Ipoh Street Food – Cheap & Tasty ChoicesOctober 24, 2009 | 40,021 views
Seng Loong = Jackie Chan ?!! You mean he’s doing Char Koay Teow business now? *_*
Ipoh is famous for its street food (or hawker food) more than the restaurants, cafes or bistros. Have your doubts? Stop casting them, and kindly allow me to bring you for a ride around town, for some of the most delicious and cheap street food in Ipoh.
A plate of the most smoky-flavoured, charred and delectably hazardous Char Koay Teow
For one to seek hidden gems in the nooks and corners of Ipoh may take perseverance, guidance, and of course, a belly that’s most vacuumed. Though most of the signature Ipoh delicacies are few and far apart, some even requiring one to travel from one end to another (but rest assured the experience is way, WAY less stressful than food-hunting amidst the traffic in Klang Valley!), there are a few places that serve an amazing array of hawker food, and some commendable ones to boot.
Wantan Mee from Stall No 36 (correct me if I’m wrong, for J2Kfm’s on amnesiac mode come weekends)
Medan Selera Stadium is one such food court; A pool of stalls occupying the whole stretch of lots under those classic zinc roofs, fixed plastic tables and stools, and still practising the ‘order from the respective beverage stall’ rule. Which means that if you’re seated within the zone of A stall, don’t push your luck and order your drinks from the B stall a few lots away. Lest you feel like testing the waters, or rather, patience of the traders.
The fried noodles stall named Seng Loong (ironically, a moniker that the legendary Jackie Chan has been adopting over the years) numbered 32, is opened from 7.30am until 3.00pm, serving his brand of Char Koay Teow to the breakfast-brunch-lunch crowd. Technique-wise, the noodles was fried with sufficient ‘wok hei’, or heat from the wok, resulting in the dry, smoky and charred slivers of flat rice noodles intertwined with yellow noodles (I opted for the mee and ‘hor fun’ combination), generously mixed with bean sprouts, chives, prawns, and of course, eggs. Still far from the Penang’s almost orgasmic varieties (notably, Sin Wah at Pulau Tikus market, and everyone’s favourite Ah Leng Char Koay Teow on Jalan Dato Keramat) but Seng Loong’s one of the better ones in Ipoh, I reckon.
The Wantan Mee in stadium is another crowd-puller, for you can ask any Ipohan for good wantan mee in Ipoh, and this one in stadium is bound to be mentioned. Another stall, numbered 36 … or 22, I forgot which opens at night, while the other opens from morning until noon. Go figure. But the row of stalls are one after another, running about 200metres in total, at most?
Other appetizing hawker fares found in Medan Selera Stadium are for example; Ais Kacang (Shaved Ice with Condiments and Sweet Syrup), Nasi Lemak (early in the morning until lunch) with a killer ‘sambal sotong’ (at the far end of the rows, nearer to the swimming pool), Sri Asoka Corner’s Banana Leaf Rice (click for my post on the famous banana leaf curry rice), Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun, and many others. If you’re on a tight budget, one hand feeding the mouth while the other’s working round the clock, then you’re in for a treat, as a meal at the food court rarely touches the RM10 mark. Unless you go crazy with the orders, that is.
Slithering down one’s throat, Kafe Sentosa’s Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun remains my personal favourite, even beating out the other versions served in dim sum outlets
While we’re on the subject of Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun, let me bring you over to Ipoh Garden South, to a coffee shop named Kafe Sentosa (directly behind New Hiong Yuen, and within spitting distance from New Weng Fatt, famous for the cheap and hugea$$ portions from Thum’s Western Food at night, and Buntong Beef Noodles & Teluk Intan nasi pulut during daytime hours)
Served with their own concocted ‘sambal belacan’ (spicy condiment made from pounded chillies, fermented shrimp paste, and a squeeze of lime), the smooth rice noodles is freshly steamed on the spot, and the uncle manning the stall is a very friendly chap who’s more approachable than Motormouth himself. Wait, since when have I been ‘approachable?!’
With an option of either prawns, or char siew (cubed barbecued pork), or a combination of both, the HK Chee Cheong Fun is served in soy sauce and garnished liberally with fried shallots on top, giving it that extra fragrant and crunch. At about RM2.30 for the small serving, this one beats the one in stadium, the one at Tung Koo Ting (Medan Selera) opposite of Woolley Food City, and even the ones in dim sum outlets such as Foh San.
Homemade style lean Char Siew, without the caramelized edge ….. beautiful pickled green chillies though. @ Kafe Sentosa.
