Help the Small Businesses: Laksa Leaf Cafe

Pictures by Gisele Soo

SeeFoon Loves Laksa

I am a big fan of Laksa. In all its manifestations, be it Lemak (with coconut milk), Assam (with tamarind) or as I have recently discovered, even a dry variety without soup. 

All this and more. And all can be found in one place! At Laksa Leaf Cafe.

Located in a small bungalow on the main road of the easily accessible Jalan Canning Estate, the cafe is spacious, bright and airy and air conditioned. Which makes eating a very comfortable experience—and now with all the SOPs in place, even more comfortable with spaces where you are not supposed to sit clearly marked on the table.

The menu is uncomplicated. Under the Noodles section are three types of Laksa, a Curry Noodle Soup and a Fish Ball Noodle Soup.

To order, you first choose which Laksa you would like. Then decide on the type of noodle. The choice is between Lai Fun or Laksa noodle, the thick white rice noodle; BeeHoon, the thin rice vermicelli; yellow noodles; or Hor Fun or Kway Teow noodles. 

Because I like to graze, I always go with my troupe from the Echo office so we can order a variety and share a bit of each type. This not only gets me to taste a large selection without getting too full, but it allows me to sample as much of the menu as is possible in order to give a fair review.

Which is what we did. Beginning with the Nyonya Laksa, I found the thick rice noodles very appealing. Slipping smoothly down the gullet, these were really velvety and unless you slurp them down and risk ruining the front of your clothes, the best way I found was placing them onto a spoon and eating them this way. The sauce was slightly “lemak” (with coconut milk), tangy and had quite a bite from chillies. It came with fish balls and the two large prawns served with it were very fresh. Slivered cucumber and onion shavings with “Taufu pok” or fried bean skin rolls with an accompanying yummy sambal belacan paste completed the dish. RM10 (R) and RM15 (L).   

Nyonya Laksa

We then had the Assam Laksa, served with “Haeko” or black prawn paste (a very Penang touch) with sliced lettuce, slivered cucumber and onions. Chunks of fish which is the base stock could be detected and hints of Bunga Kantan or red ginger flower topped it off. RM8 (R) , RM10 (L).

Assam Laksa

Next came the Fried Laksa, an unusual offering wrapped in an omelette, with all the flavours of an Assam Laksa: slightly tart, spicy and served with the rest of the usual garnitures including the “Haeko” and the sambal belacan. I actually prefer this to the soup version although you can actually order a bowl of the Assam soup to go with it. A great choice at RM9. Assam soup comes at an additional RM2.

Fried Laksa

I loved their Nasi Lemak. Their blue rice coloured with the blue pea flower was redolent with santan, hints of serai and pandan and the chicken rendang was delicious with a thick sauce served with the usual condiments of sambal, half a boiled egg and crispy ikan bilis and peanuts. Yummilicous at RM10.

Nasi Lemak

Additional fishballs (RM1 for 2pc), taufu pok (RM1 for 2pc) and asam laksa fish soup (RM2) may also be ordered.

Then came dessert time. 

Bubur Cha Cha is highly recommended. Thick santan, chunks of taro, sweet potato and pinto beans. Not sweet and absolutely to my taste. RM4.

Bubur Cha Cha

Or you can have the Ice Kacang. A lavish mound of shaved ice with sweet corn, peanuts, grass jelly and laced with gula melaka. And there is also the irresistible Cendol with santan, cendol, pinto beans and sago. Some at my table thought it wasn’t sweet enough at which you can always ask for more gula melaka but for me, it was perfect. Both at RM6.

Ice Kacang
Cendol

As there were four of us, we ended our meal with the Yuzu Aiyu Ping, consisting of yuzu syrup and jelly; the syrup tart and fragrant, with aiyu and lemon jelly at the bottom. RM6.

