My Hometown - Ipoh

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ipoh is the state capital of Perak. It is located north to Kuala Lumpur; about 2.5 hours travel duration by car. In general, Ipoh is much more peaceful as compared to big and busy cities like KL and JB. Ipoh is popular for its nice food and relaxing environment. That is why many people view it as the best living place for retirement.

However, one of the main reasons that restrict visitors from traveling to Ipoh is that there is no international airport in this city. The nearest international airport to Ipoh will be Penang. From Penang, it takes about 1.5 hour travel duration by car to reach Ipoh.

I travel to Ipoh by coach. There are various luxury Super-VIP coaches from Singapore to Ipoh. Just to name a few – Grassland, Sri Maju, Konsortium Express and Five Star. These double-decker coaches are amazingly comfortable and affordable. They are equipped with luxurious reclining chair, adjustable foot rest, LCD console entertainment system, ample space for luggage and most importantly, they are noise-proof! On an average, the travel duration is about 7-8 hours from Singapore to Ipoh, with 2-3 toilet breaks in between the journey.

Have you ever heard of the term “Yi Pou Leng Lui” (meaning: Ipoh pretty girl in Cantonese)? Ipoh is also well-known for pretty girls. (ahem, I’m not referring to myself!) It could be the results of the clean and mineral-rich water supply from the waterfalls. The pretty girls are believed to have perfect clear complexion after consuming the water. But in reality, you don’t always see stunning beauty like Michelle Yeoh in Ipoh.

Ipoh is one of the cities in Malaysia with higher percentage of Chinese residents. Cantonese and Hakka are the two most prominent dialect group in Ipoh. Ipoh is famous for nice food, mainly due to the variety of cooking styles. It is not surprising to see Malaysians travel all the way from KL, Penang and Malacca to enjoy the best food in Ipoh.

TOP FIVE great food in Ipoh:

#1: Horfun – Although horfun can be found in many places, including Singapore, but the horfun in Ipoh is smoother, softer and tastier. You can’t find it anywhere else, except Ipoh. Horfun is served in a variety of flavours too – with soup, with curry, with asam laksa or simply dry horfun with a mixture of sauces. They are absolutely yummy, no matter how you consume them.

#2: Bean Sprout Chicken! – Comprises chicken meat, bean sprout, fish ball soup (optional), chicken innards (optional); served with rice or horfun. The chicken meat is amazingly tender and juicy. The most famous bean sprout chicken in Ipoh is with "Lou Wong Restaurant". But nowadays, there are just too many nice restaurants that serve this delicious bean sprout chicken.

#3: White Coffee – It is originated from the old town in Ipoh. This coffee has a strong aroma and a unique taste. The most popular coffee shops in the old town are "Sin Yoon Loong", "Sun Yuan Foong" and "Nam Heong". Nowadays, instant white coffee powder is available in supermarkets in Malaysia and Singapore. But for the Ipoh residents, nothing beats the taste of a cup of freshly brewed white coffee from these shops.

#4: Dim Sum – char siew pau (roasted pork bun), loh mai kai (glutinous rice), egg tart, chee cheong fun, siew mai, har kau (shrimp dumpling), porridge, carrot cake and lots more. Unlike the restaurants in Singapore, the dim sum restaurants in Ipoh operate in a slightly different manner. They don’t give you a menu for your order. What you have to do is – wait for the waitress to push her dim sum trolley to your table, and then you order the items that you like. She will cut the dim sum into smaller pieces and place them on the table for you. My favourite dim sum restaurants in Ipoh are “Ming Kok” and “Foh San”. During the weekends, they are usually super crowded.

#5: Curry chicken bread – bread filled with curry chicken. This specialty originates from Kampar (an old tin mine town ~30km south of Ipoh). But now, this curry chicken bread is widely available in Ipoh. Ideal food for tea break!

I still have a lot more to write about Ipoh – the Green Town, my favourite Assam House Restaurant, Sam Poh Tong, my lovely house in Ipoh etc. I will save them for my next post.
To be continued...


Anonymous said...

Ipoh white coffee...its one of the variants we are 'studying' now for market trends. Hee...
I must say the taste and aroma is really unique, roasted corn, caramellic character seemed to be pretty dominant.


nicole (tristan's mum) said...

Wah, you make me drool liao with all the good food in Ipoh. Maybe one of these days I organise a trip there, then you bring me around k? thick skin! =)

Edison's Mum said...

Hi Darmae,
I lurve white coffee a lot.. esp its thick and rich taste... :)

Hi Nicole,
No problem... if you want to go, I'll be more than happy to bring you around for the nice food... :)

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