Saturday, April 15, 2023

[Year 2023] Food Hunting- of Cafes/ Must-Eats @ Ipoh, Perak.

There is no shortage of good hawker fare in Ipoh but the cafe scene is also on a burgeoning trend. A short 1.5 hour drive from Penang will land you at Ipoh- a place filled with Cantonese delicacies and recently, a myriad of new eateries and cafes around waiting to be explored. We recently did our annual foodie trip to Ipoh, trying to excavate some real hidden gems that are only patronized by locals as well as exploring some newly opened cafes. This blog entry records some of the must-try food places in Ipoh (2023 edition). You can also read our older entries here at: 2022 & 2021, 2020 and 2019.

1) Kum Kee "Big Small Leg" 锦记大小脚茶室
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 4 pm to 12 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 012- 512 5219

Yong Tofu (Rm 1 each)

Braised Chicken Feet (Rm 6)

Braised Tofu (Rm 0.70 each)

Bean Sprouts (Rm 4/ small)

Ipoh Hor Fun (Rm 2/ regular)

A place frequented by locals, Kum Kee is often referred as "Big Small Leg" by the regulars. The signature dishes of this place are the Pork Trotters (Big Leg) and Chicken Feet (Small Leg); hence the name Big Small Leg. But in actual fact, many visit the place for its home-made Yong Tofu and the tummy-comforting Ipoh Hor Fun served in clear soup. The rest are just addition to the feast. Diners need to head over to the order counter to place their orders and to handpick the Yong Tofu. We did not find the food here extraordinary but a simple, comforting meal that everyone can eat on a regular basis. The dishes here are suitable for all age range too. The place is often thronged by regular patrons after 6 pm so it is best to visit before that time if you wish to avoid the crowd. 

2) Love Full Dim Sum 樂福点心
Service Charge: Yes 6%
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 7 am to 2 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Contact Number: 05-526 9232

Beancurd Prawn Rolls (Rm 6.80)

Prawn Dumplings (Rm 7)

Steamed Fish Paste (Rm 5.50)

Prawn Dumplings (Rm 7)

A short drive from the Ipoh North Toll, Love Full is a newly opened Dim Sum joint where you can make this place your first stop for your Ipoh food trail. The Dim Sum joint recently started its business operations in early Dec 2022 and has garnered an appreciate following. Visit the place as early as possible in the morning so that you have more options to choose from. Our visit to this place was slightly before noon and many items were not available. The Prawn Dumplings we had were good- with fresh and plump Prawns. The Steamed Fish Paste was not shabby either, but the Prawn Rolls were less impressive. A worth place worth checking out if you wish to try something new. 

3) Ferment Boulangerie
Service Charge: Yes 6%
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: 016- 704 7405

Assorted Sourdough (Rm 14)

Tiramisu (Rm 15)

Tartine- Avo Smash (Rm 21)

Ferment Boulangerie is not exactly new, the bakehouse just celebrated its 1 year anniversary in January. The bakehouse is known to churn out some freshly baked Sourdough. According to its official Facebook page, the bakehouse only uses natural yeast in the fermentation process. Apart from the Sourdough, Ferment also has other pastries and cakes to offer... as well as a menu featuring sandwiches and toasts. We tried the Sourdough and we must say we love it- crusty and addictively fragrant. The Avo Smash Tartine was very good too, they were very generous with the Avocado and also brilliantly included some pickled Onions for the acidity to cut through the creaminess. We also had the Tiramisu- creamy, moist and packed with flavors. A place not to be missed by Sourdough lovers. 

4) Q Roaster 小弟烧腊
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 10 am to 4 pm. Closed on Mondays.
Contact Number: 016- 868 8667

Beijing Roasted Duck (Rm 21/ quarter-upper part)

Dang Gui Roasted Duck (Rm 19/ quarter-lower part)

Hidden in a neighborhood less frequented by tourists, Q Roaster can be found at Bandar Cyber Ipoh. The place is known to the locals for serving some delicious Chinese style Roasted Duck. The signature Dang Gui Roasted Duck is a little unusual as compared to the usual Roasted Duck. It possesses the unique herbaceous aroma of the Dang Gui sans the bitterness. The outer skin is just like any Roasted Duck, the meat carries the Dang Gui aroma with a juicier bite. Another popular item here is the Beijing Roasted Duck, the set comes with a serving of pancake-wraps and various condiments to go with the Duck. The Beijing Duck is expertly cooked with crackling skin and juicy meat. While we agree that the Roasted Duck here is slightly above average but we did not think it is necessary to go all the way here for it. 