Yuzu Aiyu Ping

*Laksa Leaf Cafe is pork and alcohol free

 

Address:
43, Jalan Canning Estate, Taman Canning, 31400 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Business hours:
10am-6pm, closed on Wednesdays. Last order at 5pm.
Delivery and takeaway available through Foodpanda

For inquiries:
05-549 2818

Help the Small Businesses: Makan Nyonya

Pictures by Gisele Soo

Makan Nyonya

SeeFoon goes back to old favourites

Makan Nyonya has always been one of my favourite ‘go-to’ places whenever I felt the hankering for a mix of local dishes. At Makan Nyonya, I get dishes that Grandma used to make as well as yummilicious local specials all in one place without traipsing all over town. I can graze all in one place!

Nasi rendang chicken

Like moving from Nasi Rendang Chicken (RM7), mixing it with the Pork Nasi Rendang (RM10), then dipping into the Lemak Nyonya Laksa (RM6). In between, nibble on Cucur Udang with its mega-sized prawn and the great dipping sauce, RM3 each. Follow this with Lam Meen (RM6), Pan Meen (RM6) as well as a tasting of their butter cakes: carrot, marble, fruit and banana, and you’ll be staggering from the table. RM3.50 per slice; RM18 per loaf.

Lemak nyonya laksa
Pan meen
Lam meen
Cucur udang

With oodles of goodies to share and take small taster bites from, Makan Nyonya is certainly a place to go to, whether to dine in now with RMCO or to ‘tapau’ or takeaway. Also the prices are so reasonable that you can either go with a group or order up a storm to take away. 

Since the MCO started, Jason Chai the proprietor very quickly adapted to the situation and set up a buffet spread of dishes to choose from ala economy rice style where you can, from his daily Facebook posts, order the takeaways you want and pick up from the shop. 

His culinary touch is reminiscent of home and dishes which your Mum or Grandma used to make. They now even sell homemade ‘Ham Choy’ at RM15 per packet (very good and no additives) which I snapped up immediately and have subsequently cooked it. Excellent taste…not sweet, not salty but just perfect. I was also given a ‘Ham Dan’ or salted egg to taste but sadly that was not for sale. What a pity because I worry about salted eggs from local markets, not knowing what additives or preservatives have been added.

 

Address:
57, Laluan Tasek Timur 3, Pusat Perdagangan Tasek Indra, 31400 Ipoh, Negeri Perak

Business hours:
Tues-Sun. (Closed on Mondays)
7am-3.00pm, 2pm last order

To book or order:
017 469 1228 (Kane) via Whatsapp 

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Check out The Foodie’s Guide to Ipoh’s Best Eats 2 for more Ipoh eats recommended by SeeFoon, available for purchase at a special discounted price now! Message us on Facebook for inquiries and orders!

Help the small Businesses: Hao Xian Wei

Pictures by Gisele Soo

Help the small Businesses

Now that MCO is over and RMCO is the new normal, most of us can dust off the cobwebs of the past 3 months, bid a fond farewell to our hobs and ovens and look forward to being served a proper meal in the myriad of restaurants that have reopened.

With the period of self isolation over, the tendency is to rush out and head for all your favourite restaurants. The exhilaration of having your food served to you, of no dish washing, and no racking of your brains to decide what to cook may be over but let’s not be hasty. The number of new cases may be occasionally in the single digit but COVID 19 is not going to go away that soon and it will be most prudent of us to stick to more “Tapau” or takeaway food for a while longer.  

While we’re doing that, may I suggest that we give a thought to the small businesses and restaurants struggling to get back on their feet after the 3 month hiatus. The MCO has actually given a positive push to the smaller restaurateurs, pushing their entrepreneurial skills to the max and having them come out with easy to take away one-dish meals. 

So for the next few months I am going to concentrate on the small cafes, restaurants that need a little help.Today, I will highlight some of these and suggest the best “Tapau” options for you.

 

Hao Xian Wei

William, the proprietor of Hao Xian Wei which prides fish as its signature dish, has had to adapt to the changing environment. “Fish needs to be eaten fresh, hot off the stove, but the MCO put paid to that for me. Plus all my other specials lose some flavour on the way home,” he lamented. “I therefore settled on the idea of very special Tsong or Zongzi ( Mandarin ).” 

