“Tong Sui” in Ipoh – Where to Find the BestJuly 10, 2010 | 18,942 views
Bubur Cha Cha (also known as Mo Mo Cha Cha) is a traditional Nyonya dessert that consists of boiled sweet potatoes, yam, tapioca (occasionally), sago (tapioca pearls) and black eyed peas (NO, this is the BEANS, not the “Boom Boom Pow” hitmakers) in a coconut milk(santan)-based sweet soup.
Notice that the only time I wrote anything faintly resembling a “tong sui” (Cantonese for sweet soup, a typical Chinese dessert taken after meals, or between the main meals) stall was the post on Ipoh Street Snacks, when I covered the famous desserts at the famous stretch of stalls on Tong Sui Kai (literally translated to Desserts Street).
Not to indicate that I do not have a sweet tooth for desserts. That’s so far from the truth, actually. But in Ipoh, it’s not that easy to find a comfortable place for desserts, like say; KTZ outlets in Klang Valley and its many imitators. Heck, one can even find a Cendol/ABC stall easily in Penang and Taiping. Which kind of explains why I never wrote about Cendol stalls in Ipoh, until recently.
Okay, cut the crap. And here comes not one, not two, but THREE of the more prominent “Tong Sui” outlets in Ipoh. Do provide your feedback at the end of the post, and tell me what you think should be and should not be on the list.
Macy Restaurant & Cafe @ Ipoh Garden East
First up, I have a confession to make. I have been patronizing this particular “tong sui” stall-cum-drinks counter at Macy Restaurant & Cafe for a good few years now. But never, EVER had I sat there and slowly sip on my bowl of dessert. And forget about the idea of lugging my trusty LX3 along and snap the affable lady in action (we have always referred to her as “Foong Jie”, or Sis Foong. But unfortunately, due to nagging health reasons she has been replaced now), because I did not even bother.
But I have since repented for my mistakes. 🙂
Clockwise from top left : Mung Bean/Green Bean Soup, Red Bean Soup, “Mak Juk” or Bubur Gandum/Bubur Terigu, and Black Glutinous Rice Soup.
Each portion of “tong sui” being taken away is priced at about RM2.00/USD0.60 each (with the most expensive being Bubur Cha Cha at RM2.30/USD0.70), and they come in rather generous portions. Enough to be shared among two person.
The selection of “tong sui” from Macy was never mind-boggling, so you can forget about Mango Lo Lo, or Durian-themed desserts, or even Honeydew Sago. Instead, they emphasize on the quality of a few more traditional varieties. Think along the line of Red Bean Soup, Green Bean/Mung Bean Soup, Black Glutinous Rice Soup, Water Chestnut with egg whites soup (“Ma Tai Kang”), Bubur Gandum (“Mak Juk”), Sweet Potato Soup, Bubur Cha Cha, etc.
One of their “special” creation (not available daily); the “Mah Tai Kang” or Water Chestnut dessert is a MUST-try. Albeit the sticky, gooey appearance, the laden with egg whites concoction is very smooth and pleasant to the tastebud.
My personal favourite “tong sui” from Macy? The Bubur Cha Cha. Perfect balance of sweetness, and not overly decadent with excessive ‘santan’ (coconut milk), the tummy-warming soup is by far the best that I have tasted in Ipoh. Plus, they do not skimp on the ingredients, so you will chomp on hefty chunks of yam (taro), yellow sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, sago, and even jelly-like strands that reminds me of Sek Lau Zhi. My only gripe? The Bubur Cha Cha is ONLY available on weekends.
One packet for RM2.30/USD0.70 can easily be poured into three small bowls. Sometimes we wonder do they even earn from the laborious process of shopping for the ingredients, cutting them up, boiling them and then heating them over slow fire. Oh, and they do reheat the “tong sui” before serving them to you. Talk about good customer service, eh?
Tong Sui Stall @ Restoran dan Kafe Macy,
No 1, Jalan Perajurit,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
The “tong sui” is available from morning until late afternoon.
