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Ipoh trip report (loved it)

Miami Beach, Florida
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Ipoh trip report (loved it)

I write this carefully, in the hopes that Ipoh does not become a major tourist destination. The Rough Guide thankfully says "There is nothing much of interest to most tourists in Ipoh." They are correct. I hope they continue deterring "most tourists" because one of the charms of Ipoh is that it's a real city but that also has plenty of history and local charm.

First of all, we had a car. That probably made all the difference, because doing what we did without a car would have been pretty much impossible at least in such a short time frame.

We visited Taiping first and enjoyed the lake gardens, just walking around the lake we saw Kingfishers and other birds as well as swimming lizards.

Arriving in Ipoh around 4PM we stayed at the Regalodge (rated highly on TA for good reason). The friendly doorman helped steer us in the right direction for food (the main reason for our visit).

BTW we got our prior information from Ipoh blogs, TA, and also http://wikitravel.org/en/Ipoh

The first food we tried was the Ipoh bean sprouts chicken. We ate at Onn Kee but the Lou Wong (kitty-corner from there) was just as popular. I don't even like chicken but I appreciated this dish. The sprouts are served separately from the chicken, allowing them to stay very fresh and crunchy as well as permitting you to make each bite what you want. We had a side dish of noodles (don't know what kind they care called--flat rice noodle but not as fat as kuay teow). I think they were Hokkein style just with simple brown gravy, nothing else. Went very well with the chicken. That was the waitor's recommendation actually.

After that we found a very cool little bar that is unusual for Asia. The predominantly Chinese pop. in Ipoh makes this possible. There were only 5 tables, and the atmosphere was cozy and conducive to conversation. All tables were taken by couples except for one which was two women and their children that were very well behaved. Very much like a European style urban bar. They had a walk-in wine cellar and a decent selection of beers including La Trappe and several German weizens. This bar was called Tong Lee and it's owned by the liquor store next door to it. Highly recommended for those who appreciate such things. I wish wish wish KL had a bar like this. In KL they are all stupid places with boom boom music or corporate vibe. How ironic to find a better bar in Ipoh than in KL. Anyway, this place in Ipoh is on Jln. Sultan Iskander. We had one beer and then went hunting for more food.

The next course we had at a small open-air restaurant near to the bean sprout chicken. I forgot the name but it was packed whereas the other places on the street were not. Their menu is short. They have 5 types of noodles (hor fun, bee hoon, etc) in Hokkein sauce. Then they have octopus, and about 4 other dishes. Very simple. We had the octopus because many ppl were eating it. Was simple and good and the Hokkein hor fun we ordered was very rich and filling.

Dessert of Taufu Fah from a separate vendor. It was very sugary of course.

Next morning we tried the curry mee at Sin Seng Fatt. Loved it. Perfect flavors esp. with the addition of mint leaf sprigs--brilliant. Then had a popiah from a place down the road from there and that was a nice snack we had later on. Also, we took home a famous Salt Chicken (Ayam Garam) from Aun Kheng Lim. We will steam up for tomorrow night's dinner :)

Besides food, Ipoh I thought was charming because of the architecture. Every bit as much character in those buildings as in Penang and offers the visitor context and continuity for how these straits were settled. The caliber of the buildings in Ipoh surprised me given the low amt of tourism. The Old Town is quite large, too. However, many of the bldgs are dilapidated. An investor would do well to buy them up.

We also visited Kellie's Castle on the way out of town. It was interesting and also gave perspective on the overall history of the area.

That's about it. Ipoh is all about the food and the Old Town. More than a day is not necessary unless you are a serious foodie and need to try it all in one go. In that case it would take you a very very long time to discover all what this town has to offer in terms of culinary delights.

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Ipoh
Ipoh
Kinta District, Malaysia
Taiping
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Larut, Matang dan Selama District, Malaysia
Penang Island
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Penang, Malaysia
Kellie's Castle
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Batu Gajah, Malaysia
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1. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

LOL!

