SeeFoon Visits an Old Man

Some of us have jaded palates. I admit to being one of them. It’s not that I am ungrateful when my friends invite me for roast suckling pig, Tualang prawns or fresh crabs. I enjoy them thoroughly but often I find myself yearning for some of the dishes my Grandma used to make. Or a simple plate of Char Siew.

Hence when a new signboard went up in Ipoh Garden, a few doors down from my favourite Chinese grocer, Choy Company and a short distance from Ipoh Echo’s new premises on Jalan Dato Lau Pak Khuan, I took notice and promptly went for a taste test.

From the Chinese Lo Chiew Pai, they have translated it into “Old Man”, an unpretentious fan-cooled restaurant serving wholesome dishes, just like Grandma used to make. I was optimistic that here I would find that ineffable taste of my childhood and I was not disappointed.

A lot of their dishes are cooked and served in clay pots; complex blends of herbs and condiments resulting in dishes that are quite compelling while some of their other specials are classic and not often offered nowadays.

I am fussy about Char Siew (that ubiquitous red pork you see hanging from some stalls) and I don’t often eat or buy it home unless it measures up to my specifications. Here at Old Man, it does, all homemade, succulent, tender and with enough fat to make eating Char Siew worthwhile. Here it is served fusion style with a small salad, RM13.

Next, we had the Sek Pan or Garoupa smothered with ginger chunks, Dong Quai or Angelica, Goji Berries and Mook Yi or wood ear, served wrapped in foil with a liquid fuel burner below. We were told to wait exactly 12 minutes which they time and on the dot they come over to your table and lift the foil, the liquid fuel having burnt itself out. Unusual and well timed as the fish was perfectly steamed. Market price and depending on type of  fish.

I had forgotten all about this soup until it arrived, evoking memories of my childhood. Coconut Chicken Soup has a quarter chicken, steamed for six hours in an old coconut with Chinese herbs like Yuk Juk (Solomon Seal), ginseng tails, goji berries, Wai San or Chinese Yam, nuances of coconut permeating the soup and blending with the rest of the herbs. Umami and delectable; RM25.

The Wu So Gai or whiskered chicken was braised in Chinese wine and chestnuts, the sauce reduced to a thick and robust coating over all the bits and pieces; RM28.

Yat Pun Po, the one-pot stew, with duck, pigs tail, chicken feet, intestines, pig’s tripe, mushrooms and bean curd skin was a clay pot full of collagen rich goodness, the taste robust, and flavour unforgettable. Definitely worth a re-order; RM28.

Old Man Seafood Restaurant is definitely one of the places I will use as my ‘canteen’ whether its during or after office hours. Being so conveniently situated so close to the Ipoh Echo office gives it preferential status!

Old Man Seafood Restaurant
60 Jalan Dato Lau Pak Khuan, Ipoh Garden, 31400 Ipoh.
4° 36’ 42.6996’’N 101° 6’ 27.3996’’E
Business hours: 11am-11.30pm; Monday closed
Tel: 012 480 2759; 016 499 0905

Ipoh Padang Curry House: SeeFoon finally gets her Thosai wish fulfilled

I have become one of those people who don’t eat breakfast. Despite all the conventional wisdom that advocates otherwise. So what can I do about placating my yearning for Thosai as all banana leaf places only serve it for breakfast or tea time, neither of which are good times for me.

However, there is one banana leaf restaurant that serves Thosai and Roti Canai all day long and this is where I head to when the craving hits me. Despite ownership having changed hands about two years ago and the shop space having expanded into two shoplots with comfortable air conditioning, the food concept has not changed. Ipoh Padang Curry House still hits the right notes with their all-day Thosai, Roti Canai and Chapati, not to mention their huge selection of 36 different dishes which now beckon.

Restoran Ipoh Padang Curry House & Catering

From a simple Vegetarian Banana Leaf meal with unlimited rice and vegetables at RM8, to fish, meat as in chicken and mutton; and a dazzling variety of vegetables, pickles and snacks like vadai, Ipoh Padang has it all.

I judge a Thosai by the quality of their coconut chutney and the one at Ipoh Padang is an excellent one. Spicy enough but not overly so, with a thickness and consistency that is perfect, (unlike some other places that are pale, bland and liquid) accompanied by two other dips that can be a choice of a very thin dhal curry or a very tasty vegetable korma or a sambal. Order with it a mutton curry RM13, Chicken Varuval RM5, a portion of beets and you’re in banana leaf heaven. The Paper Thosai itself is crispy and crumbly and absolutely melt-in-mouth. Of course for those who prefer the soft pancake variety, these too are available, all day long.

Restoran Ipoh Padang Curry House & CateringRestoran Ipoh Padang Curry House & Catering

We’re spoilt for choice at Ipoh Padang. The vegetable dishes alone, cooked in a myriad ways and in different styles, are small and affordable, averaging RM3 per portion. Of particular note are their Sayur Paku (jungle fern) and their Sayur Manis (sweet potato leaves), oyster mushrooms, their vegetable korma and a host of others, depending on seasonality. Ask for their pickled fried chilli (packs a punch) which comes free as does their Pappadum, the Indian “cracker” made from chickpea flour.

Restoran Ipoh Padang Curry House & Catering

Black Pepper Chicken is worthy of mention, chunks of tender chicken coated with a thick black pepper sauce, the pepper lending the predominant spice kick to the dish – RM6.

A variety of fish prepared in different styles from deep fried to sambal and curry RM5+, provides ample choice for the fishtarian as does their prawn and sotong sambals – RM4.50.

You could go to Ipoh Padang for a whole week and not exhaust the menu nor empty your pocket. All the chefs are from India so you’ll be getting the authentic Indian taste here.

With a whole 12 hours in a day to drop in for a meal, and sitting in air-conditioned comfort, Ipoh Padang, being situated in the heart of town, is certainly THE place to drop in for breakfast, lunch tea or early dinner.

Restoran Ipoh Padang Curry House & Catering (Halal)
93 Jalan Raja Ekram, 30450 Ipoh.
Tel:  016 881 9097 or 05 243 9097
Ask for Mr Selva (Manager)
Business hours:  7am-7pm
GPS:  4° 35’ 55.788’’N 101° 5’ 11.3928’’E