Yinzo Kopi

Everyone knows Sin Yoon Loong and its counterpart Nam Heong across the road. Here you’ll have to jostle with the crowds, and (for me) drip with sweat as in a sauna as you wait patiently for a table.

Now with the opening of Yinzo Kopi, one can snack in cool comfort in an ambience reminiscent of a bygone era.

Yinzo oldtown ipoh
Yinzo Kopi in oldtown Ipoh

The brainchild of Foo En Lin, scion of one of the eminent Foo Family, who has bought over the kitchenware shop that had been operating for over 40 years, directly opposite Sin Yoon Loong; Yinzo Kopi has been open for all of two months. Many friendly advisors helped En Lin and manager William Oh in their preparations for the opening. These included Mr Shum from Foh San, Dato’ David Tan of Katong Laksa fame and other F&B maestros who gave their input into Yinzo.

Yinzo Cafe in Ipoh Oldtown
Yinzo Cafe in Ipoh Oldtown

Yinzo Kopi stands for the Silver State which is Perak. In the 1920s it was a school, then became a restaurant, after which it was a kitchenware shop for more than 40 years until taken over by the Foo family. Now decorated in an eclectic retro Chinese style, with old pieces picked up here and there, the ambience is welcoming, tables well spaced out; the old wood ceilings and wooden shuttered windows doing a great job in noise reduction, unlike many tiled-from-roof-to-ceiling Chinese restaurants where the cacophony of chatter is unbearable.

Yinzo Kopi is a place where you go for small eats, well presented and very tasty, some dishes evoking the nostalgic tastes of yesteryear, and just like Grandmother used to make.

chicken braised with black bean and bitter gourd at Yinzo Kopi oldtown Ipoh
Chicken braised with black bean and bitter gourd @ RM10.80

Like their chicken braised with black bean and bitter gourd; umami, salty, bitter gourd soaking up the black bean sauce, served with white rice; RM10.80. Shareworthy or grab it all. Dry Curry Pork Rice at RM13.80 was delicious. The curry was different, cooked without santan (coconut milk), the pork tender on the bite and the sauce aromatic without being overly spicy.

Nam Yu Fried Chicken Wings
Nam Yu Fried Chicken Wings @ RM9.50

We then had their Nam Yu Fried Chicken Wings, piping hot wings, marinated with preserved bean curd, tender and juicy inside and crispy crunchy outside, served with a sweet chilli sauce. Move over KFC! RM6 for 3 pcs or RM9.50 for 6 pcs.

Their Cheong Sau Meen topped with minced pork and topped with Chu Yau Tsar or crispy pork lard was yummilicious, not unlike our famous Ipoh Hakka Mee. Served with a sunny side up egg and a good Szechuan chilli sauce; RM7.80.

We had their Nasi Lemak served in three styles, plain, with curry chicken or fried chicken. Good rice and sambal; RM7.80 plain, RM9.80 with curry chicken, RM15.80 with a whole fried chicken leg.

Curry Mee at Yinzo Kopi

We then tried the Curry Mee which was a disappointment and I gave my feedback and true to the spirit of wanting to do their best and giving customers the best experience, they have changed their recipe.

I was therefore promptly “summoned” for a second tasting, this time to try their new Curry Mee and their new Dim Sum menu. The curry mee now has a new presentation which can satisfy my occasional hankering for this dish. Spicy, umami, the curry sauce cooked without Santan; RM10.80.

Kon Jeen Loh Mai Fan
Kon Jeen Loh Mai Fan

Their DimSum selections are small and deliberately so for as William explains, “We want to concentrate on quality so we keep choices limited and we can prepare them fresh as and when they are ordered. A ‘must try’ is their Kon Jeen Loh Mai Fan, glutinous rice that is pan fried with various garnitures and topped with egg slivers, the edges and base of the rice crisped from the frying (fan chiew) Delicious, the rice not too soft and the taste umami. Listed as “Authentic Glutinous Rice” RM6.80 per portion. They also have the ordinary Lo Mai Kai which is steamed glutinous rice at RM4.80.

