Top 10 Eats of 2009January 24, 2010 | 3,347 views
Have I lost it? Come on …… 24 days had soldiered past, and I’m still doing Top 10 Eats of 2009?! Yeah, blame it on procrastination, blame it on utter laziness. But the sands of time wait for no one, and in a flash January is almost coming to a closure! Work is starting to pick up steam, many new changes in the office, yet I’m still the same old Motormouth From Ipoh. Though that scary period of abstinence (from FOOD okay …. don’t think otherwise!) had me seriously considering should I continue my almighty bulldozing, devouring & Motormouthin’ eating habits? Hmm ……
Here goes, in NO particular order, my TOP 10 PICKS OF 2009. Enjoy.
Back in October of 2009, the ten of us (yeah, TEN!!) went on a week’s worth of vacation in Bali. Out of the many, many meals we had on the island, the dinner at Bebek Bengil in Ubud stood out in particular. The charming ambience resembling a cluster of wooden huts with an open paddy field setting (wait, there WAS a vast paddy field at the back portion of the restaurant) coupled with the beautifully smoked duck, and deep-fried crispy duck, rendered the dining experience one of our most memorable.
Notice I named this post as TOP 10 EATS, and not Dining Experiences, or Meals? That’s because I intend to insert two confectioneries into the list. The first being Ching Han Guan, an almost household brand in Ipoh that sells traditional Teochew biscuits in the older part of Ipoh city. The Pork Meat Floss with Lotus Paste biscuit is the definite MUST-TRY here, or you can one-up your choice and go for the ones with added salted egg yolks! (Do call to reserve one day in advance, especially on weekends/public holidays).
One of my personal favourite of the year (many thanks to Citygal for the recommendation), Seng Kee Heong Peng (‘Fragrant Biscuits’) has been a staple of sorts, especially when tourists/relatives from outstation dropped by for the weekends/holidays. Traditionally broiled with coconut husks, the crunch stays for days and the aroma is no doubt, ‘HEONG‘ enough.
Let’s say you are down to Ipoh, and the horrifying scramble for a table at any of the notorious dim sum outlets sounds most deterring. Yet you feel compelled to try at least ONCE, or else you classify the excursion as incomplete, for Ipoh is really famous for dim sum. So which one to choose? Motormouth recommends : Ming Court Hong Kong Dim Sum. Hands down better than Foh San (THAT nationwide famous brand, for the mooncakes and their years of legacy in the dim sum business). Wanna make comparison? Hop over to the new Foh San Dim Sum directly opposite of Ming Court, or Yoke Fook Moon further down the same road.
I have eaten the original Claypot Chicken Rice in Kampar, had freshwater prawns at Tanjung Tualang, and even gigantic Curry Chicken Bread in Kampar. But I picked a food court beside the Kampar wet market instead?! What gives?
If you’ve been to Medan Selera Kampar before, or ask any of the locals there, you’d have known that this is THE place for breakfast in Kampar. From early morning until early afternoon, you’ll see the place buzzing with activities (mostly eating and drinking). Particularly memorable was the Glutinous Rice with Curry sauce (one stall inside the food court, another at a pushcart on the outside), the Char Koay Teow, Chee Cheong Fun with fishballs and such in curry, the Kampar Lai Fun/Lou Shu Fun, etc etc.
Never got tired from having breakfast at this place.
Not many people have heard of Hutan Melintang, or Men Lok for that matter. But recommendations from several readers got my interest piqued, and we hopped over for some Claypot Fish with Spicy Sauce, and a most crunchy ensemble of Mantis prawns and Baby Squids for lunch one day. Verdict? Most authentic, cheap and the post-meal stroll along the pier was an added bonus. Sometimes, life needs NOT to be on the fast lane, really.
A nostalgic establishment since the 50’s (estimated), Hoong Tho has been serving generations after generations of foodies. Still remember when I was first brought to this place, with my late grandfather whom has passed on for a good 17 years now. They still manage to successfully maintain the quality of their noodles, in particular their famously patented Hoong Tho Meen, fried dumplings, and the other equally delicious noodle dishes.
The restaurant still retains its charm since decades ago, choosing not to renovate or uplift the facade to a modernized one. Wise action, I’d say. For the last thing we Ipohans need is a revamped Old Town White Coffee outlet-style of Chinese diner.
There were many (too many to list here, but you can refer the Chinese Food segment in the Ultimate Ipoh Food List) Chinese restaurants that serve cooked dishes with rice (or Chu Char restaurants) in Ipoh that are worth trying. But the one that stood out the most, for the sumptuous dishes coupled with extremely economic prices? Peng Tau Restaurant in Pasir Puteh, Ipoh.
A rather secluded place, away from town centre, and way off the highway or tourist-y trail, Peng Tau has managed to attract a steady following for the last few years or so it has been operating. So good is their business nowadays, you have to really stand and wait for tables come peak hours (6-8pm) on weekends or public holidays.
Wait, a dessert stall in the TOP 10?! Yes, but not so much for the exceptional taste nor gastronomically-divine status. But this simple pushcart stall that sells only two types of desserts, one being the Ais Sagu or ‘Sek Lau Zhi’ and another being the ‘Wan Tau Long’, or Yellow Jelly (almost akin to Taiwan Ai Yi Bing), has captivated my heart since I was a toddler. Second generation handling the stall now at the same corner of Jalan Pasir Pinji-Jalan Prince, and let’s hope Ah Ngan (the daughter) keeps the tradition alive for many years to come.
And last but not least, this restaurant in Hanoi which sells a variety of Vietnamese street foods in a cleaner environment, yet with reasonable price range completes the Top 10 Eats of 2009. Of course, most would argue to experience the BEST of Hanoi street foods, one HAS to seek for those most run-down, original shacks where the locals eat. But in a short span of time, especially when you’re travelling to Hanoi, Halong Bay and Sapa town (hop over to the Full Itinerary for a clearer picture) in a matter of days, Quan An Ngon is your best bet. You can even sample some southern Vietnamese cuisine here.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT, FOLKS. PHEW … I’M DONE. NOW ‘TIL THE RECAP FOR 2010 !!!