All About Ipoh’s Bean Sprout Chicken – 10 of the BestAugust 18, 2011 | 11,964 views
It’s always rewarding to share. This was essentially the reason why I compiled the Ipoh Curry Mee list, and then the Best of Ipoh Dim Sum list followed suit not long after. The lists saved the hassle of repeatedly recommending the best of Ipoh’s signature foods to visiting friends, relatives and even strangers from the web.
In a relatively shadowy/grimmer manner, this is also a stark reminder of how this Motormouth is being challenged gradually by depleting memory storage capacity; and needs a point of reference every now and then.
So dear cherished readers, in case you are already planning for a road trip to Ipoh this coming Raya holidays; here’s a handy compilation of some of the BEST bean sprout chicken (‘tauge ayam’ in Malay, or ‘nga choy gai’ in Chinese) outlets in Ipoh :
Hands down THE most popular place in Ipoh, and heck … probably all of Malaysia for good old ‘nga choy gai’. They have grown from strength to strength, albeit very stiff competition from Onn Kee situated beside AND diagonally opposite of them.
Yet, feedbacks have not been all rosy. Some have complained of poor quality control, and mediocre standard of service. There were times when the poached chicken arrived with unsightly and unpalatable bloody bits, especially at the flesh closest to the chicken thigh.
But still, can’t deny the lure of a late midnight feast here, dining under the stars (the real deal and the glitzy neon lights hovering from above), and slurping on smooth ‘sar hor fun’ and crunchy bean sprouts.
Oh, personally, I think Lou Wong still does the best blanched bean sprouts in Ipoh.
RESTORAN LOU WONG TAUGE AYAM KUETIAU (click for full review)
49, Jalan Yau Tet Shin,
30300 Ipoh, Perak,
Opens for lunch and dinner.
Usually mentioned in the same breath as Lou Wong, this is the ‘other’ popular restaurant in Ipoh for bean sprout chicken. Better yet, they have TWO outlets within a stone’s throw from each other. One outlet would be ideal if you fancy being seated in an air-conditioned environment (but why would you?), the other being an almost mirror image of Lou Wong; an ‘al fresco’ dining concept with tables lining the perimeter of the restaurant.
However, Onn Kee suffers from a somewhat lackluster push in the right direction towards exemplary customer service. We had to wave frantically for our table to be cleared when we were already seated adjacent to the chopping station.
Don’t get me wrong. Onn Kee actually has better ratings from tourists and locals alike; and people are perpetually torn between the Lou Wong vs Onn Kee debacle.
RESTORAN ONN KEE TAUGE AYAM (click for full review)
51, Jalan Yau Tet Shin,
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Opens for lunch and dinner (about 10-11am onwards, until about 1-2am)
And proud to say, I don’t jump in the bandwagon. Okay, so I tend to possess this slightly haywire tastebud compared to the norms, but wanna know my vote for favourite ‘tauge ayam’ in Ipoh?
Cowan Street’s decades of legacy obviously. They started this whole ‘nga choy gai’ mania waaaaaayyyy back before my time, serving the much-revered chicken, bean sprouts and rice noodles medley by the roadside underneath some trees.
Marred by their notorious reputation of closing their business more often than not; in a very haphazardly manner at that, even the locals got fed up sometimes.
However, on the positive side, their flavourful rendition of poached chicken in a beautifully compelling sauce with a nutty hint, smooth ‘sar hor fun’ (the flat rice noodles you cannot find anywhere else) and crunchy bean sprouts are probably second to none. Small portion? Maybe. And slightly pricier too, but definitely worth the money forked out for.
COWAN STREET AYAM TAUGE & KOITIAU (Click for the full review)
44, Jalan Raja Ekram,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 6012-520 3322 (Ah Meng)
Business hours : Opens for dinner only, from about 7pm onwards.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Now, we will move on to the lesser-known stalls in Ipoh, yet with strong following especially among the locals. Some have labeled this as the Buntong bean sprout chicken. However, there is another stall deep in the heart of Buntong community with that name, and equally reputable stature.
Thus, we still refer to this as the Fifteen Tower ‘nga choy gai’. Seemingly, the proprietor of this is a sibling of Cowan Street’s; which explains the similarity between the stalls’ similar version of kuey teow soup; a very flavoursome broth with a distinct taste and aroma of prawn shells.
FIFTEEN TOWER TAUGE CHICKEN (Click for the full review)
Pusat Makanan Zui Xiang Cun
Jalan Tun Abdul Razak,
A short distance away from the bus station in Ipoh town, and Medan Kidd.
