Breakfast @ Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, Ipoh

I might be biased because it’s my parents’ hometown and all, but Ipoh might just have some of the best food in the world (I can hear people from the other Malaysian states screaming their dissent in the background). Of course like every other place, there are ‘meh’ establishments – but there are many great spots to dine in Ipoh, if you know where to look. One of these is Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, a no-frills kopitiam in the heart of town.

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There are several stalls within the kopitiam; but notable are the ones selling Ipoh-style chee cheong fun (steamed glutinous rice rolls) and yong liew (assorted items stuffed with fish paste). Another must-have, which is made by the restaurant itself rather than the stalls, is lor mai farn, glutinous rice with kaya and/or curry, which you can order together with your drinks.

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Ipoh-style chee cheong fun differs from what you can find in KL or places like Penang, in that it features mushroom sauce. This is unlike your Western-style creamy mushroom sauce, but is instead made from shiitake mushrooms, making for a broth with a lighter, darker consistency. The noodles are garnished with sesame seeds and fried shallots.

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Assorted yong liew, featuring chilli stuffed with fish paste, pork balls, stuffed beancurds and tofu, and fried jicama (sar kok).

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Last but not least, the glutinous rice with kaya (coconut jam) gives you a sweet end to the meal – sort of like Thai mango sticky rice. If you like it savoury, go for the one with curry. Wash down everything with a signature cup of Ipoh White Coffee.

KEDAI KOPI KENG NAM 

127, Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Business hours: 6AM – 11AM (daily)

 

Review: Local Food @ Lim Ko Pi, Ipoh

Most of the popular eateries in Ipoh like Sin Yoon Loong and Nam Heong were packed to the brim during Chinese New Year, so we sought out a quieter place for lunch, away from the bustling Jalan Bijih Timah area.

Enter Lim Ko Pi, located along Jalan Sultan Iskandar (old timers still call it Hugh Low Street, which was what it was known as during British colonial times). The bright red facade is hard to miss. You can either park behind the building and walk over, or across the road at a garage.

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Modeled after old school kopitiams (coffee shops) but upgraded with modern comforts such as air conditioning, Lim Ko Pi is deliberately designed to evoke a sense of nostalgia, from the polished wooden furniture and booths to the beautiful tiles lining one side of the wall – commonly seen in old Chinese houses. Red lanterns were also hung up for the Chinese New Year.

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Love the tiles! You don’t see them much anymore these days.

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There are two open air courtyards at the back of the shop where patrons can chill at, with potted plants giving the space a nice dash of greenery.

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We settled in comfortably to the nostalgic surroundings – and food was served. Bro had the daily special (nasi lemak), but unlike the Malay version, this one had stir fried green beans and vegetables. The side of Chicken rendang was sizable, and it also came with a piece of fried poppadom (lentil cracker). Tastewise, decent but lacking the strong, hearty flavours of Malay-style nasi lemak.

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A popular dish in Ipoh is the mushroom sauce chee cheong fun (rice rolls). The version at Lim Ko Pi came with a side of bean curd stuffed with fish paste and deep fried. They gave a lot of minced meat but there wasn’t enough sauce so the result was pretty dry.

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Pops and I had curry noodles. Flavours were okay but it was wayyyy too thick and starchy that it got cloying after a few bites.

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Mini cheese tart to end the meal.

Service is fast and friendly at Lim Ko Pi, and the ambience is nostalgic but the food was just so-so. Still, a decent alternative if you want to avoid the tourist crowds at popular establishments.

LIM KO PI 

10, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, 30000 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Opening hours: 830AM – 530PM (closed Mondays)

Review: Ipoh-Style Liew Fun @ MC Noodles, Puchong

A popular Ipoh-style cuisine is liew fun – assorted items such as chilli, brinjal and beancurd sheets stuffed with fish paste, and served with noodles. It’s hard to find an authentic version here in the Klang Valley, and since the parents hail from Ipoh, they have exacting standards of what makes for good liew fun. We found a noodle stall in Puchong called MC Noodles that serves it, and decided to check the place out on a weekend.

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The owner preps the noodles at the front of the shop. First, you pick from a variety of cooked items, then you select a type of noodle (yellow noodles, flat glass noodles, glutinous rice noodle, etc.) and finally, what style you want the noodles to be cooked (dry, soup or curry).

The bottom right is sar kok liew (yambean fritters), which are a rare sight outside of Ipoh. The fritters are mixed with a fish paste, wrapped in a thin beancurd sheet, sliced into large coin shapes and then deep fried.

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My curry lai fun (glutinous rice noodles) with an extra topping of pig’s skin was decent, but not great. The noodles had good texture but the curry was quite oily + tasteless.

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Sides of fried sar kok and wonton.

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The ‘dry’ version with beansprouts.

Food here is okay but the Moo wasn’t impressed with the quality of the liew. If you’re an Ipoh-ite and really craving a taste of home, however, this might be a place to get a fix.

MC NOODLES 

6, Jalan Puteri 5/8, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 7AM – 2PM (daily)