Home Bound: Ipoh Food Tour Part I

Hello readers! It’s time for some updates! I took a 5-month hiatus from all blogging activities, to give full commitment to my final semest...

Hello readers! It’s time for some updates! I took a 5-month hiatus from all blogging activities, to give full commitment to my final semester in university. It was the toughest period of my university days, having to cope with my individual final year research project, clerkship case reports, tests, assignments, and miscellaneous assessments. When my thesis deadline was drawing near, I remembered the pressure kicking in and cortisol levels surging intensely, precipitated many stress-related manifestations such as palpitations, appetite loss, nausea, and insomnia. 

My daily routine had become a cycle: Waking up early, working on thesis, grab a bite during lunch, working on thesis again, sometimes skipping classes and sacrificing personal time to work on thesis,  grab a bite for dinner, working on thesis again, and finally getting some sleep after a day’s work. Looking back today, I was truly blessed by God’s grace for guiding me through this unforgettable ordeal. 

Alright, reminiscing aside.

Now, I’ve returned with a #throwback blog post and another entry of the Home Bound series on  Ipoh food hunt, with my boyfriend, Brandon. As recently featured as the 6th best destination in Asia by Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia 2016, Ipoh is truly a perfect food paradise, and a laidback town, offering a simple and quiet lifestyle. Hence, it’s known as “retiree’s town”. And this was also featured in US News Money 2014!

Ipoh has in recent years, been popularized with the artistic street murals, refurbishment and commercialization of historical sites, mostly by “hipsterising” them, and the rapid mushrooming of hipster cafes, attracts young souls to sip expensive coffee and to take their perfect #ootd shots. And oh, not to forget the booming AEON shopping mall outlets in Ipoh. (AEON seems to have a love affair with Ipoh!) 

It was Brandon’s second visit to my hometown in April during our mid-semester break. This trip was almost entirely a food tour, and and in this entry, I will be highlighting some of these noteworthy eateries. On a side note, this food tour only includes authentic kopitiam food, not hipster cafes. 

Growing up in Ipoh has caused my taste buds to become indifferent to Ipoh food.  To me, Ipoh food is normal, and not as spectacular as others living outside of Ipoh claim it to be. 


So! Brandon will be reviewing some of the food we had in Ipoh!


#1 Sin Yoon Loong’s old town white coffee & toast


We kicked off our food hunt with a daily dose of caffeine - the authentic old town white coffee. We went to Sin Yoon Loong, instead of Nam Heong (which was situated across the road) because Nam Heong was closed. There, we ordered the signature Ipoh old town white coffee and toast. The slices of bread were toasted just fine, with only a slight hint of burn, spread with kaya and butter. 





This was the only photo we could salvage. The  photo of the coffee and toast are unavailable this time because Brandon had deleted them, while I left my phone in the car at that time. Sorry people! :/

BRANDON'S REVIEW:

Hello there readers! A thouuuussaand apologies for the lack of pictures of the toast and coffee we had here! I deleted the pics not knowing I would need them here haha! I can tell you this though:
Toast: 2/5
- The toasts were average. Nothing special. The kaya tasted fine, as any other homemade kaya.  However, I’ve tasted a much better toast combo of kaya and butter back in my hometown of Kota Kinabalu.

Coffee: 5/5!!!!
- The moment I took my first sip, I literally felt a calm over my entire body. Never have I tasted coffee that actually soothes the mind! What on earth did they put in my coffee! Oh my! I recall a slight roasted taste, but I really cannot identify what makes it taste so good! Only the words soothing, deep, and slightly roasted come to mind to this magical concoction. YOU MUST DRINK THIS HOT! NOT COLD!




Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong
15 A, Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia



#2 Thean Chun’s chee cheong fun, satay & custard


Next, we walked up to Thean Chun for some famous local delights. Despite it being a Wednesday morning, there were quite a number of large crowds in Thean Chun, probably because another culinary landmark next door, Kong Heng, was closed. The best thing about these two restaurants is that you can order your food at the neighbouring restaurant and request them to bring them over to you. Hence, it allows you to experience wide variety of food under one roof





Our breakfast round #2!


Chee cheong fun is made up of flat sheets of rice noodle that is rolled up, resembling pigs’ intestines (chee cheong), hence the name. The plain rice noodle rolls go so well with mushroom gravy or pork skin curry (I requested both!), topped with onion flakes and sesame. 




Pork satay & Chicken satay. This freshly grilled satay using charcoal flames has the right proportion of lean meat and fat. I remember the meat was succulent and the diced cucumbers were refreshing as it worked to cleanse the palate. 



Caramel egg custard, my favourite delicacy in my hometown. The texture of the custard was smooth and solid enough, and its sweetness mostly came from the caramel sauce.

BRANDON'S REVIEW:

Caramel egg custard:          4/5!
Being a non-fan of most things caramel, I was surprised that I actually enjoyed this! The caramel was not too sweet, as many desserts topped with caramel tend to be. In fact, since it was not too sweet, it complimented the taste of the dessert very very well. Much like Batman and Robin, caramel was the sidekick here, and paired with the stocky custard, they formed a really kickass gastronomical experience!
The egg custard is rightly named due to its prominent “eggy” flavour, which is mildly sweet by itself. This dessert serves as an example for other wannabe custards in not over doing it where sugar is concerned.





 Thean Chun is known for the best caramel egg custard, hence the photo on the signboard!




