Happy Lunar New Year, guys!
After a long period of lockdowns and movement restrictions due to COVID, it’s nice to have that festive feel again – malls are once again boasting beautiful LNY decorations, fireworks are being set off in the neighbourhood in celebration, friends are once again posting their reunion dinner pictures – all things which we have not seen over the last two years, since the pandemic began. Of course, this doesn’t mean we can be lax with our precautions – but I think people are moving on with their lives, cautiously – and that’s a good thing.
As for the fam and I, we decided to pay relatives in Ipoh a visit the week before LNY, to beat the inevitable balik kampung exodus over LNY proper. We self-tested the night before, left home early the next morning, and reached Ipoh after a 2.5 hour drive. As we approached the city, the sight of Ipoh’s signature limestone hills was a welcome sight.
For breakfast, we headed to Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, a favourite breakfast spot for both locals and tourists alike. Tucked in a corner shoplot in Kampung Jawa, this over five-decade old kopitiam (coffee shop) houses several stalls selling Ipoh specialties, including the very elusive (in KL, at least) mushroom sauce chee cheong fun (steamed rice rolls). While chee cheong fun is easy to find in KL, the dish is often served Hong Kong style (stuffed with barbecued pork / shrimp and steamed, served with soy sauce), or with fried snacks.
The version at Keng Nam is pretty decent – the rolls are silky smooth, and the mushroom sauce is savoury with plenty of minced pork and bits of shiitake in them. The best part is that it only costs RM3.80! That price for any noodle dish is impossible to find in KL.
Of course, one can’t come to Keng Nam and not order their specialty; the glutinous rice with kaya, or glutinous rice with curry. Bro had the latter, and was served with a mountain of sticky rice, drenched with chicken curry and topped with a few decently sized pieces of meat. The kaya version is good too, and the kaya is homemade. Great if you like rice paired with something sweet.
Another must have when you’re at a Malaysian kopitiam: toast bread with butter and kaya, and half boiled eggs (not pictured coz the Hubs ate it before I could even take a picture lol). It’s so simple, but there’s something very nostalgic and comforting about this typical Malaysian breakfast.
There are a few other stalls within Keng Nam, one selling curry noodles, the other Western breakfast (sausages and eggs, etc.), a yong liew (beancurd and fried goodies stuffed with fish paste) stall, as well as a prawn mee stall.
Funny incident: ordered a glass of Milo Bing (iced Milo) from the staff and she repeated it to me “You mean Milo Suet?” Which hammered to me that I was in Ipoh – there are differences between the way KL-ites and Ipoh-ites speak Cantonese. 😛
KEDAI KOPI KENG NAM
127, Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak
Business hours: 6AM – 11AM (daily)