Ipoh Road Trip: Food and More Food

As for Ipoh, we hunted for food more than doing things or sightseeing.

Chinese Sausage Factory

Drying Chinese Sausage

The only thing that is educational is our visit to a Chinese sausage (lap cheong) factory.

This is not a tourist spot. Through a friend (whom his father is the owner of the factory), we made private arrangement for the visit.

My friend’s father is generous enough to “open” it’s door for us to take a closer look at how Chinese sausage is made.

The plant is not big and it started off as a cottage industry (and it still is). The whole operation is conducted at the back of the family home – with “smoke house” built next to it.

Frankly, this is my first time seeing how the sausages are made, even for me.

The process is very simple.

1. The pork is minced with a mincer

Sausage - Minced Meat
2. Other ingredients (Chinese wine, salt, etc) are mixed with the minced pork.
3. Meat is made into sausage.

Stuffing Sausage

4. Sausages are dried in a smokehouse for about 30 hours at 60 degrees.

Drying Sausage in Smoke Room
Drying Sausage in Smoke Room

We didn’t leave the plant empty-handed. Everyone of us at least bought something home.

Popular and Interesting Foods of Ipoh

There’s so much food in Ipoh that we wanted to try.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time and stomach space.

We managed to sample and buy home some of Ipoh’s most popular foods.

As I mentioned earlier, we ate more than anything else in Ipoh.

Want to know what we had? Read on…

Ipoh White Coffee

Your visit to Ipoh is incomplete without savoring the famous Ipoh White Coffee. Our friends cum tour guide brought us not once but twice to a traditional coffee shop to taste for ourselves one of the best white coffee in Ipoh.

The shop is also a popular place for breakfast in Ipoh. The place I am talking about is Wah Nam.

In my humble opinion, the white coffee here is far better than Nam Heong’s and Sin Yuan Loong’s.

Wah Nam White Coffee
The best white coffee, IMHO.

The white coffee is thick and aromatic. If you can’t sleep after coffee, I advise you not to take Wah Nam’s coffee in the evening.

Besides coffee, Wah Nam also serves half-boiled egg on toast. I like the thick margarine taste as you bite into the crispy toast with slimy egg.

Half-Boiled Egg on Toast
Half-Boiled Egg on Toast 蛋治

In the same kopitiam (coffee shop), one can find endless selection of food which is good. I tried the curry noodles and I love it at the first bite. The soup is thick and creamy and the curry is prepared to perfection that suits my preference.

Wah Nam Curry Noodle
Another of my personal favorite: Wah Nam Curry Noodle

Other notable foods here include dim sum and chee cheong fun. But when we were there, chee cheong fun‘s sold out. Imagine how popular it is, it’s gone by 9.30 am!

Jalan Leong Sin Nam, Kampung Jawa,
30300 Ipoh, Perak.
GPS: N4.59722, E101.08511

Pang Tai Woon 崩大碗 & Wan Tau Long 云头浪

In the past, I have visited Ipoh so many times but I had never been introduced to these special drinks which I suspect only be found in Ipoh and its vicinity.

(That’s why it’s good to have local friends as your guide)

These two drinks have funny names and they are called Pang Tai Woon and Wan Tau Long.

Wan Tau Long & Pang Tai Woon

PTW (literally means chipped big bowl) is juice made from a plant called pagaga in Malay or Centella asiatica. PTW looks like wheatgrass juice while WTL is a type of light yellow jelly.

The drinks are said to be refreshing and they are good company on a hot day. These drinks are available at roadside stalls as well as coffee shops around Ipoh, Tanjung Tualang, Gopeng.

Buntong Beansprout Chicken 文冬口芽菜鸡

Buntong Beansprout Chicken Sign

As you know, beansprout chicken is synonymous with Ipoh. When you ask around, people will point you to Lou Wong or Aun Kee which are located in the town.

But for locals such as my friends, they took us to this place which is popular among the locals. The restaurant is located in Buntong.

Buntong Beansprout Chicken

And if you are uninitiated like me, Buntong is THE place for Ipoh’s famous big, fat, juicy beansprouts. According to Ipoh folks, the difference lies in the water used to grow beansprouts.

Buntong Beansprout

Before you go there, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

WARNING: This eatery is super-packed with chicken/food lovers.

First, we waited 30 minutes to secure a table (Yes! You have to queue yourself for a table by standing behind an occupied one. I heard it myself, the staff there won’t do it for you).

