YMCA – Fancy A Taste of Shark Meat in Ipoh?March 21, 2014 | 2,553 views
Braised Fried Shark Meat with Salted Vegetables (Ham Choi), Tomatoes & Ginger
Hello Ipoh! Motormouth’s back for the weekend, and already on the prowl for good food.
Sometimes writer’s block strike at the most inconvenience of times (meeting tight deadlines for articles) and the mind sometimes sets into hibernation mode (like this evening when I was completely at lost on where to eat).
But then again, sometimes by scouring neighbourhood after neighbourhood, and conjuring images of restaurants and cuisines in my mind; ideas start taking shape and inspirations flow seamlessly.
And thus, dinner venue was decided – YMCA Ipoh next to Taman Dr Seenivasagam on Anderson Road.
YMCA of all places?! Ain’t that a youth hostel-cum-sports centre? Well, yes of course. And the cafeteria serves something really exotic; shark meat cooked in a variety of ways.
For more than a decade now, the Foo sisters and their nephew Mr Ho have taken over YMCA Cafeteria and started serving Chinese dishes for lunch and dinner, all week, all year round. And their value for money set meals and specifically; out of the box shark meat dishes are something that you won’t be able to find elsewhere.
We have been here a few times before back when I was still working in Ipoh. At least a good 8 years or so. That was before I started writing, hence no story on YMCA yet. The value for money set meals (starting from RM30 for 3 dishes and 1 soup for 2 – 3 pax) served in a comfortable air-conditioned seating area are convincing reasons enough for a family dinner.
But then again, I was introduced to YMCA cafeteria way back in the late 90’s, when as a student, we found our way here by taking the town bus for a taste of their chicken chops for lunch. The mosaic-tiled floors, old school air conditioners and draped tables and chairs tied with red ribbons are still visible for a rendezvous with nostalgia.
Hot Plate Curry Squid & Stir fried Crunchy Long French Bean (not sure of the exact name, but in Cantonese this is called “Gwai Tau Miu”)
We have been routinely ordering their curry shark meat for as long as I remember. A claypot filled with fillets of shark meat and mixed vegetables, if this is your first time here that should be your designated, introductory dish to what YMCA has to offer.
This time around, we asked for more options; and a plethora of interesting ways to cook the shark meat surfaced. We settled for the next best choice; the signature Ham Choi (Salted Vegetables) Braised Shark Meat.
The almost boneless shark meat was first coated with flour and deep fried, then braised in a sauce with copious amount of salted vegetables, tomatoes, ginger and scallions. A very Teochew way of cooking the fish; delightful to go with steamed white rice.
The Hot Plate Sotong is another must-try dish. The santan (coconut milk)-rich gravy was redolent with flavours from the spices and kaffir lime leaves, yet mild enough that you can introduce this to a child’s sensitive palate. The crunch in every bite of the squid was testament to its freshness.
Fu Yong Egg Omelette
Good that they adjusted the portion according to the number of pax eating; so that nothing went to waste and we sampled 4 dishes amongst 3 of us. The Fu Yong Egg Omelette was a nicely-executed fried omelette with enough crisp at the sides, minimal oil and loaded with bites of ingredients. To complete the feast, a compulsory plate of greens was ordered; the Gwai Tau Miu (french bean) lightly stir fried with chopped garlic passed the test.
The entire meal came to RM48/USD16 including drinks and rice. A meagre sum to pay; given the quality of cooking and two seafood dishes served. A definite thumb’s up especially if you’re hankering for good old ‘chu char’ dishes served in a clean and comfortable environment.
YMCA Cafeteria (pork-free)
211, Jalan Raja Musa Aziz (Anderson Road)
30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Tel No : +6012 – 523 6169
Business Hours : Lunch : 11.00am – 2.30pm,
Dinner : 5.30pm – 10.00pm.
No fixed off days.
FInding this place is easy if you know where the Anderson roundabout is. This is where Anderson secondary school and the Ipoh General Hospital are. There’s a public park named Taman Tun Dr Seenivasagam (fondly known as D R Park), and next to it is YMCA Ipoh. Parking lots are plenty and FOC. The restaurant is opened to public.