snack. Forgot the translation, but something along the line of 'Sui Zhing Yuk Bao'. Correct me if I'm wrong, k?
The filling of dense pork meat was marinated and the taste mimicked the fillings of Xiao Long Bao. Minus the soup, of course. Not bad, but be warned; the filling is darn hot when served, hence do not risk burning your tongue over this one.

Radish Cake (RM2.50)
Good ol' radish cake. Or 'Lor Bak Kou', a perennial dim sum superstar, pan-fried to crispiness. Not one of the best, as the soft and soggy cake was slightly different from the usual ones in dim sum restaurants. But still flavourful, nevertheless.
Opens from 8am til 6pm daily, the place is pretty easy to locate. In fact it's at the same row with SSTC Italian Cafe, and Serai Sate Kajang.
Location : YONG HE SOYA MILK @ No 7, Jalan Medan Ipoh 1E, Medan Ipoh Bistari, 31400 Ipoh, Perak. Tel No : 605 - 545 6318
Having trouble finding a good spot for tea-time snacking pleasure? Worry no more. =)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tung Koo Thing aka Aneka Selera - Where Everything's Under One Roof in Ipoh

Lazy, rainy Saturday evening. I'll let the photos do the talking, instead of the usual (motor)mouth's rambling on and on ....

Hahaha ... both scratching in tandem. Confused?

Place : Aneka Selera aka Restoran Kam Wan aka "Tung Koo Thing" aka Mushroom Stop ?

Address : Erm, this one's tough. But here's something to assist. Got MAP !!! Although seriously, ask any Ipohan, or any foodie from outstation where the famous "Tung Koo Thing" is, and doubtful they won't know. Unless they've been living under a shell. Or a rock.

Whoops. I'll shut up. =P

Deep-fried Squids (RM8)
Cheap, fresh and succulent squids. Sadly, the batter did NO justice to the seafood. Tasteless, relied heavily on the chilli sauce. Go for their shells and crabs instead.

Deep-fried-til-damn-crispy-yet-tasteless Mini Baby Crabs (RM5 for small)
From the Lor Bak stall. Perfect as accompaniment for beer, or light snack. Though artery-clogging culprits, no less. If only they're saltier ....

Tom Yum Beehoon (RM4.50)
Toned down for the general palate. Not as authentic as the REAL deal. Yet works in some ways ... With generous ingredients (the usual suspects) thrown in for good measure. Won't fire up your belly, yet piquant enough to be interesting.
Popiah (RM1.60 each)
Bigger than usual, the Popiah stall is directly opposite Meng Wa Seafood stall, somewhere in the middle of the food court. Not too shabby, though the wait may be daunting. She took her own sweet time preparing these babies.

Wan Tau Long (Ai Yee Bing) Jelly with Ice (RM2, I think)

Wash it all down with some cooling jelly, with self-served squeezed lime for that tangy hint, and lots of shaved ice to numb that aching tooth. Refreshing.

OK, happy weekend (or whatever that's left of it) everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

1919 Restaurant & Gallery - Travelling Back in Time for Some Nyonya Cuisine

1919 Restaurant & Gallery had been on my to-eat list for quite some time. But somehow the thought of dining here escaped us on most occasions. The last visit was years ago, probably in my secondary school days. And wasn't exactly a pleasurable experience, marred by the rather exorbitant prices (back then).

But this time around, I was determined, and seeing that there was a special occasion in our family, we picked 1919 as THE place for our dinner.

Fully air-conditioned, and spacious, the place is decorated with various wooden ornaments, and antique-like structures. Collectors are free to enquire about purchasing, btw.

Situated behind Jusco, and facing Tesco in Ipoh Garden East, the location of this restaurant couldn't be anymore strategic. Which kind of explains the human traffic on most nights, especially weekends and public holidays.

Philippines Deep-fried Eggplants

One of my most treasured memories of this place is their signature appetizer of Philippines Eggplants (Brinjals, or Aubergines, as some might recognize them). Not sure what's so "Filipino" about the dish, but damn ... they're good.
Deep-fried with batter, kinda like tempura but not, the brinjals are served with a sweet and spicy sauce and garnished with scallions. Mouth-watering stuff, perfect as snacks, or a surefire way to get the young ones to eat their greens. Or in this case, as green as a purple brinjal can be.

Nyonya Sliced Fish

Popular for their Peranakan cuisine, they offer a myriad of ways to cook the fish. The waitress (who happened to be a friend of my family's) recommended the Nyonya-style Fish Fillets. Thick slices of grouper (I presumed) cooked in a tangy, and piquant Nyonya sauce, partnered with crunchy long beans. Very appetizing, yet not overly spicy.

Antique Tofu

Yup, you read that right; Antique Tofu (beancurd). Treasure trove of bouncy shrimps, mushrooms and vegetables hidden within the hollow cavity of the homemade, silky-smooth tofu.
The gravy made a perfect accompaniment for the rice, and the soft, and egg-y beancurd had us throwing praises. Definitely meant for sharing, if you're going alone or with one partner, refrain from ordering this.

