Of “Er-Hu”, Prawn Crackers & the Crabs that Never CameJuly 12, 2010 | 3,838 views
This new ‘chu char station’ at Ting Feng Restaurant is named Sun Wah Hing, and started business back in April of 2010.
Strange title for a food post? Yup, folks …. this is another one of those Motormouthing extravaganza. Bear with me.
Ting Feng Restaurant is located at a corner lot in Medan Ipoh Baru; the area behind of Jusco Kinta City. Specifically, this restaurant is directly behind of K10 Claypot Chicken Rice which I wrote about back in 2008 when I first started blogging.
The 80 years old uncle (he claimed) that prides on his defiant soul, adamantly withstanding ignorance and curses, selling packets of tissue and playing on his er-hu, trying to make ends meet.
We visited Ting Feng once, sometime in 2009. Before I had the chance to write about the dinner (which was okay), the ‘chu char‘ stall shifted (or ceased operations?). Then we never returned again …. until this very visit.
The yellow banner proudly proclaiming THREE crabs for RM19.80 was like a magnet; sucking us in into the swirl of possible lip-smacking, crabby experience. And a Tilapia Fish for only RM13? Sounds too good to be true.
So why oh why …. was I fuming at the end of the meal? Read on to find out ….
Deep-fried Crispy Nam Yue (fermented bean paste) Pork (RM15/USD4.50)
We arrived to an already half-packed restaurant. Far exceeding our initial expectations, a large crowd is a sign of good things to come. No?
We waited for a good 5 minutes before the table got cleared. Another 5 minutes passed by, before someone actually walked over and took our orders. Then another few minutes before the young man actually gingerly inched his way to our table, taking our order for drinks. Hmm …. okay …… I was far from famished that evening, hence it’s all good. All smiles, plus there was actually WiFi coverage from a router (not sure if it belongs to the restaurant though), hence the wait was not so bad.
Stir-fried Sweet Potato Leaves (RM8.00/USD2.40)
Of course, the enticing prospects of digging into some crabby, clawy delights at a rockbottom price (RM19.80/USD6) for THREE mud crabs is almost unrivalled. We picked our crustacean friends to be cooked in oyster sauce, for the elder ones can’t take spicy food. For RM22/USD6.70, you can ‘upgrade’ the crabs to be cooked in salted egg style.
Not to be misled by the attractive banner written RM13 for a whole tilapia fish, that’s for a SMALL sized fish, about 500 grams worth. The tilapia is priced at RM25/USD7.60 per kilogram in reality. So we had to settle for a larger fish to feed the five of us.
Ka Heong Tauhu (Homemade beancurd) (RM6/USD1.80)
An old uncle walked over and played his “er-hu” (a traditional Chinese musical instrument) while trying to sell some packets of tissue to make a living. We relented, seeing his disdain appearance and already an octogenarian himself. Then he retreated after another verse and pushed his luck with the other customers. Tough luck though ….. for most people don’t care much about musicians beggars geriatrics (?!) anyway.
Then a chubby little boy tried to sell some prawn crackers from table to table. Proudly stating that the crackers are his mother’s homemade production. Though after another glance, mum mentioned that the crackers looked uncannily like the ones sold at the Tuesday’s “pasar malam” (night market) around the area. Giving him the benefit of a doubt, we bought a packet.
Steamed Tilapia in A Spicy Bean Sauce (RM25/USD7.60)
Forms of entertainment aside, the half an hour wait dragged on and on …… We witnessed the other tables got their dishes served although they came in later than us.
Then the pork came. Being freshly fried from the hot wok, the cutlets of batter-coated pork belly marinated with Nam Yue (fermented bean paste) were crispy and flavourful. A little salty, but being marinated with Nam Yue, that’s an understatement.
The sweet potato leaves arrived almost in unison, and grandma already started commenting (complaining’s more like it!) about how Top Wok‘s version was far superior than this. In its defense, the greens was actually okay, but suffered from a slightly fibrous spell; no thanks to the over-aged vegetables.
And things got from bad to worse. We almost polished off the two dishes, and yet no beancurd, crabs or fish was in sight. After a torturous 10 minutes (you know, when you start to play/pick on your food and nibble on them), seeing the neighbouring tables got their dishes instead of us, the lady walked over and placed a steamed grouper in front of us.
Ahem ……. “We ordered TILAPIA steamed with bean paste.”
“Oh, yes ah?” (then she proceeded to carry away the fish to another table, without an apology. She was blaming the mixed-up orders instead)
After two minutes or so, another fish was placed on our table. It was a Tilapia alright, but a steamed with soy sauce version.
“This is NOT our Cheong-Jing Kam Foong Yue …”
“Oh, yes ah? ……. ” (Then the fish disappeared in a flash … not into our stomach though)
“Then have your Ka Heong Taufu arrived?” “No”
The place looks promising, and can actually whips up a storm. If only they don’t make stupid mistakes like mixing up the orders and such.
The Ka Heong Taufu (Block of smooth beancurd topped with dried shrimps) arrived then, but in a stone cold, like a block of tombstone state. Yup, kind of unpleasant to be biting into a cold tofu. Like Agedashi Tofu, but so wrong in a Chinese restaurant.
The Steamed Tilapia arrived after a while (thankfully), bathed in a gingery, spicy sauce with bean paste. Not bad, but looked a little too small for a one kilogram fish, seriously. I could walloped the whole fish myself.
No crabs in sight. We have already reached the ONE HOUR limit. We surrendered and requested for the crabs to be saved from human consumption. (Or that was the cynical thought playing on my mind).
The meal came to a very cheap RM57.80/USD17.50 for the five of us. This restaurant gives me mixed reaction. They can literally whip up a gastronomic storm had they wished to, but the paltry service and dauntingly long wait will make me think twice before a revisit.
TING FENG RESTAURANT
No 48, Jalan Medan Ipoh 6,
Medan Ipoh Baru,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Opens from 12pm – 12am.
Here’s a GOOGLE MAP to this restaurant.