Fried Mini BBQ Buns
Fried Mini BBQ Buns

Other ‘Must Try’ include their Fried Mini BBQ Buns, essentially Char Siew Paus (famous Chinese Roast Pork) deep fried to a golden brown, crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside with the Char Siew or roast pork oozing from the centre; RM5.80 fried; RM4.80 steamed. And let’s not forget their delectable fried Prawn Dumplings and their Ham Sui Kok or their Dried Prawn Pastry. Both incredibly light, the skin, made from glutinous rice flour is crispy on first bite and the prawns whole and ocean fresh while the one with the dried prawns has that sweet/salty umami quality that makes you swoon; RM5.80 for fresh prawns 3 pcs and RM4.80 for the dried prawn version.

Address

YINZO KOPI

No. 1 & 3 Persiaran Bijih Timah, 30000 Ipoh.
Tel: 019 556 1393 or 05 241 0571 (ask for William Oh)
Business hours: 8.30am-5.30pm
DIM Sum from 8.30am-11am and 3.30pm-5pm

Original published in : https://www.ipohecho.com.my/v4/article/2019/07/16/on-ipoh-food-yinzo-kopi

The Museum: SeeFoon Goes to a Museum

First it was a pub, now it is a Chinese restaurant and still a pub. With a name like The Museum and the decor inside is plush red velvet upholstery and a gallery of framed pastoral scenes on the walls, you would expect to have the usual gastro pub food but since The Museum had a complete change of heart and menu, it is now a Chinese restaurant with some much-sought-after delectables on the menu.

The Museum proprietor Lee Kah Tee, fondly known as Chee, when asked why he made the transformation which has since garnered a large following, judging by the full tables and the queues outside especially on public holidays and weekends, he said, “The pub business is a tough one and with new ones opening all the time, the business is highly competitive. I made the switch in 2017 gradually adding a few dishes at a time to the menu. Finally, when I felt that we had gained full acceptance, I converted the old seating arrangement into a dining facility removing the high stools usually found in a pub for the round tables more suited to Chinese dining.”

And what a shrewd move that was, judging by the cramped tables and the queues waiting outside where the high stools and tables now sit.

The Museum IpohTheir signature dishes have to be tasted to be appreciated, the most sought after being their Char Siew or Roasted Pork. Taking the fattest part of the pig, usually the belly, this is freshly roasted daily in a huge antique earthenware jar not unlike a tandoori oven. Simple marinades of dark soya sauce, sugar and molasses coat the pork, producing an almost black crust leaving the meat inside juicy and nicely interspersed with fat. Absolutely divine; RM18.80/RM37.69 S/L.

The Museum IpohTheir molluscs are the next in popularity, with daily deliveries from Pantai Remis and Indonesia. Their kerang, or cockles, are large, very fresh and superbly juicy, eaten either on the shell or de-shelled as a topping on curry noodles. I arrived too late for lunch one day and was only given enough to go on top of the curry mee, so a booking is essential. Portion of Curry Mee with cockles is RM50 and more cockles can be added at RM40 per kg (with shell weight).

The Lala or clams is another irresistible dish. There is a choice of cooking styles but the one we chose stir fried with Thai basil was superb, the clams, large and VERY fresh with no sand in between. These are usually from Indonesia and delivered fresh every day. Seasonal price.

The Museum Ipoh

We had a tureen of Glass Vermicelli with medium-size prawns, cooked in the claypot with the juices of the prawns soaking through to the vermicelli. Delicious. Seasonal price. I would have preferred this done with crab but that was the next course.

The Museum Ipoh

The Salt Baked Crab also from Pantai Remis was also ocean fresh, still alive and in a styrofoam box as we walked through to our table. The meat was firm (an indicator of its freshness) and the light saltiness was an added bonus. Served with a chilli sauce which I didn’t use as I felt it deterred from the umami sweetness of the crab meat. Seasonal Price. They also have a very good sambal belacan which you  have to ask for to go with any of the dishes.

The chicken feet with pork belly soup was umami and the chicken feet which had been deboned was a good dose of collagen for those of us who care for our skin; RM28 RM55.

The Museum IpohWe had the black pomfret cooked in an asam sauce which I found a tad too sweet but would likely please the Ipoh taste buds. The fish was firm and fresh and came with ladies fingers and ‘tau pok’ or fried bean curd.

On another occasion, we began with their Cucur Udang or prawn fritters, small prawns in a very crispy batter which was superb to go with drinks while waiting for the rest of the food, RM15.90. Followed by the de rigueur Char Siew.

Then to try something new, I ordered their fish head cooked in black beans and bitter gourd. Again the fish head, cut into chunks was very fresh and the sauce was umami and coated the fish and bitter gourd well. Seasonal price.

