Thursday, August 22, 2013

If there is only one dish you can eat during your first visit to Ipoh, it is undoubtedly their bean sprout chicken (served with their hor fun noodles).

At one of the four corners of a very busy intersection filled with people cars and other means of transport, the restaurant Lou Wong stands out from the rest as tables and people occupy a good portion of the street to eat, or wait to eat here. 

We ate here instead of Lou Wong

I came with a large group of people (more than 15 if I remember correctly), and it would have been a very slim chance that there would have been a table (or two side by side ones) that could accommodate us without having to wait a ridiculous wait time. So instead of standing there hopelessly waiting for seats, we walked a bit down the street and found an air-conditioned restaurant that just had their largest table vacant. 

My first thoughts on bean sprout chicken was that it was poultry cooked with bean sprouts in some way (I mean why else is it called bean sprout chicken?). So when the dish of bean sprouts arrived on the table, I was terribly surprised to find that it was just a mound of bean sprouts, and beside it, a plate of chicken. Though it was not what I had imagined, it did not disappoint me at all:

 Much shorter and fatter, these bean sprouts taste nothing like any I've ever had. They are much sweeter, juicier, and have this bean sprout taste (what every bean sprout should have but unfortunately don't).

The chicken, on the other hand, is much like the chicken you eat at a better Chinese restaurant. Final verdict on this dish? Chicken is not that special but the bean sprouts are a must have.

Unlike your typical Chinese restaurant, we are in Malaysia after all, no rice is served here, but fresh-made hor fun. It's in a chicken broth that is very flavourful, but not to be consumed alone by the spoonful - instead, taken with a spoonful of noodles or bean sprout. 

The chicken feet is deboned and topped with a sour and spicy dressing. Sadly, the chicken feet is very bland and tasted like nothing. I ended up just eating the onion and ginger topping.

Before you leave this restaurant though, do take a deep breath of their freshly baked batches of kaya puffs (kaya is pronounced gai yang): a flaky triangular pastry filled with a creamy coconut curd: made on-site. 

The kaya puff maker let me taste a thumb-ful of their original kaya (there was also the pandan flavour) while he was making them.

Diving further into the night, we arrive at a food court:

A variety of fresh fish balls in broth

Barley beancurd ginko nut dessert soup

Variety fruit ice: jackfruit, toddy palm, dragon fruit, lychee, longan, jellies, ice, ice cream, syrup...

Pork innards congee

You pick, they grill, and you dredge them in whatever sauce(s) you fancy

Charcoal grilled chicken wings: so much better than any wings I've had in those wings restaurants and a great way to end the night


Like Penang, you will need comfort food for the morning meal:

This is RM 3.50 ~ CDN 1.17

This is called "lui char", where char is the character for tea, a very misleading name for this dish. It is actually a dish of two parts. The green concoction (many local herbs, mint leaves, small dried shrimp, garlics, blended and cooked to a beautiful green hue), and the bowl of diced toppings (dried tofu, beans, seaweed, fresh vegetables, preserved vegetables, peanuts), on a bed of rice.

You are to mix the two and it is like a congee that tastes just 100x better

"Chee cheong fun" toppings include: fried shallots, chilli, many sauce

You may have seen rice noodle rolls filled with various meats or shrimp during dimsums, but in Malaysia, they don't have anything inside, and are just thin rolls of slippery smooth goodness topped with different things wherever you go. In Hong Kong I've had many of the rice noodle rolls that have fillings inside, but none of them compare to the extremely fresh rice noodle rolls I've had in Malaysia in terms of their texture, thinness, and flavour

Lo Mee topped with pork, crispy fried shallots, and yes a side of mint!

Lo mee is a thicker noodle with a thick sweetened sauce that you have to "lo" (mix) with the toppings. Need I say that this is also very delicious?

And I end the breakfast with traditional Malaysian kueh which are steamed puddings heavily made with coconut milk and coconut sugar. They vary according to the different ingredients put in such as: pumpkin puree, cassava, sago, pandan juice, glutinous rice...

In Malaysia, it's only acceptable to end even breakfasts with a sweet dessert



Remember the Sake Bar that I wrote a post on a while back? If not that's fine (I wasn't really intending that you did anyway) because I just wanted to bring up that the waitress that my friends and I all go there for (for she is an extremely adorable waitress) is moving to another bar across the street! *sad face*

And now that August is nearing its last days, I must make the most of the rest of my summer vacation by hopefully trying out the new Fin Izakaya that opened up in Oakville *yay*

What are your last destinations before the start of school?