Fancy Havin’ Steamed Fish Head for Breakfast? (Ngan Woh Coffee Shop @ Bercham, Ipoh)February 7, 2010 | 7,413 views
If you’re down to Ipoh for a daytrip, overnight sensation excursion, or even if you’re a permanent resident (like yours truly) here in this exceptional, one-of-a-kind quaint town with those killer limestone caves, fat bean sprouts and (as they say …) pretty girls – you’d be scratching your head wondering where to go for breakfast.
Truth is, after the umpteenth dim sum feast in Ipoh, deep down inside, you’d be wishing for something much simpler, as tasty, but not the average wantan noodles or fish ball noodles you can get in the other states.
40 Years+ of Legacy speaks volume of its tenacious following ….
I was poisoned by a few posts before, on Ngan Woh Coffee Shop. (Click HERE, HERE or HERE for the doses of poisons). Surprisingly, throughout my stay in Ipoh, and very near to Bercham for that matter, I have never tasted, nor even heard about this shop on the main road of Bercham with an outstanding 40 years plus of history.
Goes to show that I am NOT a bulldozer who had demolished every single eatery in Ipoh. Really. 😉
For really good, homemade Sar Kok Liew (crispy stuffed yambean/’sengkuang’), try Ngan Woh.
Steamed Fish Head (RM13/USD3.70) for breakfast sounds wacky, but it works.
Situated on the main road of Bercham (Jalan Bercham), Ngan Woh is directly next to Wong Fee Kee coffee shop which sells great ‘Zhu Chap Chuk’ (Mixed Pig’s Offals porridge), popiah (spring rolls) and roast pork. (Read about my experience HERE). Funny although after repeated visits to Wong Fee Kee for lunch, we never noticed Ngan Woh located adjacent to the shop. But probably due to the fact that Ngan Woh ONLY OPENS FOR BREAKFAST daily.
Sliced Bitter Gourd in Soy Sauce and Oil (RM3/USD0.85) – Something not easily found in other Yong Tau Foo stalls
The shop oozes charisma, taking one back to the olden days, with the floor still lined with mosaics, the walls tiled the traditional way, and minimal renovations to preserve the heritage ambience since the 60’s. The shop is airy, meaning no unpleasant stench from the smoke (which brought to mind one particular shop nicknamed Smokehouse that I wanna share with you guys, where I have lunch in old town quite frequently), and a generally more positive vibes for a leisurely start to the day.
Not to be mistaken for a run of the mill fish ball noodle stall, Ngan Woh offers much more than the simple bowl of noodles with fish balls, or stuffed fish paste (Yong Tau Foo, or Yeong Liew as affectionately known to Ipohans). You can order a portion of their famous steamed fish head (RM13 per portion, and can be easily walloped by one, or shared amongst two) in an addictive, almost sweet soy sauce with oil base. I could not put my finger on it, but it tasted like a mix of shallot oil and sesame oil. Drizzle some of the umami elixir on your choice of noodles and I can guarantee you’ll be licking your bowl clean in no time! (You can have your noodles done dry ie: tossed with some soy sauce/sesame oil, or with soup). But take note that we did suffer a short bout of thirst thereafter, indicating probable addition of MSG (flavour enhancer).
The balls, The rat’s tails, and the Boss himself.
The other signatures include the crunchy slices of bitter gourd doused in the same soy sauce-oil gravy, and the fantastic deep-fried pieces of ‘Liew’, or stuffed fish paste. But in this case, the Sar Kow Liew indeed stood out, for the chunks (literally) of yambean (or turnip) in the batter mix were generous at the very least. The crispy prawn rolls were tasty as well, with pieces of succulent and fresh prawns within.
The menu in English, and another in Chinese (not shown here). So you don’t have to keep guessing what they offer.
The food at Ngan Woh is reasonably-priced, with the pieces of ‘Yeong Liew’ priced at below RM1 each, and everything’s made in the house (read : none of those artificial, starchy fish paste some stalls get from their suppliers). You may add slices of bitter gourd into almost every single dish here, be it the seafood noodles (which has been raved about by some), the fish soup noodles, or even served with the steamed fish head itself.
Strikingly modern signboard, classically maintained interior. That’s Ngan Woh Coffee Shop for you.
So don’t go shouting on the streets if your favourite dim sum restaurant is packed like sardines on those peak seasons (Read : school holidays, public holidays ie. the coming CNY for instance). Drive over to Bercham for a breakfast that has stood the test of time, yet probably not many have discovered this gem. Yet.
The young owner, named Kin Loo (H/P : 6016-547 5772) is a most affable chap, giving recommendations and earning brownie points in the customer service department. So don’t be afraid to ask for his take on the day’s freshest supplies, or specials. Though you can grasp a general idea from the laminated pieces of menu on the wall, and passed to you at your seats.
Address & Contact :
NGAN WOH COFFEE SHOP
552-C, Lorong 5,
Telephone : Khoon (012-512 2090), Kin Loo (016-547 5772).
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Business hours : 7.10am until around 12pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Here’s a GOOGLE MAP TO NGAN WOH COFFEE SHOP
* Take note that Ngan Woh Coffee Shop will stay open from the 2nd day of Chinese New Year onwards (15th February 2010) *