Foo Chow Cuisine @ Red Ruby Restaurant, Ayer TawarAugust 11, 2010 | 4,401 views
A hefty portion of Red Wine Mee Suah for RM7.00/USD2.10; with plentiful of chicken, stalks of spring onions and slices of ginger.
Since I have not been writing much about food from outside of Ipoh, allow me to insert one short post here. Yesterday work took us to Ayer Tawar (wondering where’s Ayer Tawar? Read from Wikipedia HERE) to the west of Perak. If you’re on your way to Sitiawan, Seri Manjung, Lumut or Pangkor Island, you will be sure to pass by the town of Ayer Tawar.
Much like Sitiawan, Ayer Tawar is a predominantly Chinese town with a sizeable Foo Chow/Fuzhou population. Thus you know you can find great Foo Chow cuisine in even the simplest of coffee shops or restaurants.
Usually we have our lunch in Sitiawan, for the wide array of good food (from cheap and fresh seafood to Teochew style of Bak Kut Teh to authentic Hock Chew food) never failed to tantalize our tastebuds. But after awhile, eating at the same restaurants got a little repetitive, hence we decided to push our luck and seek for food in Ayer Tawar instead.
Ended up at Red Ruby Restaurant, an air-conditioned Chinese restaurant on the main road that is opened for lunch and dinner. How did Red Ruby fare in comparison to the more famous Bei King and Lido of Sitiawan? Read on to find out.
A thorn among the roses, or otherwise? Sitting in the middle of a row of old shophouses, Red Ruby glitters with a bright red signboard. Another Red Ruby restaurant; a coffee shop that sells ‘chap fan’ (economy rice) is a few doors away, at a corner lot.
In comparison to the blood red table cloth, the murky red broth (it’s actually red RICE wine, in case you’re having the impression of a funny grape wine soup!) looked pale and not as ‘fiery’ red …..
I was told about Red Ruby by a friend who used to stay in Ayer Tawar for close to two years now. Sun Hon Siong is another household name, an inconspicuous restaurant also on the main road, famous for their sweet and sour fish maws, pork ribs, oyster omelette and of course the ubiquitous Foo Chow dish; Red Wine Chicken Mee Suah. (Read rasarasa.net’s review HERE). But given the darn scorching weather on that particular afternoon, a fully air-conditioned restaurant was akin to a sight for sore eyes; a respite if you will …. be it a mirage or otherwise.
Sweet and Sour Pork Chop (actually Pork Ribs) with rice (RM6.00/USD1.80) – I tell you, the Foo Chow clan’s really good at whipping up mean sweet and sour (and to some extent, spicy) dishes.
Since there were only two of us, ordering the dishes was kind of tough. To avoid bingeing on a working afternoon (yup, it WAS work, okay …. no shady business really !!!), we opted for a two individual servings; one being the Red Wine Noodle Soup and the other being a Sweet & Sour Pork Chop (which was really a dish of “Pai Guat Wong” or Pork Ribs King). Then an extra order of “Sam Mei Gai” or 3 Tastes Chicken; a fried chicken dish with a slightly spicy and sweet sauce (almost resembling “Kam Heong” style, but with prominent use of ‘kunyit’ or turmeric).
Now this may look not tempting here , but the taste of the chicken was really good. Very appetizing with lots of curry leaves and ‘cili padi’ (bird eye chillies) to intensify the experience.
With understandably low expectations (we have always championed Sitiawan’s food instead of Ayer Tawar’s or Seri Manjung’s), the meal came up surprisingly satisfactory. The red wine mee suah with generous serving of chicken was amongst the better ones even compared to Bei King‘s or Lido‘s. A robust, full-bodied aroma from the liquid of the fermented red rice provided much oomph, yet the reduced level of sourness made the broth easy to slurp and digest. The portion was considerably sufficient for one person, or to be shared if you’re ordering other dishes. You can also opt for the Medium or Large portion if you’re dining in a larger group.
The “Pai Guat Wong” (Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs) tasted great, and I heard no complaints from KYT; the ever discerning eater. But the “Sam Mei Gai” (3-Tastes Chicken, literally) was really delicious. If you like your dish with a stronger flavour; spicy, sweet, and savoury, then this will be up your alley. Just like “Kam Heong” style of cooking, the chicken was pan-fried until the skin was crispy, and the meat soaking up all the sumptuous sauce.
Red Ruby faces the main road (Jalan Besar) of Ayer Tawar; so you won’t definitely miss this while travelling to Sitiawan or its vicinity
And yes, Red Ruby does serve a potentially killer of a Spicy and Sour Fish Maws (Yue Piew), various seafood dishes, and many varieties of soup (bitter gourd, seaweed, etc) from as low as RM4 per portion. One glance through the menu conveniently bound into an album-like compilation revealed close to about 60-80 dishes.
So we will probably return for more, IF we can forsake the temptation of trying out Sun Hon Siong, or even a similar-themed Fuzhou Restaurant on the opposite side of the road, but hidden from clear view.
RED RUBY RESTAURANT
No 58,. Jalan Besar,
32400 Ayer Tawar, Perak, Malaysia
Telephone : 605-672 4618, 6016-551 8487 (Lee Yih Keong)
Business hours : 11.00am – 3.00pm, 5.30pm – 10.00pm
Directions : From Ipoh towards Sitiawan on the Lumut Highway, you will reach Ayer Tawar town when the speed limit is reduced to 60km/hour. Once in town, look to your LEFT constantly. You will see Red Ruby Restaurant opposite of AmBank which will be to your RIGHT.