In Bercham, We Run A Food Street Away from the Spotlight …April 26, 2012 | 5,181 views
…. That could still be shying away from the radar of curious food hunters; especially the rampaging kind (read : hungry tourists lining up for ‘tau fu fah’ and dim sum every weekend). And truth be told, deep inside, I really wish for hawker stalls that line the battered/littered streets, back alleys and neighbourhood to remain as such; instead of falling prey to peer pressure of development, mass marketing and hence dilution of authenticity of the street food itself … and ultimately stripping off the burning passion that once carved the aged scars and wrinkles on the faces of the traders our grandparents once knew.
And in Bercham, this couple still brace the blazing hot sun, windy skies and torrential rain to serve up the same “popiah” for years (Popiah = fresh spring rolls loaded with boiled yambean, chopped French bean lightly boiled with egg omelette, bean sprouts, crispy fritters and lightly brushed with optional chili and sweet sauce on top)
And for today, let’s revisit one of the stories lesser told in blogs, guide books and TV shows. The hawker food stalls on Bercham’s Food Street.
Clockwise from top left : The “Char Koay Kak” stall, Nyonya kueh and fried items stall, Crispy Chinese pancake (ban chang kueh, dai gau min, apom balik, or whatever you call this), and Woong Kee Bean Curd that has at least 3 branches all over Ipoh.
Everyday, without fail, come late lunch hours or tea time, the traders around Bercham’s Taman Desa Kencana come alive and a buzz of activities will commence. Numbering about 10 or so stalls, erecting mini canopies for the ‘dining-in crowd’ on the field separating two rows of shops (one with the famous San Chai curry fish head at the corner), it’s always a joy seeing how simple life in Ipoh is.
Especially on Sundays, when families will come in droves; gleefully tucking in into their bowls of piping hot Penang laksa (no match for the real deal up north, but not too shabby either), sipping on fresh coconut juice or freshly blended fruit juices (and this was the FIRST stall I have come across years ago that ingeniously mixed ANY combination of fruits to your liking … now, we have juice bars and counters in malls though), then recklessly (over)ordering sides of popiah, fried spring rolls, prawn crackers, and a multitude of caloric-laden nightmares.
This stall is still going strong albeit competition from at least two other stalls there
Almost every stall has their own tables and stools; some placed on the sidewalks, some on the field, while others require you to stand around and eat. I usually prefer the take-away and enjoy at home route, yet sometimes could not resist digging in on the spot and relishing the endearing moments within the surrounding perimeters.
The popiah here is still one of the better ones in Ipoh; and the only one I’d recommend for a ‘safe fix’ aside from Kong Heng that can prove to be a challenge on weekends (the crowd, the cramped area and the traffic) and who can forget the infamous uncle of Canning Garden!
Opens daily from 9am until about 5-6pm. Across the lane from 7-11 of Bercham, this should not be a chore to locate. Woong Kee ‘tau fu fah’ is just opposite of this.
Pretty good Chinese pancake with peanuts (RM0.70 each; about USD0.20), the popiah @ RM3.60/USD1.20 for two pieces, and the quite forgettable fried spring rolls and ‘cucur udang’ (prawn fritters) at about RM0.80 (USD0.30) each.
I can never buy everything from every stall at once. Sometimes I’d go for a packet of ‘Char Koay Kak‘; a Char Koay Teow variant with chunky cubes of rice cakes in eggs and bean sprouts, a serving of watermelon/apple/lime juice, and maybe a packet of popiah to cap the tea break off.
This time however, fresh from a pretty filling brunch of Ma Ta Liu curry mee, I settled for lighter bites as depicted above. The fried items failed me this time; the fried spring roll loaded with julienned yambean, carrot and fried shallots came a bit soggy, while the ‘cucur udang’ was a terrible choice. I could only finished half of it as the dough was a tad too hardened to chew.
Can you say …”Life is STILL sweet in Ipoh?”
Nevertheless, I have always discovered at least one positive element to share from any street food endeavours, and this time around; don’t miss the popiah from the elderly couple. The ‘tau fu fah’ and soya bean milk from Woong Kee are good too, but I still prefer my Funny Mountain no matter how commercialized/big/giddy-headed they might have become.
By the way, I have always had the impression that there IS one stall selling fried chee cheong fun, but WHICH ONE?!!! Frustration abound when I saw at least TWO chee cheong fun stalls and ONE fried noodles stall yet none that combined this outrageous ensemble together in one serving.
BERCHAM HAWKER FOOD STREET
Along Persiaran Bercham Selatan 1, around the field separating
Persiaran Bercham Selatan 8 and 10.
If you come from Jalan Bercham (Tesco Extra’s direction) towards the inner parts of Kg Baru Bercham, look for a traffic lights that lead you to the RIGHT after passing by the Mobil petrol station on your left, and immediately when you see a tall yellow building named Ritzbina Restaurant on your RIGHT. After turning right, then take a left that runs parallel to the main road but behind the row of shops. that front Jalan Bercham. You will see the hawker stalls soon enough.
GPS Coordinates : 4.630709,101.127647
From day until night, most stalls opened around afternoon until late evening.