Tsong is a wrapped Glutinous rice dumpling which for me is one of the most satisfying comfort foods to eat. It’s also a no-hassle meal. William recommends that you bring the dumpling home, boil some water, dunk it in and let it boil for half an hour. Take it out, cut the ties and voila, a steaming fragrant pyramid of deliciousness. He prefers this method to steaming the dumpling as he says that the boiling will bring all the oil to the surface, leaving it glistening and velvety. 

The fun part is digging in to discover what’s hidden inside. Most of William’s Tsong is of the Tsao Mai variety, which means that the glutinous rice has to be fried before wrapping. This gives it its characteristic brownish colour. Only the Nonya Tsong is white. 

Hokkien Tsong

The Hokkien Tsong is very special. It is bigger in size than the Hainan and Vegetarian ones because it is generously filled to the brim with goodies like fatty braised pork, salted egg yolk, roast pork, mushrooms, chestnut  and chicken. A hefty meal in one, each morsel well seasoned; the velvety rice textured with black eyed peas; the filling with its well juxtaposed textures: chestnut against black mushroom, salted egg yolk against soft chicken and the fat from the pork, braised to a quivering, jelly-like consistency, lending its unctuous texture to the whole mouthfeel. 

Heaven in a mouthful. 

And that was just a description on the Hokkien Tsong, RM12.80.

Where other Tsongs I have tasted can be dry and stodgy, William’s are very moist and velvety. The Hainanese Tsong is equally tasty but smaller and with less fillings, RM8, while the vegetarian Tsong is interesting with unusual fillings like Lion’s Mane mushroom, RM8.50. There is also a Nyonya Tsong which has a slightly sweet texture which was my least favourite, RM8.

Hainanese Tsong
Vegetarian Tsong
Nyonya Tsong

If you have big eaters at home, William has another “Tapau” goodie in the form of stuffed Tau Fu Pok, packed and frozen in packs of 6. At RM18 for 6 these are very good steamed at home and eaten with the Tsong. William orders the Tau Fu Pok in an extra large size and round shape, stuffed to the brim with a pork farcie. 

Stuffed Tau Fu Pok

Address:
Restoran Hao Xian Wei
11 Jalan Medan Ipoh 6, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh 31400 Ipoh.

Patrick Cheong | For reservations: 012 431 1070
William Yap Chef | Owner for ordering (in Cantonese only): 017 421 6523

Business hours: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Takeaway last order: 7:30 PM 

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Check out The Foodie’s Guide to Ipoh’s Best Eats 2 for more Ipoh eats recommended by SeeFoon, available for purchase at a special discounted price now! Message us on Facebook for inquiries and orders!

Little Tiger Char Koey Teow

SeeFoon wallows in all her childhood hawker foods. Newly-opened restaurant Little Tiger is a call to the Foodies of Ipoh and beyond, that there is a restaurant that can hold its own in our highly diverse food paradise and where local palates are mercurial and extremely critical.

SeeFoon wallows in all her childhood hawker foods

Pictures by Yugin

The tiger is one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals. People born in the year of the tiger are thought to be competitive, self-confident and brave.

For Sally Wong to call her newly-opened restaurant Little Tiger is a call to the Foodies of Ipoh and beyond, that there is a restaurant that can hold its own in our highly diverse food paradise and where local palates are mercurial and extremely critical.

But Little Tiger can definitely hold its head up high and soon count itself among the luminaries in the Ipoh hawker food scene.

For me, the fact that it is air-conditioned is already a plus point. The decor is cheerful with tropical beach scenes along one wall complete with coconut palms and when you take a photo beside the wall, people will think you’re at some idyllic beach location. The tables are clothed in batik, topped with glass and the serving bowls are all porcelain. Not that that matters of course when it comes to eating out. It’s the quality of food that counts and here it doesn’t disappoint.

