Salted Fish Pork Belly (MYR12.90) – Sliced thinly and stir fried with salted fish and dried chillies, this dish is usually served in a claypot in most restaurants, but at O Café, the traditional way of plating the dish together with many others brought back memories of grandma’s cooking.
Sadly there are not many places in Ipoh where you can find traditional Hakka delights such as abacus seeds, Hakka ‘zhar yoke’ (braised pre-fried pork belly with ‘fu yee’ or fermented beancurd paste and wood ear fungus), or ‘kau yoke’ – braised pork with either ‘mui choy’ or preserved mustard greens, or at other times served intermittent with slices of soft yam.
Occasionally you can find certain Hakka-inspired dishes being served here and there; usually at ‘dai chow’ places where the stewed yam with pork belly is more common than ever, or even by economy rice sellers incorporating ‘zhar yoke’ or vinegar pork trotters into their repertoire of crowd pleasers. And not forgetting the Hakka lui cha (thunder tea, or rather pounded tea) rice stalls all claiming to be from Jeram near Kampar; where the wet market still sells the BEST that I have eaten thus far.
Certainly, locating these gems in Ipoh when the craving comes can be a toughie, especially when we don’t have the luxury of true blue Hakka restaurants unlike Klang Valley or even this one in Melaka. But now, amidst the slurry of new boutique cafes and what-nots, came O Café; a very misleading name and even more confusing façade and interior design. But … was the Hakka experience worth the adventure? Read on to find out more. Read the rest of this entry »