Sambal Mix Vege

Nyonya food's well-known for their spicy and sour dishes. Thus, we ordered our greens cooked with sambal sauce, a mix of ladies' fingers, petai (stinkbeans), long beans and kangkung (water convolvulus). Surprisingly, NOT spicy at all, making the dish rather suitable for the elderly and a stepping stone for the young ones, before they try the fiery stuff later in life.
One minor gripe though, the gravy leaned towards the oily side, and this may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Herbal Chicken

The last dish was recommended by the waitress again, not in the menu yet, it seemed. Herbal Chicken, cooked in a delectable and rich broth, with lots of 'tanghoon' (glass noodles) to soak up the yummy gravy. Evident in the pic above, the chicken was fresh, of the 'kampung' species, with tender meat and glistening yellow skin. One for the grandmas. :)

The meal did not come cheap. Yet rather reasonable. Total for 6, including rice and tea = RM99.25, including 5% gov tax. We'll definitely return for more ....

Location : 1919 Restaurant & Gallery @ No. 1 Jalan Medan Ipoh 6,31400 Ipoh, Perak. Tel: 605-547 7196

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

YOUR Breakfast Of Choice? (Random Food for the Early Birds in KL)

KL houses so many eateries at every nook and corner, you'll be ridiculed for declaring famine in this city on steroid. Want prove? Count the number of floggers (food bloggers) residing in KL and eating (bulldozing) their way through the heart of the city. Waaahhh ......

Ah Weng Koh Hainan Tea @ Bukit Bintang Market

Toasts with Kaya and Butter, and Hainan Milk Tea
Me being a Hainanese, I rely on my cuppa milk tea day in and day out. Yup, I'm somewhat an addict, downing cups after cups of tea everyday. Probably inherited, as my late grandpa was a tea fanatic as well.
One of my favourite spot for breakfast in KL is at the Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang, but some may recognize this place as Imbi market, like how I mistakenly argued with a friend before.
Bear with the sun, the crowd, and the shouting staff ... and you'll be duly rewarded
Not exactly a shop, this stall is amidst the hustle and bustle of the morning market, and surrounded by various stalls, from the purpotedly delicious pork noodles, to Sister's Crispy Popiah (THE Sister's Popiah with lots of branches in shopping complexes). But almost everyone comes for the Hainan tea, coffee or cham (mixture of coffee+tea), and their amazing toasts.
The Apollo bun (traditional big & toasted bun) won me over, but sometimes they run out of stock pretty fast, especially on weekends. So, you may have to make-do with the usual white bread, toasted and generously spread with butter, kaya and lurve. OK, maybe not. =P

Those who persevered and enjoyed a cup of Hainan tea under the 'canopies' :
Location : Imbi Market/Pasar Baru Bukit Bintang @ Jalan Melati, Kuala Lumpur.
One Nite Restaurant @ Pandan Indah
Fancy some REAL charcoal-toasted bread?
Serving Kluang coffee and toasts, this shop had been operating for a year or two. As I stayed in Pandan Indah whenever I'm in KL, this shop had been my pick for breakfast on most occasions.
Finger-licking GOOD toasts. Albeit the wait.
They really toast their bread over charcoal-fuelled fire. Hence the longer than usual wait, but worthy of one. The crispy outer layer was also lightly spread with butter/margarine, and the melting butter paired with their signature kaya makes a deadly filling, as usual.

Thick, and strong Kluang coffee - HOT ....

or COLD.
Coffee-wise, I still prefer my Ipoh's white coffee. Darker than your average coffee, possibly owing to the roasting process, the coffee is stronger with a subtle bitterness in every sip. Try a hot cup, for undiluted caffeine-jolt.
Yam Rice + Bouillon Soup (RM6)
The shop serves not only toasts, but also various dim sum, as well as noodles. The yam rice served with bouillon ("Fa Kau", in Cantonese) was OK, simple and light.

Location : One Nite (19) Restaurant @ Jln Pandan Indah 1/22, Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur. Same row with Steven's Corner, an exceptionally popular Mamak outlet.
But if you feel like eating your breakfast in a more comfy environment, or thinking of splurging on your breakfast yet not excessively, KL has a few cut-throat options. I meant, POSH-er cafes.
DOME Cafe @ Lot 10, Jln Bukit Bintang

Some freshly-brewed latte with biscotti
Beef rasher, scrambled eggs and toasts
DOME serves all-day breakfast with promotion. But this was in April this year. Not sure the promo's still going on or vice versa. At that moment, an additional RM3 will net you a cup of coffee with every breakfast meal.
The coffee was good, as expected. A good perk-me-up with lots of milk (I hate plain ol' espresso!), but the breakfast platter was so-so. Look at the plain, white bread toasted lightly. The beef rashers were good, but a tad chewy, and the eggs can be served scrambled, sunny side up, or poached.
Total damage? Around RM20. Yup, with fame, comes a price.

If you're in no rush, sit back, read a mag or two, and sip on your cup of coffee, while watching the world goes by ....

So, where's YOUR favourite haunt for breakfast? =)