**Writing this at 11PM on a Sunday – it’s going to be a busy week ahead and I doubt I’ll have time to blog, so I’m squeezing this in to post later 😛
Hey guys! And to my fellow Chinese friends, a Happy Lunar New Year! The LNY celebrations last for 15 days, but many of us in Malaysia have already returned to work after a week-long break. Mine lasted just five days because the office didn’t take additional days off, but it was well spent in my parents hometown of Ipoh, Perak.
Set off from KL at 5AM and arrived just shy of 8AM. Time for some food huntin’.
One of the most popular breakfast joints in Ipoh is Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, famed for their glutinous rice (lor mai farn) that is served with curry chicken or kaya (coconut jam). We were surprised to find that the place was open, even on Lin 30 Man (literally ‘night of the 30th’ – the day before the Lunar New Year), as some businesses will be closed in preparation for reunion dinner. As expected, place was packed to the brim but we managed to secure seats inside.
Typical kopitiam setting; seats tightly packed together, extremely noisy, heat and smoke wafting from the stalls.
The chee cheong fun (glutinous rice rolls) in Ipoh is notably different from anywhere else in Malaysia. In KL you get the version with sweet sauce, served with assorted fried goodies, while in Penang it is served with dark sauce and shrimp paste. Ipoh’s spin features either curry (above), served with pig skin, or a mild, savoury mushroom sauce.
Personally, I feel that Ipoh chee cheong fun is the best! The one at Keng Nam does not disappoint – the rolls were smooth with a slight springiness to the texture, complemented well by the mild curry sauce and bouncy pig skin.
Moo had a simple chicken noodle soup from one of the stalls that also serves curry noodles.
Keng Nam is perhaps best known for its glutinous rice (pulut/lor mai farn). You can choose to have it savoury, with chicken curry, or with kaya. I like the one with kaya, but the curry isn’t bad too: rich, creamy and very filling. The rice has a wonderful stickiness to it.
Another famous Ipoh dish: yong liew or assorted fried/stuffed goodies. I don’t think there is a proper English description for it, but they encompass items like beancurd and vegetables that are stuffed with fish paste and then boiled/deep fried, as well as fishballs and meatballs. My dad’s favourite is the sar kot (jicama), mixed with fish paste, wrapped in bean curd skin and then deep fried.
The ones served here were good, although I wish the auntie hadn’t put the fried items in the soup coz it made them all soggy.
To wash it all down, one cannot miss the famous Ipoh white coffee. Icy cold, sweet and refreshing.
Kedai Kopi Keng Nam
127, Jalan Raja Ekram,
30300 Ipoh, Perak
Business hours: 6 – 11AM (daily)
Phone:+605 255 7328