A Timeless Dim Sum Affair @ Ying Fa Restaurant, Ipoh Old TownSeptember 2, 2010 | 14,256 views
Just the other day I read with much interest, a comment on All About Ipoh about some of the older dining establishments in Ipoh. If you have been a true-blue Ipohan all along (a baby of the 80’s, at the very least) then you might have heard of names like Kok Kee and Kwong Chow Dim Sum, Tho Yuen, and the very famous Chee Seng on Jalan Theatre.
Still standing strong amidst the slew of NEW dim sum outlets; Ying Fa is a hidden gem the youngsters of today have probably never heard of, let alone aware of the existence at one corner of Belfied Street.
Of course, all of the names above are but long gone. For me, I had the fondest memories at Kok Kee; a dim sum restaurant that opens until late at night. The aforementioned restaurant occupied a spacious lot on Hugh Low Street (next to the current Hee Lai Ton Restaurant), and was one of the pioneers among dim sum eateries in Ipoh during the 80’s, aside from the very famous Foh San on Osborne Street, and maybe Ming Court/Yoke Fook Moon …. but I was too young back then to be sure of the facts.
Glad to see the locals (mostly families, or extended families) still patronizing Ying Fa, and not succumbing to the allure of the now legendary Dim Sum Street of Ipoh ….
However, let’s not count the immensely valiant Ying Fa out from this equation. Yes, about four decades of legacy, and amazingly still soldiering on albeit the dwindling of customers due to the other more commercialized and comfortable settings, and the sheer amount of publicity that has been pumped into strengthening the “BIG 3” amongst Dim Sum Restaurants in Ipoh.
Read on to find out why was I enticed by Ying Fa, and what they offer aside from the generic array of dim sum ……..
Everything’s kept warm, even piping hot in the steamers before being carted around and served to you.
Ying Fa Restaurant may sound like an alien to you, while the name of Belfied Street resembles more of a street in the UK than here in Malaysia. I am not going to go to the extent of criticizing the manic renaming process (did I just do that?); transforming every familiar road names into almost similar, unpronounceable fancy ones. But Belfied Street is known as Jalan Sultan Yussuf now, and Ying Fa is STILL known as Ying Fa, aka the beautiful Sakura flower.
Prawn Dumplings/Har Gau – One of the MUST-eat when you’re in a dim sum restaurant. The most traditional form of Har Gau seemed to incorporate a sliver of lard, but nowadays we get succulent prawn(s) with chives and sometimes crunchy yambean cubes.
The restaurant can seat a sizeable breakfast crowd; maybe more than 150 customers if cramped to the max. The ordering system is like the usual; the Chinese ladies (most in their late 50’s, or early 60’s) will push their carts to your table; carrying steaming hot morsels to be chosen, or plateful of deep-fried goodies like the perennial favourite of mine; “Wu Kok” aka Yam Puff and “Ham Sui Kok” literally translated to Salty Water Puff; a glutinous flour dough filled with a salty and spicy filling made up of dried shrimps, char siew (barbecued pork) and even crunchy ‘choy pou’ or preserved radish.
Freshly steamed rice rolls wrapped around minced pork patty; a throwback to the classic “Cheong Fun” that can be found in most dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong (here’s a post on Lin Heung Tea House) but routinely replaced by the more popular HK Chee Cheong Fun with shrimps/char siew fillings here.
Traditional egg tarts; with a buttery cookie pastry instead of the more common flaky version in dim sum restaurants, and the scarily deep-fried yam puffs that were surprisingly good. Beats Bidor’s Pun Chun‘s version hands down, and at a fraction of the price.
The restaurant only operates the breakfast hours; until about 12 noon before calling it a day. Yes, they do not even bother to cater to the lunch crowd, as the many good eats around old town settle that headache for most.
Bear in mind that most items finish by 11am or so, especially their famous Lotus Leaf Rice (RM3.20/USD1.00) or “Hor Yip Fan”. On that morning we went, the said glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaf were all gone by 8.00am !!!!! Talk about exclusivity.
Most items at Ying Fa are priced at RM2.50-RM2.80 (about USD0.80) per portion; aside from the specials like Lotus Leaf Rice and Noodle dishes at RM4.00 (USD1.20) per serving (more on this later)
The appetizing “Suen Jook Quin”; beancurd sheet-wrapped rolls of pork doused in a sweet and sour tomato-based sauce. At Ying Fa, a portion comes in four rolls.
Good thing was, there was no rush to grab the dim sum before they’re gone from your sight. Or worse, in the case of the new Foh San, jostle among the throngs of people to pick your dim sum from the counter instead of having them brought over to your table.
Self service, but at a price? You bet! (Read the new Foh San fiasco)
Caught in the Act?!!
The Lotus Leaves … sans the Rice. Sigh …. some other day then.
All in all, the taste of the dim sum at Ying Fa might not have blown our minds away, nor ignited severe cravings for their dim sum in the near future. But not to indicate that the dim sum there are paltry, mediocre affairs.
No, sirree. FAR from that, in fact. You can taste the freshness of the dim sum, in particular the bouncy fish balls, the deliciously tangy Sweet and Sour Rolls, and the pathetic-looking-but-surprisingly-tasty Lor Mai Gai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken and mushrooms). The Lor Bak Gou or Fried Radish Cake was filled with generous amount of dried shrimps, and you can even opt to have them fried with bean sprouts and egg; ala Foh San style. A portion at RM4.00/USD1.20.
We saw many people buying their dim sum from the take away counter fronting the shop; a table set up with trays of steaming hot dim sum like Char Siew Bao (barbecued pork buns), fish balls, and Ma Lai Gou (steamed sponge cake)
This restaurant is a stone’s throw away from Sin Yoon Loong and Nam Heong; the original white coffee pioneers in Ipoh. So if you simply can’t find a parking spot along Jalan Bandar Timah, or Jalan Bijeh Timah, or worse … you spent the whole morning seeking for a parking space, only to discover that the shops were packed to the brim or closed, don’t tear your hair out.
Hop over to Ying Fa Restaurant on the road parallel to Jalan Bandar Timah where the old town white coffee specialists are at. And relish in the thought of eating a slice morsel of history, in a premise probably patronized by your grandparents !!! 🙂
* Ying Fa serves various noodle dishes; the special-of-the-day as follows : Monday (Wat Tan Hor), Tuesday (Curry Mee), Wednesday (Braised Pork Mee), Thursday (Prawn Mee), Friday (Pork Trotters Mee), Saturday (Spare Ribs Mee). No noodle dishes on Sundays and public holidays.
YING FA RESTAURANT
1C, Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Belfied Street)
30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-254 8061/6012-450 4565
Business Hours : 6.00am – 12.00pm daily. From 5.30am onwards on Sundays and public holidays.
GPS Coordinates : E 101 4′ 33.3″ N 4 35′ 30.0″
Google Map to Ying Fa Restaurant
>>> JUMP TO NEXT PAGE FOR THE SECOND VISIT, WHERE WE FINALLY GOT TO TASTE THE LOTUS LEAF RICE, AND TRIED SOME NEW DIM SUM >>>
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