14 July 2009

Food in Ipoh

In the few months since we moved to Ipoh, we have tried out a few places and the kids and I have decided which ones they like or don't.

For breakfast there's Hollywood, a coffee shop in Canning Garden. It is probably the only Chinese coffee shop I know of which is pork-free. So there is a good-sized Malay clientele, which I think is great. You know, the muhibbah thing and all. The first time I saw so many Malays eating there, I was rather puzzled. Well onto the food that Hollywood serves. My son likes the Hong Kong style chee cheong fun done with prawns. The beef brisket noodles is quite good, as is the char kuay teow, though there are 2 different vendors of char kuay teow, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. The roti canai vendor there is so-so, and the Ipoh sar hor fun in Hollywood does not do the dish justice. It is much more delicious in other shops in Ipoh. There is a "pisang goreng" vendor there who sells a good variety of fried snacks.

I love roti canai, capati, tose, you name it, and it must go with good dal or fish curry. When we first came to Ipoh, I was quite disappointed as the standard of mamak food just can't compare to KL. The rotis were either too crispy or not brown enough and the dals and curries too weak. But happily I found one to my liking - Bukit Merah Curry House in Ipoh Garden. As for banana leaf rice, we like Kalai's in Ipoh's Little India section.

Of course there is the perennial favourite, Kong Heng, in Old Town, Ipoh. Most of the food there is pretty good. Sotong kangkung, pork satay, sar hor fun, chee cheong fun, laksa (nice and tangy). If it's full out, you could always hop next door to eat in the House of Mirrors or Tien Chun, which serves similar food to Kong Heng. Tien Chun does a great baked caramel custard - it sells out real fast.

For rice dishes at lunch time, do try out Koh Kee which is located just opposite the House of Mirrors in a little non-descript alley. All the food dished up tastes yummy with a homey flavour. We love it! And not too expensive either. Hoong Tho, not too far away from House of Mirrors (nearer to the Kinta Flats) serves up nice tasting noodles, and fried wan ton.

As for dinner, my kids love 1919 Restaurant and Gallery, which is opposite Tesco. Air conditioned, nice ambience and great waiting staff. I must say the training for their waiters is excellent. On Mother's Day, as we were leaving, the waiter wished me Happy Mother's Day. The manager there, Stephen, is real friendly and accommodating. If you are going on a weekend, do call ahead to reserve a table. It's that full.

Long-established Tuck Kee in Pasir Pinji gives great value food, and does not disappoint in taste. It is always used for wedding dinners, so beware. And the queue just outside Tuck Kee for the restaurant's char siu and roast duck snakes around the corridors! Some where near Tuck Kee in Pasir Pinji under a cluster of old trees is a collection of stalls. Locals call it "Tai Su Keok" which literally means "at the foot of the big tree". Lots to choose from and cheap. Fried yong tou foo with noodles, laksa, porridge etc .

Ipoh doesn't have much to offer in terms of Western dining, but there are Italia Mia (Sunway City); Brewster's and Miner's Arm (in town); and Fantasy Cafe for cheap and fast western sets (on the Road where Elim Church and Ave Maria girls' school are). Of course there is the exorbitantly priced Indulgence, which I have not tried. Apparently the price of food in Indulgence is as expensive as 5 star hotels in KL.

More of my accounts of food in Ipoh will come later.


  1. Check out Hollywood on Sundays. There's a 'hor-hee' stall which operates there only on Sundays. Really good.
    On other days, there do their business in a coffeeshop opposite ACS on Jalan lahat

  2. Thanks Eric, I think I know which one that is. It is pretty good, but I remember when I was a little girl we used to eat the hor hee his Dad made - that was delicious! So which is your fav eating place in Ipoh? I take it you are from Ipoh.

  3. you should try 'up and up' restaurant. i'm not sure where it is though. the assam fish head there is excellent, and so is the soy sauce chicken. to my knowledge it isn't expensive either.

  4. Thanks Diane, I will ask my husband if he knows this place. Are you from Ipoh?