After being seated, 45 minutes was what we needed for the food to arrive. That’s how long we spent for a popular plate of smooth, mouth watering chicken.

Buntong Chicken

Total time: 2 hours. I suspect there’s a problem in its delivery system. And there’s only one person who prepares and chops the chicken. To speed up the process, they should hire more people.

849, Jalan Guntong, Buntong,
Ipoh, Perak.
Tel: 05-255 7469, 017-578 7251 (吳國輝先生)
Business Hours: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Keong Kee Heong Peah 强记碳烧香饼

Keong Kee Biscuits shop

When you talk about Ipoh’s Gunung Rapat Biscuits (or Heong Peah), the first brand comes to mind is Yee Hup.

Although they still claim that their biscuits are charcoal-baked, I am a bit suspicious they aren’t after they “modernized” their production line.

My Ipoh friend pointed me to another Gunung Rapat factory that is still using the traditional charcoal baking method of making crispy biscuits until today. And this factory is related to Yee Hup too.

To see it for ourselves, we made a trip to the factory cum shop which is a humble wooden house located along Jalan Gunung Rapat.

Keong Kee really handmade

Yet another cottage industry. The front portion of the house caters for biscuit making and it also serves as a retail shop. They don’t hide anything as you step in the shop, you can see the staff are working hard on the dough.

At the back you’ll find a few custom-made ovens which look like oven for naan.

Keong Kee oven

True to its name, Keong Kee still uses charcoal (burning coconut shells) to bake its biscuits. From the beginning to the end, everything is handmade – that’s what I love about this shop. And you can see it all there at the factory.

Keong Kee charcoal baked oven

How do Keong Kee biscuits taste? The freshness is unbeatable and the crust is crunchy but not too hard. They are not stingy with the filling.

Honestly, after trying Keong Kee, I am a convert now. I used to like Yee Hup but not anymore – even before I tasted Keong Kee’s biscuits. Another reason is the quality of Yee Hup’s biscuits has declined over the years since it embark on the expansion program to penetrate bigger market.

Keong Kee Gunung Rapat biscuits

To order, you are advised to phone in and make booking before you go there… as the biscuits are running out fast as soon as they are out of the ovens. Each packet (10’s) costs RM7.

KEONG KEE ENTERPRISE 强记企业 碳烧香饼 (Gunung Rapat Biscuits)
362, Jalan Gunung Rapat,
31350 Ipoh,
Opening hours: 8 am – 6 pm
Tel: 05-311 3529

Sin Eng Heong Kaya Puffs

Sin Eng Heong shop
Check out the queue outside the shop!

Another Ipoh delicacy of more than 50 years.

We made the right decision of placing advanced order for kaya (coconut & egg custard) puffs. As we reached the shop, the queue had reached the pavement of the shop and I was told some of them were there for 2 hours.

Despite my booking, I still needed to wait for about 30 minutes for my order to be processed. As with Keong Kee, kaya puffs are hot from the oven and snapped really fast! Also they don’t store overnight.

Sin Eng Heong kaya puff

That makes its kaya puffs fresh and nice. Overall the kaya puffs are excellent except the kaya is a bit too sweet for me.

The kaya puffs here are smaller than normal kaya puffs that are available elsewhere.

Packages come in 5 and 10 pieces. They are RM4 and RM8 respectively.

Since Mid-Autumn is around the corner, the shop also makes mooncakes to coincide with the festival when we were there.

64, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri (Jalan Claire),
30300 Ipoh,
Tel: 05-243 9659

Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken

Aun Kheng Lim shop

The famous salted chicken has been around since 1987. And it’s another Ipoh’s famous food that you can only take away as there’s no dining in.

The size of the chicken is small and if you are big eater, you can finish it all by yourself. But for average eaters, the salted chicken serves 2.

What I love about the chicken is the aroma of dang gui – a Chinese herb – that used to bake the chicken. Even though is salt-baked, I don’t find the chicken is too salty to consume. The chicken is tender and juicy and you’ll ask for more.

Aun Kheng Lim salted chicken

Each chicken costs RM17. To avoid disappointment, you are advised to call and book.

At 4 pm, I was lucky that day as someone couldn’t turn up to collect his order due to traffic congestion, the shop assistant passed the chicken to me instead.

No. 24, Jalan Theatre,
30300 Ipoh,
Tel : 05-254 2998
Business Hours: From 10 9 am onwards.

Note: This article is part of Family Road Trip to Ipoh.