Restoran Thean Chun
2, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia








After pleasing our stomachs, we took a light stroll around the hipster area. (near Ipoh's Plan B, right next to Kong Heng)

And here are some mandatory #ootd shots taken.


We then stumbled upon a vintage barber shop. What a blast from the past. It was the revival of the original Star Hair Dressing Salon in 1927. The barber, fondly known as “Uncle Thiru” returned from retirement to give us a glimpse of the past.


Brandon actually got himself a haircut. 






 

 You may have your picture taken while sitting on the barber chair with the barber posing next to you, pretending to give you a haircut, by giving some cash donation. 


 BRANDON'S REVIEW:

Well! This was a surprise! The little barbershop looked neat and I really needed a haircut (was evolving into a porcupine). Thus! I stepped into the humble, historically saturated, albeit hipsterised barbershop. You can tell he is very transparent with his business. Geddiiiiittttt???? :3

Haircut: 3/5
Meh. I suppose my directions were not clear enough. Oh well.
HOWEVEEEERRRRRR!!!!

Massage: 4/5!
Surprise! I did not know that it was a practice for Indian barbers to melt your stress away by massaging your head and neck! AWESOME! Back in Sabah, we don’t have many Indian barbers, or Indians for that matter! MOAR PLEASE! Maybe I’ll just forgo the haircut and get a massage instead next time......



We decided to go back because the hot scorching sun was getting more intense as midday was approaching. Somehow, the climate in Ipoh is hotter than in KL!

#3 Hawker stalls @ Taman Desa Kencana, Bercham


On our way back, we stopped by at a hawker stall area nearby my home for a light lunch. I grew up mostly eating the food there, because it is conveniently nearby, and my family doesn’t bother to go to town purposely for food there. Plus, the food here tastes great to me.



This glorious bowl of Laksa pampered my taste buds with the perfect combination of the assam, onions and mint leaves (my favourite!). 


  BRANDON'S REVIEW:

ASSAM LAKSA: 5/5!
I am not joking when I say THIS IS THE BEST ASSAM LAKSA I HAVE EVER TASTED!
I am not actually a fan of assam laksa, but my goodness is this good! The broth is very savoury, full of that umami taste that I love! Also, The fish bits and veges tasted fresh! The crispy bean curd is very delicious as it soaks up the broth, making it even more savoury! The thing is, I was not hungry at that time. That all changed after I started eating it! You owe it to yourself to try this!



We also ordered popiah as our side dish. Love the crispy fritters stuffed inside the roll. This is one of the place that I will conveniently go for when I have sudden popiah cravings. 

BRANDON'S REVIEW:


Omnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom... Sorry what? Can’t hear you! Omnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom...

Crispy Popiah: 5/5!!!
What is it with Ipoh and their surprisingly glorious hawker stalls??? THIS WAS THE BEST SAVOURY POPIAH EVAAAAAAAAA!!! And right after eating that marvelous bowl of assam laksa?



Take notes people! This is how you make a savoury popiah! Use fried shrimp and turnip! Crunchy, savoury, generous portions. Check, check, and CHECK! 


Why hello there ladies... 




Bercham Street Hawker Food Stalls
Along the road of Persiaran Bercham Selatan 1, Taman Desa Kencana





#4 Dinner & dessert @ Tong Sui Kai


Tong Sui Kai, aka dessert street, located just in front of SRJK(C) Sam Tet nearby my alma mater, SMK Convent, has indeed lived up to its name by offering a wide range of desserts from shaved ice with fruits to Lin Chee Kang. Not only are there desserts, but many stalls are there too, serving main courses. 

This bowl of goodness:


Fairly generous amount of fruits, even though I wish to have more mangoes over watermelons. And oh, the mangoes were sweet!

I ordered the popular beef noodles from a stall located near the main road. 


I remember the intense flavour of the broth, even though it looks light on its appearance. But I really wish they would give more pieces of beef.


Brandon’s wonton noodles.


BRANDON'S REVIEW:


Wonton noodles: 2.5/5

Ok lah. Just your average wonton noodles. Nothing special. The fried wontons were fried, with little meat in there. The noodles were noodles. Nope, the sauce wasn’t spectacular either.  Try other stuff when you’re there. No offence wonton noodle man. 


Dining-in tip (more like courtesy haha) at Tong Sui Kai: It’s advisable to order something from the stall opposite your table.




Tong Sui Kai
Jln Sultan Ekram, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opens at 6pm







That’s all from us on DAY #1.




For Ipoh to be extra awesome, 
I will be posting more updates on our DAY #2 food tour! 
Stay tuned.


Love,
Eunice C.







Disclaimer: all cartoon images taken from Google Images.







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11 comments

  1. Living in Ipoh myself, I avoid all these places if possible because they are just so crowded! And I don't have the patience to wait to be served. LOL

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    Replies
    1. I know exactly how you feel! I only go to these places when my friends come to Ipoh for a visit

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  2. these looks like some superb high quality food ... wish I can try it out too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are some well known Halal food in Ipoh too. Hopefully i'll be able to blog about it in the future :)

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  3. wahahaha, I have tried before all the food u recommended here, simply superb!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh wow, their popiah looks really delicious! Next time go Ipoh must try it out!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congrats on your completion of University!
    Your trip around Ipoh sure looks mouthwatering!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! What a great post dear!! The foods look so delicious! Hope you enjoyed.

    ReplyDelete