Also, their pricing is reasonable . . . and yes you can get the same dishes outside for less but consider the heat, the jostling for tables and the waiting, not to mention the hygiene; and Little Tiger wins hands down.

With a partner/Chef Raymond Khoo who hails from Penang, their Char Kway Teow (one of my fave hawker dishes) comes with cockles, Chinese sausage and fresh medium-sized prawns. Fried just the way I like it . . . dry, not sweet, with oodles of chilli sauce fried with the noodles and not on the side, lots of bean sprouts and the pièce de résistance, a generous topping of chu yau char or fried lardons, RM9.90. The last time I ordered this I emphasised to the chef to make it extra hot but still it wasn’t spicy enough. I guess people don’t realise what an insane chilli palate I have!

Social media and also some of my friends were not impressed by the food when they went in the early days of opening (only around two months) but they have certainly picked up speed and most of the items I tasted a week ago were “must come back to eat again” quality.

Like the Vinegar Trotters, not too sour, not too sweet, the trotter chunks braised to the right degree of tenderness, the skin clean and without hair, RM15.90.

Vinegar Trotters

Their Chicken Curry was excellent, with their own distinctive blend of curry paste and served with potatoes in the gravy, RM8.90. This curry can be eaten with plain rice or their toasted bread which was crunchily crispy and is also part of a set with half-boiled eggs or it can be eaten with their Nasi Lemak served with either blue (from blue pea flower) or turmeric rice.

Nasi Lemak with the chicken curry

The sambal in the Nasi Lemak set was delicious, in the old sambal belacan style, the rice had adequate santan but the only disappointment was their ikan bilis and peanuts, (why did they add sugar?) and the ikan bilis was not crispy, RM13.90.

Their homemade Lobak (meat paste wrapped in bean skin and deep-fried) was tasty, redolent with 5-spice powder and actually for my taste, quite lean. Fat averse eaters will be pleased to know this, RM9.90.

Lobak

Two of my favourite noodle dishes followed. The first, a Fried Prawn Mee was yummilicious. Soaking in prawn broth yet, fried to a point to allow the broth to be absorbed into the mix of meehoon and yellow mee, the prawns were medium-sized, with bits of pork, greens, egg, and served with a superlative dry sambal which imbued the noodles with an extra layer of yum. And need I mention chu yau char . . . a generous topping of them, RM9.90.

Fried Prawn Mee
Prawn Mee

 

Equally laudable was their soup Prawn Mee, the stock simmered with prawn shells and pork bones, again embellished by the addition of their delicious dried prawn sambal, served with bean sprouts and kangkong and good-sized prawns which were very fresh. With the NO MSG sign printed on their menu, I found I could dare slurp the soup with equanimity, RM9.90.

They also have Tai Luk Meen, a thick wheat noodle pan-fried with a dark soya sauce with the usual garnitures, RM9.90.

Tai Luk Meen

Then came the desserts, a tempting plate of Kuih Muih to choose from. The selection will vary from day to day and as these are all homemade, the taste and texture were all superlative. It was a hard decision but as we were a fair-sized group we managed to select a sampling and tucked in. I particularly enjoyed the Kueh Talam and the Ubi Kayu (tapioca) topped with coconut, RM1.50-RM2 each.

Kuih Muih

Address:
LITTLE TIGER CHAR KOEY TEOW
98 Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa, 30450 Ipoh.
Tel: 012 516 9833

Business hours:
Daily (8am-4pm, 6pm-10pm)
2 days off every 2 weeks.

 

Bee Gaik Dining: SeeFoon revisits an old Nyonya favourite

The eponymous restaurant has been around almost 30 years and Bee Gaik is still at it, preparing and serving her famous Nyonya dishes to an appreciative clientele. With recipes handed down from her mother, Bee Gaik has been cooking up a storm all these years and the restaurant is holding its own amongst the plethora of new eateries opening (and closing) around her.

