Monthly Archives: January 2011

Kong Heng Pork Satay – Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh Old Town. Ipoh Perak

Satay in the morning anyone? Chapter 4 – Satay Lunch

Well I was told by my mum to try the pork satay. I have never been fond of pork satay having tasted it a few times in PJ and KL and once long ago in Malacca. I didn’t see anything so special about the meat although everyone tended to rave about it a lot. I kind of mentioned it to Seok Hean so after our scrumptious breakfast, we left dropped Ah Yoke Cher at the supermarket to buy Arrowhead Potatoes (Ngaku) and then we dropped Mrs Teoh back and kind of rested a little bit before running off to pick up Ah Yoke Cher with huge supermarket bags full of large Arrowheads. I don’t think my mum ever bought these big ones and they looked so fresh and nice compared to what we get here. And better still it is like RM2 cheaper then KL…. Shocking I think!

So anyhow we went through the town and I noticed so many old places that would only be something of yesteryears in KL. Old Tradesmen, Tin Smiths, Old style Sundry Shops and many old shops which sold kitchen equipment. So we trundled on and I must say it was quite a hot day. We have been getting this cold weather in KL that Ipoh proved to be a little bit too hot at times. We passed this little stall selling cookies and Chinese goodies, and I had planned to stop by after lunch to get some stuff. The restaurant was full, hustle and bustle and everything that a normal coffee shop would be on a public holiday. There were nicely dressed people, there were very sexy people, there were some who needed to be dressed by someone kind of people, it was as if you could be anyone in Ipoh, big small, and everything but when you wanted pork satay… you came here! I wondered to myself if Michelle Yeoh ever sat on the chair I was sitting?

The Satay came. Now these were rather big sticks of pork satay. I have always been used to the Dawning of the Extinction of Pig kind in PJ where they serve miniscule size pork satay. The size is so small that if you left it on the plate long enough it would dry! These were succulent pieces made to perfection. The meat was tender and well spiced and while I did think it could have been a tiny bit more burnt but on the whole it was perfect. Even the bit of complimentary fat on the stick was well seasoned. It was sweet fat! I never had sweet fat before unless you count bak gua. This was sweet with a satay flavor.

close up of sheer succulence

The liver satay was also well marinated in that, you did not get the gory liver flavor. It was cooked so well that it did not have a bitter aftertaste, which can happen in most the preparation of liver from most four legged animals. The intestines were clean and well marinated that if you ate it in the dark you would not know what you were eating. It was really nice.

And the gravy, I was expecting lousy gravy because most cases nice satay always came with sad looking and tasting gravy and lousy satay always came with nice gravy, this is the KL and PJ satay situation.  Not at Kong Heng. The Satay Gravy was just nice and it complemented the meat very well.  I wanted ketupat though!!!!!

Kudos to the cook whom I am told is an old man who has been cooking there for many years, many many years in fact when Seok was a little girl her dad would take here there. And he was old back then too. So now we believe his son has taken over. Now this plate of satay is like bottomless because every time your plate is half empty it is filled with fresh satay and when the owner feels you need to be made more special, he will empty your plate and give you fresh hot satay. I thought this was quite quaint. Health wise and cleanliness wise I cannot say because I don’t know where my satay went, so I shan’t comment.

While everyone had bowls of noodles and even crème caramel, yes they serve crème caramel too, I was too busy with my satay that I forgot to take photos. I thought the crème caramel was divine!

Next time I will take photos for sure. So what’s for dinner????

Kedai Kopi Woh Heng – Mustapha Al Bakri Road, Ipoh Perak

The Ipoh Food Journey Chapter 3

I woke up in the morning amidst the chirping of birds and nice fresh air.  I slept like a log. The fact that I ate so late at night, and still managed to sleep was something rather strange with me because I am the sort of person who has to eat at 6 pm or not sleep will ever happen. Now another baffling point was my sinuses did not give me any trouble at all.  So anyhow I showered and got ready in anticipation of todays activities.

