A Monday Flashback of Good Malay Food (Hai How @ Clare Street, Ipoh)November 22, 2010 | 3,747 views
If this meal cost less than RM20/USD6.50, would you have rubbed your eyes in disbelief?
Let’s talk about good Malay food for a second. Or, seemingly, the lack of it here in Ipoh? Pardon the ignorance, but save for a few worthy choices (the tried and tested outlets, as well as some highly-acclaimed stalls like the famous Nasi RM2 over at Stadium Ipoh), it has never occurred to me to do a complete Halal food run here in Ipoh.
Don’t get me wrong, for I love nasi padang, nasi kerabu, nasi dagang and of course, nasi lemak just as much as I like Char Kuey Teow, Popiah, banana leaf curry rice and Roti Canai. For me, there are way too many lacklustre Malay warung (food stalls) out there in Ipoh; serving the ever-so-generic Malay-Thai style Tom Yam, nasi daging merah, telur dadar and such.
So here we arrive at this stall parked within a small, inconspicuously-quaint kopitiam on Clare Street (Jalan Mustapha al Bakri), masquerading itself as just another coffee shop from the pre-colonial days, yet promising so much more during lunch hour. Hai How‘s the name of the shop, and this stall selling Nasi Berlauk (Malay curry rice with dishes, almost like Nasi Padang) commits itself to serving authentic Malay cuisine to the lunch crowd …..
Sambal Udang – Succulent and fresh medium-sized prawns cooked in a sweetish chili paste
I have always contemplated on going over to this hidden gem, situated directly opposite of the famous Sin Eng Heong Kaya Puff outlet, just for a better coverage on the tasty Malay fares they offer. To imagine that this stall only opens for lunch, and for a very, very brief period of time. From about 12.30pm onwards, they would have run out of food to serve by 1.30pm or so!
Hence usually Mum would take the initiative (or easy way out?) by taking home a few dishes for dinner instead. Since parking can be a hassle during peak hours, and not to mention the scary traffic along Hugh Low Street and Yang Kalsom Road.
I Scream for Fish? Some would do anything for a piece of ‘ikan keli’ (Catfish) marinated/rubbed lightly in a piquant sambal paste, then fried to a crispy ending.
Chili Crabs, Malaysian style? Flower crabs cooked in a strange chili paste; the crabs tasted a bit off for me. But you can try for the sake of digging into these crustaceans at an impossibly low price.
Creme de la Creme? The spicy sambal anchovies with peanuts still remains as the family’s favourite. A huge tub for a fraction of the price sold elsewhere. And good enough to be kept for days.
We usually stick to the same old dishes; our most loved item is the sambal ikan bilis dan kacang, a snack-like ensemble that goes really well with rice, porridge or even eaten as it is. A tub for about RM4 or so, and Grandma’s the number one fan for this.
Just be cautious if you’re suffering from gout, for the lavish portion of anchovies may send you straight to the doctor’s couch.
Or bed-ridden for days.
MALAY RICE STALL @ Hai How Restaurant,
63, Jalan Mustapha al-Bakri (Clare Street)
30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Opens for lunch only, from 12.30pm onwards, until 1-1.30pm or until runs out.
*Directly opposite of Sin Eng Heong Kaya Puff, spitting distance from Pekan Baru police station.
Sambal Petai with dried shrimps and slices of kaffir lime leaves (a fantastic touch, trust me) – Sorry, this one’s homemade.