Looking like something one is more likely to find in Malacca rather than in the middle of Ipoh Garden South, Bee Gaik Restaurant is definitely old style, its imposing facade complimented with old memorabilia inside, creating the ambiance of a Nyonya Baba teahouse.

And the menu is certainly more Malaccan than what is commonly available here in Ipoh. Especially when it comes to the Perut Ikan, a specialty of the house that is so rare these days and finding one that is well prepared even more precious. Pickled fish intestines that many a squeamish would find abhorrent, is cooked with a mix of vegetables and spices resulting in a dish that looks unappetising on the plate, nevertheless in the masterful hands of Bee Gaik, turns into a taste sensation on the palate, RM12/19/24 S/M/L.

Phuah Bee Gaik is a Nyonya chef from the old school preferring to do things the old fashioned way than to succumb to modern shortcuts. Like her Ju Hu Char, that distinctive Nyonya dish that requires hours of labour-intensive cutting and slicing to produce the fine chiffonade of yam bean (machines cannot compete) which is fried with tau cheong or preserved bean paste (only the merest hint) and topped with slivered dried squid. The homemade chilli sauce is dolloped onto the yam bean, which you wrap in lettuce leaf, is a mouthful of heaven, RM12/24 S/L.

Another delightful treat is the Tung Po Yoke, quivering pork belly, braised to a jelly-like consistency and served with mantou, steamed Chinese bread. This requires a lot of skill and patience to slowly braise the pork which high heat will render stringy and tough. Totally melt-in-mouth divine, RM18.

For those looking for a quick bite, check out the Nyonya Asam Fish slices noodle soup. The fish slices were Garupa, firm and fresh in texture, combined with brinjal chunks and redolent with the aroma of kaffir lime leaves.The whole dish is tangy without being overly spicy, the spices well blended for a deliciously slurpy soup/sauce, RM8.50. And while eating that, share an Otak Otak, a very typical Nyonya egg/seafood custard made with coconut milk, spices, redolent of lemon grass with slices of fish and steamed in a cocotte.

Salted Fish Achar was interesting. Pickled onions, whole shallots, ginger, whole garlic, chillies, salted fish and rempah, not overly spicy but with enough kick to go beautifully with white rice and the other dishes, RM12/18/20.

Chicken Kapitan was coated with a thick coconut milk laden gravy, the spices well blended, and the chicken chunks tender, RM17/26/34 for S/M/L and we finished off the meal with the Pork Belly Malacca, thinly sliced pork belly, sautéed with onions and topped with loads of scallions.

 
Bee Gaik Dining Place & Buffet Catering
10-10A Tingkat Taman Ipoh 11
Ipoh Garden South, 31400 Ipoh.
Tel. & Fax: 05 546 8601
Business hours: 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-10pm; Closed on Tuesday

Makan Nyonya: SeeFoon finds Nyonya Heaven and wants to stay there

I know that Ipoh is a food and foodie paradise but oftentimes, I have to trek to different places to satisfy either my, or my visitors’ insatiable appetites for all the iconic foods that Ipoh is renowned.

A recent discovery has settled all that for me and I can take my visitors to one restaurant and they can order and try different foods to their heart’s content. And I am not speaking of a coffee shop where diverse stalls ply their specialties. Often, I find myself going to one coffee shop for a particularly famous specialty in one stall but am left high and dry for sampling other dishes because the other stalls are frightfully mediocre in their offerings.

Much to my delight, this is not so at Makan Nyonya, a newly-opened restaurant where the menu is extensive and the quality of each item well above average with some even superlative. Now I am talking about Ipoh’s iconic foods like Curry Mee, Asam Laksa, Lum Meen and Kuih Muih and the list goes on and on. So now I won’t have to run around to different places for different items. It is all under one well decked out roof.

And it all comes out of one kitchen under the watchful eye of Nyonya Chef par excellence, Jason Chai, proprietor and head chef who picked up all his cooking skills at a young age  from his mother. Jason who was working in Singapore, had to come back to Ipoh to take care of his mother when she fell ill and as they say, Singapore’s loss is Ipoh’s gain and with this Ipoh boy come home to roost, we have gained another great eating spot.

