A Must-Try ‘Dai Chow’ Place – Sam Poh Restaurant @ Desa Tambun Indah, IpohDecember 29, 2012 | 9,556 views
Hong Kong-style Steamed Siakap (RM25/USD8)
Wow, felt like only yesterday when I did the post on Memorable Eats in Ipoh (2011), and here we are with half a step into 2013! Time sure flies when you least want it to … and vice versa.
A tad short on time to draft a lengthy overview of 2012 (allow me to do it over the next few days, ya?), let me recommend this relatively new Chinese restaurant specializing in ‘chu char’ or ‘dai chow’ dishes located in Desa Tambun Indah; along the way from Ipoh Garden East towards Tambun’s direction.
What, you say? Another run-of-the-mill restaurant cashing in on unsuspecting tastebuds? Wrong.
Sam Poh Restaurant goes beyond the ordinary realm of boring steamed fish-chicken/pork-vegetables-tofu/eggs ensemble. And this place has been seriously gaining steam; packed EVERY single night!
Claypot Braised Pig’s Tendons & Trotters (RM15/USD5)
I would not have been fascinated (or curiosity piqued to a bursting level) had it not been my parents’ constant raves about Sam Poh‘s cooking; followed by reassurance (partly intensive cajoling!) from a restaurateur in Ipoh!
I mean, it’s not hard to see why. Reservation of tables is a MUST on weekends. The restaurant only opens for dinner (from about 5.30pm onwards), and the table arrangement spills over to the walkway, alley, and short of the street parallel to the main road leading to Sunway City, Tambun.
Recommended dishes are written on the whiteboard in Chinese, but they do have a laminated compilation of dishes for your perusal. Think mouthwatering selection like Braised Pig’s Trotters with Tendons, Deep Fried Yam Stuffed with Smoked Duck, Fatt Putt (Yam Ring) with Chicken, Faux Shark’s Fins Soup, Grilled Squid, Three Cups Chicken, various Salted Egg-inspired dishes, etc.
Deep Fried Yam Stuffed with Smoked Duck (RM14/USD5)
It felt wonderful to see creative thoughts going into shaping the menu, instead of the generic sweet and sour pork, ginger sliced fish and marmite chicken.
Innovations aside, the 30 minutes or so wait (even after we called in advance to reserve a table AND ordered the dishes!) was rightly paid off.
The Fried Yam Stuffed with Smoked Duck was a wonderful combination of yam slices deep fried to a crisp on the outside while retaining that delightful creamy texture on the inside, stuffed with aromatic smoked duck. The side salad of pineapple cubes, finely-shredded cucumber and carrots in a piquant dressing made from Thai chili sauce added a tangy zest to the otherwise sinful dish.
Fried Tofu with Thai Chili Sauce (RM8/USD2.70)
And the good stuff came in succession. By 7.30pm, the entire restaurant was overflowing with customers. Some stood around for a good 5-10 minutes waiting for a seat; eyes green with envy and hunger pangs drumming in a most unforgiving manner.
Most patrons ordered a serving of Yam Ring (Fatt Putt) and a plate of Grilled Squid. Some had them with beer, while others were clearly having a good time picking on the savoury dishes.
The Braised Pig’s Trotter with Tendons was beyond what I had imagined the dish would be. More collagen-rich, gelatinous parts with equally fabulous (or scary) chunks of fats, the sauce was a brilliant concoction to match the hunkier parts of a pig; and the braising method took all chewing efforts redundant.
Claypot Brinjals with Minced Pork & Salted Fish (RM9/USD3)
The other highlight of the meal was the Hong Kong-style Steamed Fish; where we picked Siakap that was steamed to a firm texture, and topped with a scrumptious mix of chopped ‘choy pou’ (preserved radish), scallions, pan-fried crispy dried shrimps, black beans, coriander and red chillies. The toppings alone made up for the dish, seriously. The fish had a very faint hint of muddy taste though.
There will be probably more than a couple of meals that you will find me going back and trying the other signature dishes as per recommended by the staff. If you have run out of ideas on where to go for good ‘dai chow’ meal that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, come to Sam Poh Restaurant and be inspired.
After all, a satisfying meal for 5 pax with rice and Chinese tea came to only RM76/USD25!
SAM POH RESTAURANT (non-Halal)
17, Persiaran Bandar Baru Tambun 16,
Desa Tambun Indah,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Business hours : 5.30pm until late. Only for dinner.
Was closed on a Monday, but not fixed.
Tel No : +6016-551 6869
GPS Coordinates : 4.620993,101.136032
Directly opposite of Tammy’s Kitchen, after passing by Citrus Wine & Dine on your right.