A hidden gem, and a popular haunt among the local community of Buntong. This eatery is housed in the front porch of someone’s house, and you’re practically eating in their compound. Talk about hospitality?
However, the chicken and bean sprouts were doused in a sauce that was much too oily, rendering the experience less than spectacular. Especially if you’re one who does not bring tissues along with you.
Still, can’t deny the homely charm this stall provides, and if there’s any consolation, you can also stuff yourself silly with some beef noodles and stuffed fish paste (yong liew) a few doors away, ALSO from someone’s compound.
RESTORAN AYAM TAUKE (Click for full review)
No 849, Jalan Guntong, Buntong, Ipoh, Perak.
Tel No : 05-255 7469 or 017-5787251.
Closed on Tuesdays. Opens only in the evening.
Now, if you’re staying further away from town and wish to get your cravings fixed without driving all the way to Lou Wong/Onn Kee, where can you satiate that craving of yours?
Kam Hor has been around since 30 years ago. Yup, a case of crouching tiger, hidden dragon? Apparently not so, considering that this lovely couple had a strong fanbase too. And very infamous for the extremely tedious wait.
Sometimes you may have to wait for more than 30 minutes, at times … an hour (!) for your food to be served. Can’t blame them, since they’re already in the geriatric age-group, and they’re not giving up the business yet. A resilient notion worthy of an accolade, and bear in mind that they do not have a battalion of helpers in their shop.
KEDAI KOPI KAM HOR (Click for full review)
No 89, Jalan Canning Estate,
31400 Ipoh Garden,
Now, this stall might not ring a bell, since most people go for the other hawker fares at the Ipoh stadium food court. Rarely did we hear about tourists opting for bean sprout chicken here, as compared to the various stalls selling char kuey teow, rojak, ais kacang, Hong Kong chee cheong fun, etc.
But do you know that Yoon Kee is not a mere pushover?
For more than two decades in business, this stall originated from a humble beginning; by the roadside in front of Sun Marpoh restaurant.
YOON KEE BEAN SPROUT CHICKEN STALL (Click for full review)
Stall No 23,
Medan Selera Stadium Ipoh
Opens at night for dinner daily, except Wednesdays or Thursdays (unconfirmed)
As old school as an eatery can be, Leong Kee is more famous for their porridge than bean sprout chicken. But still, most patrons go there for the best of both worlds.
The dilapidated premise and compromised hygiene state aside, the ‘nga choy gai’ here is a combination of no-frills poached chicken, blanched bean sprouts and kuey teow soup.
Not the instant choice that comes to mind, but still worthy of a visit before the whole stretch of shops become so rundown, a major makeover’s in store in the near future.
KEDAI MAKANAN DAN AIS KACANG LEONG KEE (Click for full review)
153, Jalan Pasir Puteh,
31650 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Business hours : 6pm – 12am. Closed on Wednesdays.
Now if you’re living in Bercham, you would have heard of this place or at least passed by the restaurant. Kah Seng faces the main road of Bercham, and has been there for a good few years. Fond memories of eating here more than we had our fix at Lou Wong back in the late 90’s, but a recent visit revealed the startling truth …..
Quality has dwindled, and this has been struck off the list in favour of the better ones in town.
KAH SENG IPOH RESTAURANT (Click for full review)
No 223, Jalan Bercham Taman Sri Kurau,
Taman Desa Kencana,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Though we usually come here for their signature Big Small Feet (an assemble of pork trotters and chicken feet, braised to a tender level in soy sauce), Kum Kee opens until the wee hours of the morning and serve a reputable bean sprout chicken too.
The bean sprout was okay, being neither here nor there, but Ipoh’s version of the sprout has always been stellar anyway.
KEDAI MAKANAN KUM KEE (Click for full review)
798-799, Jalan Sekolah,
Pasir Pinji, 31650 Ipoh, Perak.
Opens from 6pm onwards, until about 2-3am
THEAN CHUN @ OLD TOWN IPOH
The other famous ones not mentioned in the list:
- A shop facing Jalan Pasir Putih in Shatin Park, same row as Old Town White Coffee.
- Bercham’s increasingly popular Restoran Ayam Tauge Lapan Satu Lapan (818)
- Thean Chun in old town, and the many other ‘kai see hor fun’ stalls. Not the conventional bean sprout chicken outlets.
Got your appetite worked up yet? If the next time you hear of people lamenting ….
“Cheh …. Ipoh only got Lou Wong and Onn Kee for bean sprout chicken, nowhere else that you can go to escape the crowd (and the ‘jaga kereta’ boys) ….”
Then stand on your ground and show them this list. Who knows … he/she might just fall for Ipoh’s bean sprout chicken all over again.