We went with our usual troupe from the Echo office and tried as many of the dishes on offer for that day, beginning with Nyonya Vinegar Pig’s Trotters (Tsu Geok Tso) which was beautiful – neither too sweet nor too sour, the trotters braised to a tender and succulent texture and served with fragrant Thai rice and vegetable of the day – RM7.50.

Makan Nyonya IpohNext was their signature Nasi Rendang, fragrant rice coloured with the Bunga Telang or butterfly pea flower extract (which they sell in bottles for tea at home) and served with Chicken Rendang and not one but two sambals, one ikan  bilis and the other nyonya. This was different from the usual Nasi Lemak, both in presentation and taste. Excellent at RM5.

The menu items are almost too many to write in detail here and I will list here some of my favourites. Their Penang Nyonya Hokkien Mee, spicy prawn broth served over a selection of local noodles with prawns, kangkong (water spinach) and bean sprouts and their Nyonya ‘Lam Mee’ aka Penang Birthday Noodle, prawn broth base with Chinese wine served over a selection of local noodles with prawns, ‘Ku Cai’ (Chinese chives) and fat Ipoh bean sprouts. Both RM5.

We had their Laksa, both Asam (good with kembong fish tamarind broth) and Lemak described as Nyonya Laksa Lemak, a coconut milk curry “Hae Bee Hiam” (dried prawn base) broth served over famous Gopeng Rice noodle aka thick version of “Bee Hoon” aka ‘Lai Fun’ RM5.

Makan Nyonya IpohTheir Char Kueh Teow wok fried with prawn oil, Chye Poh (preserved Chinese radish) to perfection and served with prawns, fish cake and large eggs and their signature Power Cili Garam. This had good ‘wok hei’ and well worth the RM5.50.

I spied some ‘Tsong’ (glutinous rice dumplings) at the counter and immediately asked for one. Apparently the type of dumpling changes day by day. On this day, it was the one with ‘mei dao’ or black eyed peas mixed with glutinous rice and stuffed with a generous amount of pork, pork fat and salted egg. Well-seasoned and extremely tasty – RM7.

Makan Nyonya IpohThe pièce de résistance came in the form of a Kuih Muih platter where we could taste one portion of their variety of the day. Ours arrived with Lo Bak Ko (white radish cake), excellent; Rempah Udang (glutinous rice with spicy dried prawn filling wrapped in banana leaf), also superlative; Kuih Talam (coconut cream on top and green glutinous rice below); red bean cake; and a host of other goodies which changes from day to day. These items are ordered separately. And their Bubur chacha is wonderful too!

Makan Nyonya’s menu is inexhaustible. The special items change from day to day and it’s worth going on different days of the week to check out these specials. This will definitely become my ‘flavour of the month’ for the next months to come. And the best part of all, no MSG, the bane of my culinary journey!

Makan Nyonya
#57 Laluan Tasek Timur 3 (behind Tesco Extra in Bercham)
Pusat Perdagangan Tasek Indra, 31400 Ipoh.
Business hours: 7am-3pm Closed Mondays
Tel: Jason 016 597 4848

SeeFoon is Lifted Up Up and Away

My first fish head curry on arriving in Ipoh more than 20 years ago was at the Up and Up restaurant on Jalan Yang Kalsom. Then I used to traipse up the dingy steps or take the rickety lift to the top floor of Wisma Kinta and tuck into my two favourite dishes, the fish head curry and the petai prawns, ignoring all the while the less than salubrious surroundings.

I still do that occasionally now in an ambiance that is a much more appetising one in Ipoh Garden East. Now Up and Up has changed ownership and I was there recently to sample its fare. I have been to the same restaurant under the old management and found myself somewhat disappointed in the quality and so when my friend, lawyer Angie Neoh invited me and my Foodie Kaki Ginla Chew, I was not over-enthusiastic.

