Hall of Mirrors & Sekeping Kong Heng @ Ipoh Old TownJuly 2, 2012 | 6,208 views
Thean Chun’s incomparable “Kai See Hor Fun” aka Chicken Kuey Teow Soup
Hall of Mirrors; a mystical name for one half a century’s old coffee shop located in the heart of Ipoh’s old town that has stood the test of time; serving generations of Ipohans and still drawing the crowd; young and old, near and far. The actual name for this outlet is Thean Chun coffee shop, while some might relate to this as THE coffee shop beside Kong Heng.
The “mirror” portion refers to the abundance of large, rectangular-shaped mirrors hanging from the upper part of the walls whereby you can practically observe every single patron in the shop if you’re seated at the right angle.
Let me take you for a ride down memory lane once again, following up on the 4 years-old post on Thean Chun I did way back then when I first started writing ….
Same old Uncle selling the Chee Cheong Fun that I have literally grown up with; eating from his stall at St. Michael’s Institution’s canteen!
The good thing about going back to Ipoh for short weekend getaways (or the occasional weekdays, now that my schedule’s all messed up) is that I could never fail to come up with places to eat that will somehow bring a spark to one’s eyes. Either you’re a homegrown Ipoh child whom have not been back for years, or living miles away from Malaysia and the cravings for Ipoh street food grew to a state that’s so strong, you feel like bursting into tears at the sheer mention of Ipoh’s kai see hor fun, popiah or even the legendary (in a lot of ways); pork satay from Kong Heng.
The tourists or first-timers are the other group of folks that I would love to introduce to my favourite stall in all of Ipoh for Chicken Kuey Teow Soup (the ‘kuey teow’ in this context being Ipoh’s ‘hor fun’ or flat rice noodles with a silky smooth finish that will put most imitators to shame), coupled with a caramel egg custard that are still crowned as the BEST in Ipoh so far. Flawlessly creamy, egg-y and smooth, the wobbly custards deserve an honourable mention had they not been overshadowed (somewhat) by the crazy plethora of must-tries in Thean Chun and Kong Heng.
For one, I don’t deny that I still love Kong Heng’s popiah (both the wet and fried versions) compared to the others. And yes, I have visited the old uncle in Canning Garden, the Bercham popiah stall by the field, and even the renowned Taiping Popiah.
Actually, Kong Heng’s popiah stall’s original proprietress has thrown in the towel a good few years ago, though the recipes were replicated at such an incredibly similar manner, it’s hard to tell the difference had you not been eating the popiah on a constant basis since you were small.
And who can deny the lure of a classic Ipoh-style of Chee Cheong Fun stall parked on the side of Thean Chun, almost sharing the alley with the satay stall, and Kong Heng within a stone’s throw away. Try the simplest ensemble; comprising of soy sauce, shallot oil and a dash of sesame seeds for the best result.
You can order anything from either shops EXCEPT for the “Kai See Hor Fun” since both premises have one each. And of course, you cannot enjoy the caramel egg custard if you’re seated in Kong Heng since the desserts are from the beverage counter. Those could be reasons why Thean Chun usually will be crowded almost immediately after they open for business (around 9.30am), until lunch hour.
You can opt to have a plate of Lor Bak (a Penang classic that I can’t find a stall in Ipoh that can rival Kheng Pin’s on Penang Road yet) if you’re seated on either one of the shops too. As for the fried Yong Tau Foo (we call them “Liew”) stall in Thean Chun, I won’t go all out and recommend you to try them though.
Sekeping Kong Heng – Where lush retreat is just a door (maybe a floor) away …. More info from their website
THEAN CHUN (Hall of Mirrors)
73, Jalan Bandar Timah
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opens from 9.30am onwards, until late lunch.
Closed on Thursdays
SEKEPING KONG HENG
75, Jalan Panglima (beside Kong Heng)
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Tel No : +6012-227 2745/+605-241 8977