Off-day not sure.
** Tapioca Sweet Soup (Muk Shu Tong Sui) is available on Tuesdays, and Bubur Cha Cha only on Saturdays and Sundays. Mah Tai Kang not available daily, but not sure which. **
MAP TO COME AT THE END OF THE POST.
Sin Hong Kee – Originated from Tong Sui Kai itself, Sin Hong Kee previously operated from a shop in old town, on Jalan Panglima. Then moved to this premise a few years ago.
In town area, the most accessible “tong sui” outlet is Sin Hong Kee on Cowan Street on the same row as Hua Nam and Cowan Street Bean Sprouts Chicken. Opens from morning until evening, the Bubur Cha Cha runs out pretty fast. Understandable, since the stalls at Tong Sui Kai is not opened during the day, most people would have flocked to this shop for their “tong sui” fix, or a light snack.
But personally, I did not enjoy their “tong sui” much. Nothing that stood out, and the small portions at slightly elevated prices (back in 2008, a bowl of each was priced at about RM1.50, and gone in few spoonfuls) marred the experience somewhat.
Sorry no pictures to show here, for all the photos were taken with my Nokia 5610 back then, and came out grainy. I’d be glad to walk over to Ming Court for a bowl of black sesame soup instead.
SIN HONG KEE TRADITIONAL DESSERTS
Jalan Raja Ekram,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
MAP TO COME AT THE END OF THE POST.
All Inn Cafe @ Old Town of Ipoh – Clearly the most ambitious of them all; with more than 15 varieties (probably >20) of “tong sui”, and 10 types available daily
Last but not least, this would probably be the newest addition to the Ipoh “Tong Sui” scene. Opened its doors in old town (opposite of Kong Heng Coffee Shop, beside Wong Koh Kee @ Concubine Lane) in 2008, they had an outlet near Jalan Bendahara in Pasir Puteh back then. Not sure if that outlet is still in operations though.
Bubur Cha Cha (AGAIN?!!) – Can’t blame me. I lurve all this rich and creamy stuff. Especially with lots of sweet potatoes and sago!
We all predicted an early demise for All Inn Cafe back then. Yes, as morbid as this might have sounded, ANY eatery that has opened at the same corner lot was doomed. In a short span of 3 years, the premise has been changing owners like Britney changing partners. Or something.
But then after close to two years in business, All Inn Cafe is still standing and going stronger. With an economy rice stall and a chicken rice stall fueling the lunch crowd in old town, they look like sure-winners now, especially when compared to the dismaying Hwang Chao (my favourite Singapore Chicken Rice stall has moved to Pusing of Perak, of all places!)
One of the safest bet : Sai Mai Lou (Honeydew and Watermelon cubes with Sago in Coconut Milk)
All Inn Cafe constantly comes up with new and creative (sometimes plain wacky) “tong sui”. I once had a Incredible Hulk-green coloured concoction of Green Tea and Milk, while chunks of Gui Ling Gao (herbal jelly made from pulverized tortoise shells) with red bean in coconut milk is another one of their staple.
You can practically have different type of “tong sui” everyday, and not get bored. Some hits, some misses. Initially, we found that the “tong sui” at All Inn Cafe was too sweet. But as time goes by, maybe from the constant complaints of the customers, they have toned down considerably.
Now if only they know when to hold back on the ice cubes!!
Savoury Glutinous Rice from All Inn Cafe @ Old Town – Aside from slightly too greasy, the savoury “Lor Mai Fan” can become a simple light meal on its own.
ALL INN CAFE
No 2, Jalan Panglima,
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opens for breakfast, lunch and until evening.
Besides Sun Yik Restaurant – Chang’s Hakka Beef Noodles
And there you have it! Some of the “Tong Sui” haunts in Ipoh, to satiate your cravings for something sweet. Another equally famous choice is Pusat Makanan Chha Yong in Ipoh Garden South (read Jason’s post here), which from what I heard, is related to Macy Restaurant & Cafe. Is this true?