5) Chloe.Co
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 11 am to 10 pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Contact Number: 05-243 2389

Green Tea Red Bean Monster Scone (Rm 12)

Chloe Apple Strudel (Rm 22)

A short walk from the popular tourist attraction in Ipoh- Concubine Lane will land you at Chloe.Co, a fairly new cafe which opened its doors to the public in late Oct 2022. The French-inspired cafe churns out fresh European pastries daily. The cafe also offers a small main menu but the pastry selection is wider, making it more suitable for an afternoon tea or after-meal dessert place. The interior decor is simple but cozy, walk in the place and you will be greeted by the pastries and cakes on display. The place gets very busy on weekends so it does take a while to be seated. On our visit, we sampled 2 items- the signature Chloe Apple Strudel and Green Tea Red Bean Monster Scone. The Apple Strudel was okay but we thought it was a little overly flaky and dry in texture. The Green Tea Red Bean Monster Scone fared better- the Green Tea flavor was bold and they brilliantly sandwiched a piece of Butter, introducing a touch of saltiness to the Scone, making it more dimensional than it supposed to be. We did not get to try the rest of the items but we thought the price points are quite steep by Ipoh's cafe standard. 

6) Khoo Eng Chee Bakery & Cake
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 8 am to 8 pm. Closed on Sundays.
Contact Number: 05-253 4386

A stone's throw distance away from the famous bakery- Ming Yue Confectionery, Khoo Eng Chee Bakery and Cake is the go-to place in Ipoh for some fresh supplies of classic, old-school Nyonya Kuih or local snacks. The brand has been around for decades and has been supplying freshly made Nyonya Kuih in the city. If you yearn for some Nyonya Kuih, make your way there in the mornings and you will find more selections. We did not find anything spectacular here but delighted to learn that the Nyonya Kuihs are affordably priced (given the generous portion). 

7) Sedap Cafe
Service Charge: Yes 5%
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 9 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 012-532 3888

Signature Curry Noodles (Rm 17)

Cendol with Grass Jelly and Kidney Beans (Rm 8)

A little off the beaten track- Sedap Cafe has ample parking lots and spacious dining hall. The fully air-conditioned place is also less-crowded, making it extremely suitable for diners with young kids or seniors with walking difficulties. The brand is not new to the industry and in fact, they do have an eatery at Canning Garden, the signature includes Ipoh Curry Mee, Ipoh Hor Fun and various stir-fry dishes. We tried the signature Ipoh Curry Mee and thought it was just alright. The Cendol fared better... with a nice addition of Grass Jelly, for a better texture. We would however, prefer something creamier (thicker Coconut Cream and Gula Melaka). Not a place for absolute taste but if you happen to need a place to accommodate juniors/seniors, this place is appropriate. 

8) Yohan Bakery and Cake House
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 9 am to 6:30 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 05-253 1716

Established since 1982, Yohan Bakery and Cake house is probably the go-to bakery for many local Ipohans. The brand is famous for 3 items: the Nyonya Steamed Pandan Cake, the seasonal Cempedak Cake and the Tiger Skin Roll. These are also known as some good food-souvenirs to be shared with family and friends. The Cempedak Cake is off-season, and we only managed to try the Pandan Cake and the Tiger Skin Roll. The former one has a bold Pandan flavor and a melt-in-the-mouth texture, not exactly very sweet and nicely balanced. The latter one has got nothing overly exciting (save for the appearance) ... like any ordinary (but decent) cake. 

9) Shun Jie Fried Rice Cake 兵如港 顺姐炸年糕
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 12 pm to 5 pm. Only opens on every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Contact Number: 016-593 3116

Sweet Potato and Yam Nian Gao Fried Fritter (Rm 2.30 each)

Probably our best find in this trip- Shun Jie's Fried Cake is truly a hidden gem worth trying. The proprietor runs the business right outside from her own house and it only opens on a specific time on specific days so do take note on the business hours. The items on offer are quite simple- Fried Fritters, something that we can find anywhere but Shun Jie's Fried Fritters are on a different league... particularly her Nian Gao Fried Fritters. The signature Sweet Potato and Yam Nian Gao is a must-try. While still warm, the Nian Gao has a gluey, flowy-liquid consistency which gives an instant melt-in-the-mouth texture. Something very different (and definitely more delicious) than those we can find in Penang.