Come up to Ipoh during chinese New Year or public holiday and see how the place is a MAJOR MAJOR tourist destination that you have to queue 2 hours at Foo San for dim sum and 1 hour for lou wong at night and Ipoh parade and Kinta valley is all jammed up 3km from the entrance and bursting full of people!!

Next time you stay at regalodge, walk up to the infamous restaurant called Yum Yum opposite, best pandan chicken and fish head curry in town.

Flat rice noodle is called Wat tan hor, swimming in brown egg gravy with fish cakes - Ipoh CANTONESE STYLED!!! Not hokkien pls, dun insult us !!!! Not sure if you had it at Sun tuck Kee restaurant, but thats the best place for wat tan hor in Ipoh...

The road down from Taufu fah is called Memory Lane. Lots of people and bazaar pasar malam there every night.

Jalan Sultan iskandar has got nice old buildings from colonial times; sadly most of them burnt down or got into arson fire because of insurance. The very very famous Hakka Noodle only found in Ipoh (open only till 1pm) is along the same row as Tong Lee and Hai-O, slightly further up near the police station, must try next time! Look for Restaurant PARIS!

Curry mee at sin seng fatt is OK OK only, for the best one in Ipoh, you have to head to Fat Man Curry mee at Ipoh garden east.

Glad you enjoyed the food and sights at IPoh! Next time, try visiting the cave temples, Tambun hot spring and lost world; Clearwater Sanctuary (nice water villas for the night as well as lots of monitor lizards!)..

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Ipoh
Ipoh
Kinta District, Malaysia
Miami Beach, Florida
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2. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

Darn, we wanted to try the Yum Yum restaurant but ran out of room! Thanks for all the info and about wat tan hor :) However, the noodles we had were not the Ipoh ones with fish cakes, it was just plain gravy. I wish we had gotten to try the fish cake one--it was on my list. Now I am hungry again...

Kuala Lumpur...
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3. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

GT.....Foo San Dim Sum was suppose to be the hidden secret in Ipoh....dont spread the word around. If not, next time we have to que for 3 hours instead of 2 now.

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Ipoh
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4. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

forgot to say thanks! for your lovely trip report!

Yup, fish cakes or not depends on the restaurant usually. Some prefer not to serve with, and some cook with fish cakes. Same goes for the fried pig lard and other stuff inside....

@MK, have you been to the new Foo san?? I mean, the dim sum there gone really done hill, I still don't understand why the foreigners want to queue 2 hours for such crappy standards?? Plus its not even cheap anymore. Yoke Fook Moon, Ming Court and Kao Lee are all much better than Foo san at the moment. I still prefer Kao lee, their glutinous rice (lor mai kai), HK chee cheong fun and century egg porridge is still the best in Ipoh. Next time you are in Ipoh, try Kao Lee, the people sit even all the way out to the middle of the road and car park....

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Ipoh
Ipoh
Kinta District, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur...
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5. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

GT, been at least a year since my last visit to Ipoh and ate at Foo San. The last time i was there, the food was not that fantastic either but then, they are famous and its a must try...at least once.

Dim Sum is getting too commercial nowadays and most of the time, its mass produce in some factory and sell it as frozen food to some restaurant. There are still some restaurant who still have chef to hand make the dim sum but its rare.

BTW, although Foo San is packed, they still dont expand or air condition the place. Rumours is, the owner was told by a Feng Shui master that if he expand his shop or close up the place (air-cond it), his business "luck" with be gone.

Will keep your suggestion in mind and try it out when i go to Ipoh next time. Thanks.

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Ipoh
Ipoh
Kinta District, Malaysia
Paris, France
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6. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

LOL! I think the feng shui master was truely wrong! Look at the NEW foo san, oklar, not so new, opened about 6 months ago:

…blogspot.com/2009/07/foh-san-dim-sum-restau…

Massive palace thing that is fully air-conditioned and half open air at the same time, right opposite ming court and same row as yoke fook moon.

Food there is terrible and expensive. The old building at chinatown is left to sell mooncakes and "manufacture" dim sum. Do try it out next time, but parking is very very difficult!

7. Re: Ipoh trip report (loved it)

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