Soon everyone was packed into the car including Mrs Teoh who was really dressed up rather elegantly, a lady full of yesteryears charms and elegance.  A Queen Mother of sorts who speaks with gentility and regalness and most importantly no airs just like her daughter Seok Hean.  Anyhow Ah Yoke Cher decided we had to try out the Ipoh Curry mee.  Now I have not had curry mee in a restaurant or coffee shop for that matter for years.  In fact I seldom eat a whole plate or bowlful of food for some odd reason although my proportions may beg to differ.

In fact the last time I had a noodle or pasta dish in front of me was when I was in Melbourne and I had Blue Cheese Gnocchi.  I did not write about it because yours truly forgot the name of the restaurant and Dan was no help at that. Thing is I have  been there twice and still forgot.  So its been a while and having to eat local noodles in a coffee shop was something else as well.

So we drove off and after numerous left turns and right turns. Poor Eddie, he was cool though, and extremely alert during those last minute instructions being screamed from the back.  And finally we reach Mustapha AlBakri Road, and there was our breakfast destination Kedai Kopi Woh Heng (Woh Heng Coffee Shop).  It has been ages since I actually sat in a non air conditioned coffee shop. It’s not snobbery or anything like that, its just that well being from the cooking field myself, I prefer to get out of hot stuffy kitchens into a nice air conditioned setting.  So anyhow there we were.

It was not a very big restaurant, but it was rather full of people waiting for Yong Tau Foo, for the Curry Noodles and Won Ton Noodles.

There was even BBQ pork slices being sold although after the meal I completely forgot to check it out.

Anyhow, we tried ordering but somehow the lady selling the Curried Noodles was just all over the place, she was there by herself and clearly she should have had an assistant, although we did notice someone helping her, but somehow she was just in a mess. In fact in the end I saw some of her customers helping her pack their own food. We left it to Ah Yoke Cher.

The food arrived rather quickly.

First to arrive was the bowl of dumplings (sui kow).  Unlike the ones I have had in KL, this one had black mushrooms in it.  It was all crinkly because of the unevenness of the filling and the first bite into it revealed copious amounts of minced pork and prawns and mushrooms seasoned perfectly.  I have never tasted dumplings like these before.  In KL, the ones we have are usually a large lump of prawn meat that is floured and a fatty pieces of pork mince. This one was flavorsome and had a nice bite. Being polite I just had one. Now as most people would know, I like morsely food, that is small size foods that I can fit on a spoon and these dumplings were just up my alley.  But I had to hold back.

The Curried Noodles arrived, Seok had yellow noodles and I of course had to have Ipoh Koay Teow (I mean I was in Ipoh). Now unlike the Curried Noodles I am used to and even the one that I teach and make for orders, Ipoh Curried Noodles is a trite different.  First the gravy is brown, and not sickeningly rich and heavy, and the accompaniments are just as refreshingly not of the heavy kind. It was just mint leaves and shredded chicken breast with some peeled prawns and of course Ipoh Bean Sprouts.  The gravy was richly flavored without being overly powering, and it was not heavy.  A squeeze of the lime just gave it an added kick.

Now I am still wondering why Seok Hean had a whole lime and mine was squeezed into my soup spoon?

I did not taste the Won Ton Noodles Ah Yoke Cher ordered but I did notice the char siew was a bright vermillion not unlike the dark red and sometimes blackish red we find here in KL. I did notice that in a few shops we passed by as well.  The won tons unlike KL and PJ which is usually chucked on the display and picked up upon ordering, the lady here had hers neatly laden in an ice box. I guess with the amount of fresh filling she had to keep it fresh for as long as possible.  I believe this practice should be carried out here in KL, but I doubt it will happen because the trend in KL and PJ is to cram as many food stalls in a shop as you can.

The next was the Yong Tau Foo. I love Yong Tau Foo. It was quite late so there was not much selection, and I swear it was divine as!