10) Let's Rock Restaurant 大家乐
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 12:30 pm to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 012-511 8834

Yong ToFu (Rm 1.10 each)

Fried Yong ToFu (Rm 1.10 each)

Dry Ipoh Hor Fun (Rm 2.10)

Dry Silver Needle Noodles (Rm 2.10)

Long queues will be spotted at Let's Rock during lunch and dinner hours, this place is often patronized by locals due to its strategic location, delicious food and most importantly, inexpensive. Diners will need to join the queue and pick whatever ingredients they like before placing order. Serving speed is fast and the combination is usually very simple and straight-forward... a variety of Yong Tofu and Noodles. Popular choice would be the Ipoh Hor Fun. The broth is clear and sweet, the accompanying home-made Chili sauce packs a powerful punch and works well with anything. A satisfying meal here (for 2 pax) with 2 plates of noodles, 15 pieces of Yong Tofu and drinks would cost a little under Rm 25. 

11) Pasir Pinji Rojak
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 1:30 pm to 4 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Rojak (Rm 7)

Running the business from home, Pasir Pinji Rojak is quite popular amongst the locals. But it does take a little effort to locate this place- there is no proper signage and the facade does not seem promising. The place is quite simple and does not offer dine-in. The Rojak is pretty standard- with the usual Rojak ingredients (green Mango, Jicama, Cucumber, Pineapple and Prawn Cracker). Not exactly very sweet (by Rojak standard) and it has a hint of spiciness (from the Thai Chili powder). We were told by the owner that their Rojak has a Thai influence. Interestingly, the Pasir Pinji Rojak is a stone's throw distance away from Shun Jie Fried Cake in the same neighborhood. 

12) Little Allegra Bakery
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 8:30 am to 5 pm. Closed on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Contact Number: 010-941 5722

Chocolate Baklava (Rm 14)

Quiche (Rm 14)

It's easy to miss The Little Allegra Bakery- there is no proper, obvious signage to show the place. Adding salt to the wound is the small, narrow entrance to the bakery cafe. Once inside, you find yourself in a warm, cozy little space filled with buttery aroma. Walk further towards the order counter and you will find the fresh pastries on display. If you are there for something light, you can pick and pay at the counter; for mains, order from the menu. All items will be heated up before serving to you. On our visit, we had a savory item and a sweet. The savory item- Quiche was alright, the filling was nicely done with a smoky, salty essence from the Turkey Bacon, the texture was nice too. The sweet item- Chocolate Baklava on the other hand, was way too sweet to our liking. We like the nutty and flaky texture of the Baklava but a tad too sweet to enjoy further. Sharing is recommended. 

13) Uncle Long Ipoh 长叔 精品叉烧.烧腊
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 10 am to 8 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 05-210 8836

Char Siew Noodles (Rm 8)

Roasted Duck Noodles (Rm 8.50)

Quarter Roasted Chicken (Rm 13)

Braised Tofu (Rm 1.50) and Eggs (Rm 3 for 2 pcs)

A well established Ipoh brand- Uncle Long is well known for its coal-grilled Char Siew (BBQ Pork). The business has been running for almost 2 decades and its one of the go-to places for some good Roasted meat. The restaurant at Ipoh South often sees big crowd and regular patrons during peak hours. The restaurant occupies 2 shop lots and offers ample seats. The menu features the signature Roasted Meats as well as some Chinese dishes that anyone can relate to. Expect to see Char Siew, Siew Yok, Roasted Chicken and Roasted Duck on the menu, along with some simple braised goodies. Items are affordably priced and the restaurant is fully air-conditioned. We recommend trying their signature Char Siew (beautifully caramelized) and Braised Chicken (fork-tender with a burst of Soy Sauce aroma). Do not miss their Noodles too- very springy and expertly seasoned. 

