Lim Ko Pi @ Ipoh Old Town – Bringing Heritage Back to the SpotlightAugust 29, 2011 | 10,217 views
Charcoal-toasted Bread with Butter and Kaya (RM1.60) – A faint hint of smokiness from the grill, with a distinct fluffiness preserved in between the toasted surfaces.
And finally, after a month or two of tease, I made my way to Lim Ko Pi in old town of Ipoh. This relatively new coffee joint has been in the limelight almost immediately after business has commenced. This concept of refurbishing old buildings into a quaint coffee shop/cafe is not new in Malaysia. But in Ipoh, this has to be the pioneer. So kudos.
Unless of course, this aged mind plays trick on me again. (If there’s any other rejuvenation of heritage premises into a commercial trade without compromising on the beautiful facade, please correct me)
I spy with my little eye …. the fusion of the old and new elements. An iPhone and a ‘gold-painted’ stand fan for the artificial breeze.
You might have the impression that Lim Ko Pi is but another run-of-the-mill kopitiam in the league of the many others, eg: Old Town White Coffee, Pappa Rich, Hailam Kopitiam, etc.
I had the same doubts too. Only to realize that this was anything BUT another mirror image of the mighty Old Town. Read on and see why …..
Gorgeous right? Of all the cafes/kopitiams in Ipoh, this has to be the one that stand out the most. In terms of ambience; sheer classic in its decorative works, and the selection of foods in their repertoire.
First thing’s first. Mr Lim is NOT a local. But his wife is an ‘Ipoh mali’, thus the passion to run Lim Ko Pi and develop this brand into something even the locals would consent to. He hails from Alor Star, Kedah, and surprise, surprise.
This is their FIRST venture into food and beverage business. And to quote Mrs Lim;
“We are still in our infantile stage. Still learning the curve and trying to make do with whatever resources we have.”
A garden view? Al fresco sounds fabulous on a chilly morning, but come afternoon, this seems more like a novelty than a real dining area.
Everything’s made from scratch. The signature freshwater prawns curry noodles from Pusing (a famous brand, brought over by the originator’s daughter), the asam laksa with a twist (only on Tuesdays and Saturdays), the Hokkien Prawn Mee (Saturdays only) and nasi lemak (Fridays and Sundays only).
They only cook a limited amount of food per day. They believe that wastage of food is a huge NO-NO, from their personal experiences of seeing buffet spread being dumped at the end of every day. Thus, if you go slightly later in the day, you might be frustrated as aside from toasts, there will be nothing much in it for you.
We arrived at about 1.30pm, and only 4 servings of curry noodles were left. We took one; the Dry Curry Hor Fun (flat rice noodles) with 4 medium-sized, fresh and succulent river prawns. At only RM5.50 (!) per plate, this was more than a steal. The dry curry was a cross between the thicker, coconut milk-laden style of Nam Chau’s, and the more robust/spicier version available elsewhere. But the prawns were of top-notch quality, bearing a very fresh and juicy flavour.
How to miss white coffee in old town of Ipoh? Aside from the usual white coffee, they also have a Coffee 98 (that’s seemingly darker, and thicker than the usual), and coffee without milk (kopi-o) and kopi-c (with fresh/evaporated milk only) (White coffee – RM1.80, Cham and Milk Tea – RM1.60)
Lo and behold. Even the other items have run out. Only 4 pieces of stuffed fish paste (yong tau foo) were all that we could muster, and the crowd that came in a few minutes later were ditched in the lurch. The stuffed beancurd was good, not the mass-produced type you often grimaced upon at fish ball noodle stalls.
Sang Har Curry Noodles (RM5.50) – I picked hor fun/kuey teow for obvious reason. This IS Ipoh’s famous sar hor fun anyway.
The normal curry mee with roast pork, chicken strips etc is priced at RM3.70 per plate. Slightly lesser than Nam Chau’s RM4.00 per portion, and Sun Seng Fatt’s RM4.50 per serving.
Introductory price, I would have assumed. As a place that’s air-conditioned and furnished to impress, Lim Ko Pi can’t be selling the food at the same price for long.
Whoops. Did I just dig a hole for myself there?
And you do not get half-baked creation, but instead good quality prawns and equally piquant dry curry paste that is thick yet not overly spicy. You can opt for more firepower, from a container of curry paste available on your table.
They have a variety of other noodles; like the usual wantan mee, roast pork mee, curry long beans and pork skin noodles, etc. Did not see any chee cheong fun on their menu, though the rushed meal might have set my sight on the environment more than the food.
Don’t take my word for it. Go and try them out. And though initial impression was adversely affected by the slight arrogance shown by a lady staff, all was forgiven when the Lim’s proved to be just as passionate about Ipoh, old town and FOOD like I am.
And we NEED more places like this in Ipoh. Why bother demolishing pre-colonial structures for boring, modern architectures? If the governing body can set their sights on BIGGER goals in the distant future (like how Singapore and to some extent our very own Penang), they must have foreseen the value in preserving heritage buildings in and around town. And let’s start NOW, rather than later.
A variety of fillings available, but the ones left were only lotus paste and red bean. If I am not mistaken. At RM0.90 each, we took away a few. Not bad, but indeed gone in two bites.
And was I glad that the place was packed and doing great so far. Parking’s a hassle though, as you have to park on the nearby streets and walk over. Since this is located on Hugh Low Street (Jalan Sultan Iskandar), right before the traffic lights that connect Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Little India of Ipoh) and Jalan Sultan Iskandar.
Pardon the ugly composition. I was about to cross the street and snap from the other side, but the heavy traffic was daunting. But you won’t miss this stark red structure that’s a dead giveaway.
Will I be back? Most definitely. They stake claims on their Penang Hokkien Mee (prawn mee, to us) that’s only on Saturdays. And the slightly different Asam Laksa, recently voted as the #7 MUST-EAT food in the world. The nasi lemak (freshly-cooked) on Fridays and Sundays sells out pretty fast too, they mentioned.
“Oh yeah, do you know that ‘Lim Ko Pi’ means Drink Coffee in Hokkien?“
LIM KO PI <<click for the FB page (non-Halal)
10, Jalan Sultan Iskandar
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel No : 605-253 2898
Business hours : 8am – 3pm daily.
Closed on Mondays.
Google Map to Lim Ko Pi
*Coming from Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street), right after passing by the bridge over Kinta river, you will reach Jalan Bijeh Timah, then Jalan Bandar Timah. Right before you reach the traffic lights that connect Jalan Sultan Yussuf to Jalan Sultan Iskandar, Lim Ko Pi would be on your LEFT. Park on Jalan Bandar Timah (where the famous stretch of white coffee outlets are), or Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Little India of Ipoh).