Other delightful street foods available at Kafe Sentosa include the continuously patronized Chian Kee Mee Goreng stall which fries up some mean combination and variation of noodles (though it may take some time come breakfast hours), the Wantan mee stall which pales in comparison to the others, and even a Western food stall serving Chinese-style of American breakfast (irony?), sandwiches, etc. Map to the coffee shop to come at the end of the post.
Orangey-red broth with succulent M-sized prawns. Penang style Prawn Mee @ a random stall at a random coffee shop on Jalan Yang Kalsom
The bowl of fiery looking prawn mee (or Hokkien Mee, as they call it in Penang) was tapau-ed (takeaway) and savoured at home this afternoon. Yeah, very fresh recollection of the slurpilicious experience. Hehe …..
At only RM3.00 (yup, you’re NOT seeing stars) per bowl, the proprietor is in fact from Penang, and speaks minimal Cantonese. A little spicier than the average ones, but the reddish hued broth is such a sweet, spicy and of wholesome goodness, complemented perfectly with 4 shelled prawns, water convolvulus (kangkung), lean pork meat and bean sprouts. You can choose to include pork ribs instead of meat, depending on your preference.
Problem is, I have only been to the shop once, on a Sunday morning. But the stall was closed that morning, after the Mid Autumn Festival celebration the night before. Hence I had some mediocre egg toasts, and did not bother to check out the name of the two-shoplots restaurant.
But it’s situated on Jalan Yang Kalsom, a short distance away from Yong Suan Nasi Ganja, and a few shops away from Up And Up, the famous Chinese eatery in Wisma Kinta serving fish head curry.
!!! UPDATED (25 Oct 2009) – The name of the coffee shop is Restoran Sen Yee @ 25-27, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Ipoh, Perak. Map to come at the end of the post.
!!! UPDATED (2 Apr 2010) – The prawn mee stall is not there anymore. Sadly.
One of the BEST Popiah in Ipoh … and definitely most popular. Challengers? The one that sells on a backlane in Ipoh Garden-Canning Garden comes close.
Kong Heng in old town of Ipoh is no doubt, hands down THE most famous coffee shop in Ipoh. Probably one of the most recognized in all of Malaysia, or am I exaggerating here?
A most nostalgic coffee shop in old town, on Jalan Bandar Timah (read my previous post HERE, dated more than a year ago), Kong Heng was notorious for the stall owners would walk over to your table once you’re seated comfortably, and start to ramble off a list of their dishes. Yup, imagine once seated and before you get to order your drinks, you’re swarmed by people left and right, ala paparazzi style. But nowadays, things are different, and they’re not as aggressive as before. Except one or two of them.
Even the infamous pork satay uncle (seemingly rumoured to recycle the peanut sauce!) stays dormant, and chooses to man his stall, rather than plonk a plateful of the thick cuts of pork on skewers and gizzards/offals/whatever on your table so that you can eat to your heart’s content, and returned the untouched ones at the end of your meal.
The Popiah stall has changed hands. Maybe not many realized this fact, but old timers would have noticed that the stall does not serve laksa anymore. The aunty who popularized the Popiah has in fact, retired and the stall is currently under the helm of another. Not sure if they’re related, but the quality of the Popiah remains tip-top, with the same big servings of either the original steamed popiah skin, or the crunchy deep-fried variant. And the unforgettable slightly thick sweet sauce smothered on top. At RM1.70 per piece, you’re paying for the quality, the taste, AND the legacy.
And the modernized Woolley Food City in Ipoh Garden rounds up the Ipoh Street Food Saga …..
Old town’s rather intimidating in terms of traffic, and limited parking spaces? But still craving for hawker food, and preferably in a comfortable environment? Look no further than Woolley Food City, a huge food court recently underwent renovation, now housing an astounding 20 or more stalls.
Started with Char Koay Teow, and allow me to end my post with another …… @ Woolley Food City
Notable street foods include the Char Koay Teow (albeit a little oily), the Vietnamese cuisine (same management as Vnam Kitchen in Greentown), the South Indian curry rice formerly from Ipoh Garden South (quality has gone down, price has gone up!), the cheap bento sets from the Japanese food stall, and the Chinese pancake (woh peng) from the Chee Cheong Fun stall.
So, where’s YOUR favourite spot for Ipoh Street Food? Of course, this post is far from exhaustive, and merely a filler to clear up the backlogs of photos, some even taken with my camera phone, before I start brandishing my LX3.
Here’s the amazing GOOGLE MAP to all of the places mentioned above.
And I have just updated the page on all the Ipoh Food that I have written about, listed in alphabetical order to ease searching and archiving. Please visit the page that follows, if you’re confused on where and what to eat in Ipoh, click on the following link :
Or, you can also read my article published on Rasa Malaysia’s website on 1st April 2010.