To my surprise who should greet me enthusiastically was Andy Boy (Lee Yoke Kai) hairstylist, beautician and tattoo specialist (eyes and lips) extraordinaire who together with his elder sister, has taken ownership and with a new chef, is cooking up a storm.

Boy, I didn’t realise you’re into food,” I exclaimed, “I thought only in beauty and rejuvenation.’ It turns out that he was very much into food, directing his artistic flair into creating exquisite, unusual and delicate drinks and desserts that are pleasing to both the eye and the palate. For example, his dried tangerine skin which he makes himself is a labour of love. Using fresh tangerine skin, he steams, then dries in the sun and repeats the process nine times and then he mixes in liquorice root powder. The resultant drink which he makes with the skin and freshly squeezed lemon was refreshing and cooling.

Let’s go back to the Fish Head Curry, the signature dish that has made Up and Up renowned and the number one go-to choice for many in Ipoh. Here the curry is mild, tangy, neither too sweet nor too sour, laden with ladies fingers and tomatoes; the fish head market-fresh with sweet flesh. Market price.

Andy’s chef is a different chef from the old management. Ah Po as he is called, has a distinctive flair as every dish that we had was superlative. We started with something that in a Nonya restaurant would be called a Ju Hu Char, finely julienned sang kuang or Mexican Yam Bean and carrots stir-fried with fine slivers of dried squid and chicken served with fresh lettuce cups and a lovely chilli paste. RM14 small, RM21 medium, RM28 large.

The combination bitter melon and pumpkin, called in Chinese Seen Fu Hao Teem (meaning bitter first, finishing with sweetness) finger-size chunks coated in batter and salted egg yolk, was succulent inside and delicately crispy on the outside. RM16 small, RM24 medium, large RM32.

They also do a Fried Chicken in the same batter which is tender, succulent and yummilicious – small RM20, medium RM30, large RM40.

This was followed by the Petai Prawns, easily one of the best I’ve ever had; the thick sambal coating fragrant with belacan, the petai firm and the prawns, large, firm and ocean-fresh – RM28 small, RM42 medium, large RM56.

The Si Yow Wong Gai which is chicken chunks dry braised in dark soya sauce with garlic, onions and topped with scallions. The chicken was tender and succulent and cooked to the right degree of doneness. RM16 small, medium RM24, large RM32.

On another occasion I went totally porky. I was told to try the braised Pork Belly with Chinese shiitake mushrooms, which arrived in a thick brown gravy and best eaten with Man Tou (Chinese steamed buns). The pork was tender with the fat quiveringly jelly-like. Heaven in a mouthful. RM30 small, large RM60.

Another pork dish which is one of those ‘die die, must try’ dishes is the Ham Yu Fah Lam Po or Pork Belly with salted fish. Its one of those dishes that you almost have to eat with white rice just to soak up the sauce which is so aromatic and redolent with the salted fish flavours. Small RM18, medium RM27 and large RM36.

For desserts, there are two light specialties of the house. The first is their Tao Fu Fa or soya bean curd, a fairy light curd, smooth as silk and glides down your throat like a cloud of soothing goodness. The serving wooden tub is a delight to behold and the bean curd comes with a choice of two syrups, ginger and gula melaka (small RM8, big RM16).

The next is an ‘Andy Boy’ special, an intriguing golden square of jelly (the collagen is extracted from two hours of stewing fish scales). It is available in two flavours, guai fa (made of kei chi or goji berries and flesh of longan) and lemon (made of lemon, lemon peel, chan pei (tangerine peel)). The guai fa jelly is best eaten on its own just like that while the lemon one is served garnished with  peppermint leaves and lemon slice topped with lemon juice and some salt. Delectable and light – RM4 per slice.

 
Up and Up Restaurant
33 Jalan Medan Ipoh 10
Bandar Bahru Medan Ipoh
31400 Ipoh Perak.
Tel:  05 549 2588
Business hours: 10.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-10.30pm (closed on Tuesdays).