The fish meat was white and just like their fish balls. It was different and very flavorsome.  They even had stuffed broccoli which I noticed for the first time ever.  And it tasted excellent.  I did not taste the other stuff but I can tell you looks won’t be deceiving here that’s for sure.  I must try this again in the near future.

Breakfast ended real quick, it was nice, not too filling and yes I did finish my bowl of noodles and enjoyed it thoroughly.  I did find it spicy but that’s me of course, I don’t think anyone else would find the Curried Noodles spicy at all.  Next stop Lunch, and it was just about 11 am I think.

Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong – Yau Teck Shin Road, Ipoh

From the land of Fabulous Food and Good Looking People – IPOH

Chapter 1

I had a chance to travel to Ipoh. Now sadly in all my years on this earth I have never been to Ipoh, only passed through, and to visit someone while passing through and for a Dog Show when I was a wee lad.

Now the funny thing is my Mother is from Batu Gajah and yet we never ever venture to that area. So this time my new BBF Singapores Culinary Goddess Teoh Seok Hean offered to take me to Ipoh and of course I jumped at the opportunity.  I was so excited because all I knew about Ipoh food is that they have nice fat bean sprouts and they produce out of this world Koay Teow (Ribbon Noodles).  That too was courtesy of Seok Hean on her last visit to Ipoh.

Another fact about Ipoh is that most Miss Malaysia’s come from Ipoh, most notably would be our very own Datuk Michelle Yeoh.

So Wednesday was a big rush to finish work for Saturday as I would be gone till Friday evening. Rush! Rush! Rush! It was and what a waste of time because that evening they called to change the date.  I was rather peeved and could have used a lot of swear words but I held my tongue as it was no use telling the idiot off because it was clearly out of his hands.  Now I know the importance of having everything in black and white. Anyhow, as angry as I was, this silly incident was not going to be a dampener for my trip to Ipoh. I waited patiently from 3 pm. I kind of felt like my Aunty Mary who would be ready be ready  and packed to leave for the railway station to Penang at 4 pm when her train was scheduled to leave KL at 9 pm.  Hope I don’t become like that.

Ok I digress, this is because I am still excited about this trip.  Anyhow while waiting, my friend Sarah Carol called and when I told her about my trip she told me I had to have the Chicken with Ipoh Bean Sprouts.  She said it was the best and it was something I could not leave Ipoh without trying.  I had a rough idea but still was clueless of whole thing.

Seok Hean and Eddie arrive and whisk me away!   Eddie is my good friend of many many years and Seok Hean is his wife.  Seok Hean and I get on like a house on fire much to the chagrin of Eddie who I am sure wonders what we talk about every day when we are online.  So off we went through the 5 pm traffic, I was entering a totally new frontier. Last time I was on this side of the highway was  in the 80s.  How shocking is that?  Everything looked strange and new. The whole trip to Ipoh was a wonderment, and of course the bad idea of making me sit behind is that I can talk and talk and talk without getting car sick!  I probably gave Eddie an earache.

So we reached Ipoh  what do I spot…. Old Town Coffee and Pappa Rich, and its marketing strategy of always being close to each other was also practiced in this land of good food. Now I wonder what their food taste like in Ipoh? Hmmm must check it out next time.

Digressed again… see how excited I am?

So we reached Seok Hean’s house and I was introduced to this very ladylike very regal woman.  I am told Mrs Teoh is Gourmand herself but due to age and health issues she hardly cooks these days.  I now know where Seok Hean developed her Goddess like ways in the kitchen.  While Seok Hean would be a little like Nigella, Mrs Teoh was much like a classy British Martha Stewart or kind of like Delia Smith with much more gentility and a lot more class.  We also met Ah Yoke, who has lived with the Teoh family and is quite the Goddess of sorts in the kitchen as well..a no holes barred kind.

