Inconspicuously Thai …May 18, 2010 | 6,369 views
In the spirit of continuing the Thai-related posts (somewhat to lighten the mood, in view of the current dire state of Bangkok’s, presumably?), allow me to venture where no man has gone to before.
Piping hot Tom Yum Soup with Seafood, but somewhat lacking in the fiery & robust departments, and the dipping sauces at Kaneng’s.
There is this unassuming shack of a Thai restaurant (IF you can even call the place THAT!) in Bercham, situated directly opposite of Bercham primary school; SJK (C) Bercham, Ipoh. No ads, no brochures, almost zero publicity, and guess what? Even without a PROPER SIGNBOARD!!
The place is run by a couple (the husband being a local, and the wife being a Thai from Bangkok) in their 40’s, or 50’s possibly, and has been around for more than a decade! But they started the business in Ipoh Garden East (in the premise named KK Coffee Shop formerly housing the now ‘defunct’ Nakhon Pathom Thai Food), then subsequently moving to this place on Lorong Bercham 8.
Serving a mix of authentic Thai dishes such as the perennial favourite of many; Tom Yum Gung (or in this case, a mix of various seafood), Thai-style Steamed Fishes (from RM13/USD4 onwards), Thai salads (the usual Kerabu Chicken Feet, Kerabu Mango, and even glass noodles salad), fried rice (Belacan, Pineapple, Tom Yum etc) and even Pad Thai (Thai style fried rice noodles) …..
Look for this primary school on your LEFT, and you’ll see the Thai Food signboard on your immediate RIGHT, once turning into Lorong Bercham 8 from the main road.
On that scorching afternoon, I was out with Jason in search for food around Ipoh. He was setting his eyes on trying the new (alright, almost a month’s old now) Tutti Frutti frozen yoghurt kiosk at De Garden, but no idea on where to have a substantial lunch prior to that. Hence, I remembered a post by Simple Girl ages ago about this ‘authentic homecooked Thai food‘ somewhere opposite a school in Bercham.
If the calendar, pictures, and condiments do NOT remind you of Thailand, tell me I’m not hallucinating.
Rather easy to locate, but somewhat out of the radar for out-of-towners (even Ipohans, I believe), this Thai Food restaurant is named “Kaneng” (in their business registration cert, not printed on their banners or signboards). The man named Mr Tan was a lovely chap, constantly attending to our needs and apologizing for the delay in the service.
Kerabu Mango (Thai style Mango Salad)
Understandable, considering we were their first customers of the day (they open from about 12pm onwards, right until 10pm), and they were in the midst of preparing their kitchen for the onslaught of customers.
Maybe not. For Mr Tan explained that the place is not doing as well even on weekend afternoons, no thanks to the sweltering heat. People tend to prefer air-conditioned outlets than sweating profusely under the zinc roofs, complete with fiery bites of chillies and spices.
Fish Cakes served with Thai chili sauce.
Browsing through their menu, which comprises of photos inserted into a clear folder, complete with prices and names of the dishes, we unanimously agreed that the food served here is comparatively cheap. From RM4/USD1.30 for a plate of fried rice, to the more ‘premium’ dishes of steamed fishes at less than RM20/USD6.30 per serving.
We started off with Kerabu Mangga, or Thai-style Mango Salad. Usually accustomed to the more sour/tangy versions commonly found in Thai restaurants; using young mangoes instead of ripe ones, the one served at Kaneng’s was sweet-ish, with added crunch thanks to the generous addition of anchovies. Not spicy at all, even a child can appreciate this salad. But avoid the tiny bits of ‘cili padi’ (bird’s eye chillies), else they’ll be calling for momma!
Belacan Fried Rice
Pad Thai (Thai style Fried Rice Noodles)
The Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla) were starchy, and not the best that I’ve tasted. Even the inclusion of finely-chopped kaffir lime leaves did not manage to elevate its taste a notch higher. I still prefer Thai Xiang‘s version which was meatier, and tasted superb with the dipping sauce.
The Tom Yum Soup was passable, definitely better than those average wannabes (at those Thai-Malay warung, especially), but still paled in comparison to Ah Wong’s version (which was, and is still the BEST in Ipoh, but sadly not operating anymore), Thai Xiang‘s spicy rendition, and some restaurants’ version of the famous robust soup from Thailand.
The individual portions of rice and noodles make great, simple and cheap meals especially on days when you’re dining alone. The Pad Thai here resembled the local’s Char Kuey Teow (fried flat rice noodles with eggs, prawns and cockles), albeit with cubed beancurd, and its Thai counterpart’s condiments; Chili flakes, crushed peanuts, sugar and pickled chillies. The Belacan Fried Rice was okay, being neither here nor there, for I don’t remember seeing an ‘authentic’ Belacan Fried Rice in Bangkok, Hatyai or even Betong before.
(If you’re seeking for a damn good Belacan Fried Rice, try Khuntai Restaurant @ Butterworth)
And the front of the shop, sandwiched between a saloon, and a bungalow.
The meal came to RM30/USD9.40 for two, including drinks. We definitely over-ordered a little, for we were struggling towards the end of the meal. Portions were more than ample for two, so be warned.
Although this may not be the BEST Thai Food there ever was in Ipoh, it sure is one of the first fews! Yes, and in Bercham, Mr Tan laid claims that they’re the FIRST. Plus, they get their ingredients from Thailand (Hatyai, especially) from time to time. And seriously, nothing beats a pleasant feast brimming with spices, herbs and bursting-rich flavours on a hot and humid day.
THAI FOOD OUTLET (Makanan Thai Kaneng)
No 583, Lorong 8,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 6016-560 7908.
Business hours : 12pm – 10pm daily. Closed on Thursdays.
(Directly opposite of Bercham primary school).
Here’s an attached GOOGLE MAP to the place.
For the other Thai restaurants in Ipoh, consider reading these :
Koh Samui Restaurant – Two branches, one on Cowan Street, another behind Jusco
Sukhotai @ Sumto, and Thai Xiang Restaurant – Both in Bercham
Black Canyon Coffee @ Jusco Kinta City …. erm, can this be considered?
Yum Yum Restaurant – An old favourite, serving a mix of Chinese-Nyonya-Thai cuisine
Restoran Waritha – A Thai-Malay restaurant near to Simpang Pulai town.
And the Assam House’s, and Kim Bali’s which I’ll be getting to … later.