14) Yam Meet You 薯芋你
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Business Hours: 1 pm to 10 pm. Closed on Thursdays.
Contact Number: 011- 3323 6811

Black and White Soya Ice (Rm 10.90)

Quench your thirst amidst sultry dry tropical weather at Yam Meet You, just across the street from Sun Yeong Wai Medan Ipoh Branch. The dessert parlor serves Taiwanese-influenced icy treats, with unbelievably low prices. For RM10.90, you will get yourself a bowl of their signature shaved ice with Taro Balls, Grass Jelly, Brown Sugar Pearls, Tofu Bean Curd served on a bed of Soy-Milk infused shaved ice. The portion is huge and can be shared amongst 2 diners. Not something out of the world delicious but it does not disappoint, a good place to stop by to cool yourself down amidst the heat. 

15) Sun Yeong Wai 新揚威 (Medan Ipoh Branch)
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: Yes 6%
Business Hours: 8 am to 5 pm. Opens Daily. 
Contact Number: 05-311 3600

Pipa Duck (Rm 30/ half bird)

Roasted Duck (Rm 30/ half bird)

Char Siew and Siew Yok Platter (Rm 26/ large)

Mustard Greens Stew (Rm 9)

Sun Yeong Wai is a popular brand in Ipoh known for churning out delicious Dang Gui Roasted Duck and Pipa Duck. The brand has been there for more than 30 years and has branches across Ipoh. We visited the one in Ipoh Garden. The place is often packed during lunch hours. Apart from its signature Roasted Duck and Pipa Duck, the place also dishes out Roasted Chicken, Char Siew and Siew Yok as well as some other condiments/sides like Nyonya Acar, Mustard Greens Stew etc. The dips are traditionally Cantonese with Plum sauce served. The Pipa Duck is worth of trying. Probably we got the wrong cut of the Roasted Duck, we thought the meat was not as tender as we would have hoped. 

16) Er Gu Niang 二姑娘芽菜鸡 
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 52, Jalan Foo Eng Lim, Taman Hoover, 31650, Ipoh, Perak.
Business Hours: 11 am to 3:30 pm, 5 pm to 9 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Contact Number: 014-928 9336

Signature Chicken (Rm 28/ half)

Bean Sprouts (Rm 9/ large)

Braised Chicken Feet (Rm 10)

Hor Fun (Rm 2.50/ dry)

Hor Fun (Rm 2.50/ soup)

Rice (Rm 2.50)

A relatively new Ipoh Chicken Rice place near Pasir Pinji- Er Gu Niang has quickly gained fame over social media. The place offers a good option for Chicken Rice in Ipoh- more comfortable, air-conditioned space with quality food. Apart from the usual Chicken Rice fare with Ipoh Hor Fun, Er Gu Niang also rolls out some new dishes like Rice Wine Lala, braised Soup etc. Prices are reasonable and the dishes do not disappoint. Definitely a good alternative to some of the long-established brands in Ipoh town.

17) Restoran Tauge Ayam Tim Wong 添旺芽菜鸡河粉
Service Charge: No
Government Tax: No
Address: 103, Lorong Bercham, 18, Kampung Baru Bercham, 31400, Ipoh, Perak.
Business Hours: 11 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: 012-702 0038

Free Range Chicken (Rm 38/ half bird)

Bean Sprouts (Rm 9/ medium)

Guang Xi stuffed Tofu Puff (Rm 2.50 each)

Boiled Octopus (Rm 18)

Hor Fun Soup (Rm 1.80)

Approximately 20-min drive away from Ipoh town- Tim Wong is a relatively new restaurant to the Ipoh food scene. Opened in July 2023, Tim Wong is a fast-growing Chicken Rice specialist in Bercham. It is popular for its quality blanched Chicken and good selection of side dishes. Visit the place earlier and you get to choose between Free Range Chicken, Ma Cao Chicken or the usual White Chicken. Condiments-wise, there are also a few types to go for. Popular options include the usual Chicken Rice Chili sauce as well as Cantonese's favorite Ginger-Scallion sauce. The Hor Fun Soup carries a bold Chicken-essence and works well with the light, silky smooth Hor Fun. Add ons are available like blanched Octopus and Guang Xi stuffed Tofu Puff (with meat).

Have Fun Exploring Ipoh! 

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