Chapter 2

Ok enough said, we left our things at home and rushed out to Ipoh Town for guess what? Ngah Choy Kai (Chicken with Bean Sprouts)

Now I love Ipoh Bean Sprouts.  I have eaten our usual one in  KL and also in Australia, and nothing matched Ipoh Bean Sprouts.  They say it is the water over there, because the Bean Sprouts in Ipoh are fat, has a distinct flavor and crunch, and is just tasty even eaten as a salad.  I love my Ipoh Bean Sprouts cooked as little as possible because I like to eat my vegetables crunchy.

Our first stop was through a number of roads and finally we reached the Pekan Baru Police Station to the junction of Yau Teck Shin Road. Low and behold, almost every shop sold Ngah Choy Kai.  I guess as usual the busiest shop would be the best, so we ended up at Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong.  The place was crowded as can be and it was almost 10 pm.  Eddie ordered and in a jiffy a bowl of fishballs appeared. Now I am sure I have mentioned I am not a fan of fish balls.  So ok I was ‘riveted’.

Then Seok told me to taste it and holy cow…. It was so nice. The right texture and sponginess and it tasted like the meat it was suppose to be as opposed to Mystery Meat Balls in the case of Kuala Lumpur style fish balls or any balls for that matter.

Hor fun appeared, I was excited, and then the bean sprouts and chicken was placed in front of us.  It looked like the average hawker fare, nothing to shout at presentation, but it all changed when you took a piece of chicken and tasted it.  It was melt in the mouth silky and perfect to the touch.  I had never ever eaten chicken like that before.  I even ate the skin. Now I never eat chicken skin!!  It was fantastic.

I wished though they would cut the chicken a trifle bit bigger simply because I have a big mouth.  It was a little too dainty but it was really good.  The simplicity to it all made it that much more better.

The noodles were as usual just out of this world. No need to go there or this piece will never end. I did forget to take a photo for some odd reason.

Now the beansprouts.  PERFECT! Just the way I like it. They must have known!

NO one gets it right in KL, not even the regular places I hang out at. And even with the simplest of instructions I never ever get them to do it right over here.  Today it was PERFECT!  The soy sauce dressing like gravy with a hint of sesame, real chicken stock and the hint of pepper, it was again simplicity taken to a new high.  You could not spoon the dressing and drink it on its own, I tried it and it was salty as, but together with the bean sprouts it was just perfect.  The tender flavor that oozes out of the bean sprouts when you chew on it with the dressing, is really unimaginable. I could have had more but I was being polite.

Everything was perfect.  I wish we did not arrive so late. And one more thing. Another first for me. I actually say by the roadside to eat.  I never do things like that anywhere because I always have this fear of being attacked or some car will fly over something and land on top of me.  Only me of course and no one else! So all my life I have never sat outside a shop serving anything, especially one that had tables on the roadside.

Lou Wong has a branch in Petaling Jaya at PJU 1 Sunway Mas.  I must go and have a try, since I know the original one and all. They are even on facebook!

I was so full, full of balls, full of chicken and hor fun, but I was glad a lot of it was also vegetable. A thoroughly balanced meal.

Lou Wong set the standard that Wednesday night.  I knew my trip was going to be one that would be truly memorable.  Breakfast beckons. Now I wonder what Seok Hean and Eddie have in mind?

Chinese New Year Cookies and Goodies for Sale

Almond Thins

35 to 40 pieces – RM28.50

Chocolate Chip Cookies

40 pieces – RM27.50

PINEAPPLE taRTS

35 pieces – RM33.50

Dried Prawn Cookies

90 pieces –  RM29.50

Lingau Chips / Lotus Root Chips

Large Bottle – RM39.50

Rich Cheese Cookies with Black Pepper

– 50 pieces – RM29.50

Melt in the mouth Walnut Cookies

50 pieces – $26.50

3. Old Fashion Peanut Cookies – 90 pieces – RM26.50

4. Short Bread Butter Cookies – 50 pieces – RM26.50

5.Cashew Nut Cookies – 50 pieces – RM25.50

6. Hazelnut Swirls – 45 to 50 piece – RM28.50