The Museum Ipoh

For veggies, I loved their stir-fried Tong Hou or chrysanthemum leaves RM20, their Paku Salad with small crispy prawns and sweetish dressing with sesame seeds; RM16/RM30 S/L and a salted egg coated mixture of lotus root and bitter gourd. Very umami and delectable; RM25.

The Museum Ipoh

And we now come to the pièce de résistance at The Museum. It’s a wonder that they can put together a delectable Lap Mei Fan all year round considering that this is a Chinese New Year celebratory dish. And put together they do. Lovely umami rice with a small crust at the bottom (Fan Chiew) topped with very good liver sausage, pork sausage and waxed duck. A meal on its own; RM42/RM65 S/L.

The menu at The Museum is extensive with most of their fish and shellfish at seasonal prices. So do ask before ordering. But considering that everything is very fresh and mostly come from Pantai Remis, it’s worth the prices charged.

 
THE MUSEUM
No. 1 Persiaran Greentown 7
Greentown Business Centre, Ipoh.
Tel:  05 246 0688
Business hours: 12.30pm-3pm; 5pm-10.30pm 24/7

GLK Restaurant: SeeFoon goes fishing in Vivo Square

I am often asked by my readers, where I find all these restaurants that I write about. My stock reply is, “When you have different groups of friends who are all Foodies, each group will have their own preferences and naturally gravitate to discovering their particular type of cuisine. And I am the lucky beneficiary of their explorations.”

The latest discovery was made by Francis Raj a fellow Foodie Kaki of Ginla Chew, my intrepid explorer friend of all good things culinary.

At two months old, the restaurant called GLK Restaurant is located in the newly-opened Vivo Square on Jalan Kuala Kangsar. Although relatively small inside, the open space outside facing into the square is ample.

Proprietor Mr Foong Ngei Jee explained his main reason for opening the restaurant. “I supply frozen wild caught river fish to many restaurants, some of them hard to come by and all caught by Orang Asli. The fish is immediately frozen and delivered to my regular restaurant clients. However, I have been toying with the idea that I can do a better job at cooking and serving up some of this fish in my own kitchen and my own restaurant. Hence, I took the plunge and opened GLK restaurant,” he declared.

Although Foong still supplies his fish to restaurants, he hopes that he can entice new individual customers to come and try his delectable wild-caught river fish at his restaurant.

Of course, other Chinese dishes are also on the menu like Free Range Chicken cooked in rice wine and ample slivers of ginger with the usual accompaniments of wood-ear fungus in a sweet broth, redolent of ginger and wine. RM38 for a half chicken and his 3-Cup chicken, made with sweet soy and oyster sauce RM22 (small). And for me the ‘offally’ good pigs fallopian tubes fried with dried prawns; RM22.

But let me get to the fish as this is really a speciality fish restaurant. Their homemade Saito Fish (Wolf Herring) fish balls were bouncy and firm to the bite (the way fish balls are meant to be) and at RM1.20 per piece, was a good way to start the meal.

We followed this with another fish dish the Hong Mei Mao in cubes, braised in a clay pot. This fish had no bones, very tender to the bite and one of my favourites of the evening. Locally known as Bawang Merah; RM7 for 100g.

The whole steamed fish complete with its scales which can be eaten or deep fried was the Kerai Putih from Pahang at RM12 for 100g. This fish had smooth and sweet flesh but one had to be careful of the bones. It would certainly be interesting to come back and ask for the scales to be fried. That would certainly be a new taste sensation for me – the ever curious foodie.

We then had the Saito Belly steamed with a sweetish, assamy, spicy sauce (but you can choose whichever style you’d like it cooked) which I found a tad too sweet but the fish was fresh to my taste buds; RM60.

We had a lesson in wild-caught river fish. From his freezer, Foong took out two humongous fish. The smaller of the two was a Tapah Kuning, a giant catfish-like fish which sells for RM120 per kg. And the next was this giant Hoong Kat Loh or Kelah Merah which sells for RM250 per kg. The Ikan Kelah Merah or Red Mahseer has been crowned the “king” of the Malaysian river not for no reason – the expensive and elusive fish is the dream catch of any angler or the sought-after dish of any gourmet.

 
GLK RESTAURANT
Vivo Square, 1 Jalan Lang Jaya 2,
Pusat Komersial Jaya, 30010 Ipoh.
Tel:  011 1193 6038
GPS:  4.634458, 101.089710
Opening hours:  11.30am-9.30pm