Cantonese Dim Sum & Szechuan Delights @ Qi Yuan Restaurant, Greentown, IpohJanuary 30, 2011 | 7,004 views
Shanghainese Minced Meat Dumplings aka Xiao Long Bao (RM4.70/USD1.60 for 3 pcs) – Not many places in Ipoh serve XLB, and Qi Yuan does a passable version; with a proportionately filled dumpling with moist and firm minced meat and savoury soup that’s not scalding hot.
And ladies & gentlemen …. I AM BACK !!!
To imagine the longing for good old Ipoh food; to experience the slower-paced lifestyle … where cars travel at 30km/hour and yet don’t get honked at. No double parking even in the most congested of business centres (else risk being awarded with a piece of beef jerky aka “Ngau Yoke Kon”). No rushing to anywhere and everywhere as rarely roads got flooded, and travelling in the car for more than an hour seems almost unheard of.
Unless you’re going all out to Tanjung Tualang for some freshwater prawns, or Sitiawan for good old toddy + cheap seafood combination, then that ONE hour is well worth the travelling time.
And no, one hour spent on Federal Highway to get from PJ to Cheras is NOT a conducive move, in comparison!!!
Szechuan Famous Dan Dan Meen (RM5.00/USD1.60) – Slightly spicy from the addition of chili oil, the savoury mix of minced pork and finely-chopped wood ear fungus added much dimension to their own-produced noodles. Probably not enough to be shared amongst two, I reckon you should order the various noodle dishes to accompany the many dim sum fares.
Now let’s neglect that crash diet for one week. Let’s indulge in some of the BEST street food Ipoh has to offer. And not forgetting the abundance of newer eateries sprouting up here and there; rendering this Motormouth restless (helpless?) in seeking for them.
But no fear, for today …. let’s read about a new dim sum restaurant in Greentown Business Centre (next to Yeong Wai Greentown, same row with Maria’s Cafe and Laksamana Cheng Ho) ……..
Mini Egg Custard Buns (Lau Shar Bao) (RM3.70/USD1.20 for 3 pcs)
The chef, named Alex Leong was previously working for a renowned Chinese restaurant in Singapore. Not sure if it’s permissible to reveal the name, hence I’d better not. Let’s put it this way, that same restaurant has a branch here in Kuala Lumpur, AND another in Japan. Go figure.
Together with his assistant (I guess can be named as sous chef in this case?), and his younger brother who’s back from New Zealand, they started up this fully air-conditioned restaurant at a rather strategic location; right at the heart of Ipoh city; Greentown Business Centre.
Sour & Spicy Minced Meat Dumplings (RM3.80/USD1.20) – Delicious, these dumplings looked abysmal soaked in the oily chili condiment, but the sauce ain’t fiery and the piquant taste laced with a sour note (from the vinegar) was very pleasant to the palate.
Only about one month in operation, and Qi Yuan has been steadily attracting the crowd. Especially the lunch crowd on weekdays as if you’re from Ipoh, you would have known that there are probably 1001 eateries around the vicinity; and almost every one of those is packed during peak hours.
So what makes Qi Yuan special, in comparison to the other more established dim sum restaurants in Ipoh?
Lor Bak Gou aka Deep Fried Carrot Cake (RM3.30/USD1.10 for 3 pcs)
They offer Cantonese dim sum, AND Szechuan specialties, like various meat and chives dumplings; some of them in chili oil, as well as light snacks such as Szechuan Pan Fried Sesame Buns, Szechuan Seafood Siew Mai, and a very moreish Sour & Spicy Minced Meat Dumplings. You could have downed all four pieces of the dumplings before you know it, as the robust flavour of the chili oil combined perfectly with the pork dumplings; and a plus point was that the chili oil was not mind-blowing/tongue-numbing spicy.
The Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Minced Meat Dumplings filled with soup) though tasted wonderfully packed with flavours; and the skin being neither too thick nor absolutely translucent; suffered from the fate of being unable to sustain the load within …. breaking off at the bottom once the dumpling was picked up with a pair of chopstick. So remember to use the spoon and assist in scooping up the dumplings; else risking losing out on the soup which was delicious anyway. Of course, black vinegar and finely-julienned ginger were ever present.
Szechuan Pan fried Sesame Bun (RM3.70/USD1.20 for 3 pcs)
The Szechuan Dan Dan Noodles deserves a mention, for this is also one of their signature item on the menu. Of course, aside from this variety, Qi Yuan also serves 9 more varieties of Szechuan-style noodles like Chilled Noodles with Spicy Sauce, Szechuan Knife-Shredded Noodles (should be interesting; as this is probably the only place in Ipoh that serves this), Szechuan Beef Noodles (another hot favourite among the patrons, as I was duly told), etc.
Yes, they make their own noodles at Qi Yuan, so you can rest assured on the freshness and authenticity of the noodles. Probably will try the knife-shredded noodles next round, since I have only been watching the preparation process on TV; an interesting martial arts-like session with carving of the block of dough with a special curved knife.
Don’t miss out on the Desserts section too. Mango Pudding, Mango with Pomelo Sago and Yam Paste with Coconut Milk (their rendition of Or Nee). The Custard Egg Tarts (lower right picture) came on the house, NOT because he knew I was a blogger but because the egg tarts have sold off … and we were not told until the end of the meal.
Save some space for the desserts; as the Mango Pudding and Mango Puree with Pomelo Sago (Yeung Zhi Kam Lou) are great stuff. Priced at RM3.80/USD1.20 each, I would say the mango desserts here are better than Tong Yan Gai‘s at De Garden. The Or Nee (Teochew style Yam Paste) has been one of my personal favourite desserts and pity that no other restaurants in Ipoh serves this (aside from Teo Chew Restaurant near to Taman Merdeka, but I have not been there … so can’t comment).
Qi Yuan @ Greentown Business Centre – Also known as Restoran China Chuan Kwong; for some reason. But can’t miss this as situated opposite this is Brewster’s.
They will be coming up with four new items after the Chinese New Year, or rather sometime after the first few days of the Lunar calendar. So be prepared for new creations like Crystal Chives Dumplings, etc.
Qi Yuan also plans to include value lunch sets to their menu; to cater to the lunch crowd around the area. Menu to come soon. Should be interesting, as eating dim sum and ‘la mian’ for lunch sounds almost unheard of in Ipoh.
The meal came to about RM48/USD16 for the three of us. Can’t say this was dirt-cheap, but far from being unreasonable either. Shall be back again for the next round, IF I can manage to squeeze in some time between now and the New Year.
“Here’s wishing every reader of Motormouth From Ipoh; An Abundance of Health, Wealth & of course …. Prosperity!!!!”
Qi Yuan “Chuan Kwong” Chinese Restaurant
No 74, Persiaran Greentown 1,
Greentown Business Centre,
30450 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-253 3551
Business hours : 7am – 8pm daily.
GPS Coordinates : to come later, ‘broadband’ connection at home too slow
Google Map to Qi Yuan Restaurant : to come later, ‘broadband’ connection at home too slow
*Qi Yuan will be closed on the 3rd of Feb (First Day of CNY), but will remain opened from 7am – 1.30pm from the 2nd to the 4th day of CNY. Thereafter, business will resume as usual from the 5th day onwards.