Pictures by Gisele Soo
SeeFoon treats herself to charred and sticky sweet perfection.
Char Siew literally means “fork roasted” (siu being burn/roast and cha being fork), named after the traditional cooking method for the dish where long strips of seasoned boneless pork are skewered with long forks and placed in a covered oven or over a fire.
Cantonese in origin, the pork meat is marinated and then roasted in the oven to a charred and sticky sweet perfection.
It’s ubiquitous in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, where Cantonese cuisine predominates and here in Ipoh, where our cuisine is more eclectic, it’s quite rare to find a restaurant dedicated to roast meats.
Uncle Long is one of them.
Opened barely a year ago, this restaurant in Ipoh Garden South already has quite a following, judging from the queue at lunchtime waiting to “tapau” (takeaway).
Uncle Long also sells roast duck and chicken, as well as their own Siew Cheong (sausage) and roast pork, all home roasted by the proprietor Ray Lim Tze Kee who has a long history as a chef, doing just this: Chinese roasting.
The signature here is the Char Siew, so popular that he sells up to 30kg a day!
I am fussy about my Char Siew. Not for me the lean and dry slices you often get in noodle soups or curry mee. Those are for people obsessed with their cholesterol or weight.
Give me a Char Siew with a proportion of 40:60 of fat to meat, oozing oil from its glistening sides, the honey or maltose glaze charred in sections, and the marinade flavors shimmering on my tongue.
This is the Char Siew at Uncle Long.
The rest of the roast meats pale in comparison but nevertheless make for good companions to the star dish.
The Roast Pork had the requisite crispy skin and went well with their homemade chilli sauce that was tart, not too sweet (perfect for my non-sweet tooth) and spicy, ameliorating the high fat mouthfeel of the pork. A perfect match. RM7.50 for 100g, RM37.50 for 0.5kg, RM75 for 1kg.
The Roast Duck (RM13-50 depending on portion size) and Roast Chicken (RM10-36 depending on portion size) were moist and the soya sauce eggs (RM3 for 2 pieces) as a side order were great with both the duck sauce and the sauce on the plate.
To go with all the roasted goodies, we had a choice of rice or noodles and we ordered one of each. The rice was fluffy and flavoured exactly the way a chicken rice should be: umami and fragrant. RM0.70 for small; RM1.30 for large. My noodles came as a surprise. It was the broad wonton noodle which I miss and often look for but alas seldom available. Here it was in front of me, al dente, coated in sauce and paired perfectly with the delectable Char Siew. RM1.50 as an add-on.
They also sell a bottled chilli sauce (RM13) manufactured from a personal recipe with no sugar, no preservatives and no MSG, but alas they were out of stock on the day we were there.
While waiting for our food to arrive, we snacked on their “Suin Choy” (braised mustard greens), tart and tangy with quite a kick to it. RM5(S); RM8(L).
We also had their Acar which was a special of the day.
15, Lebuh Taman Ipoh, Taman Ipoh Selatan, 31400 Ipoh, Perak
10am-6pm daily, but will close if meat is sold out earlier
Closed on the first to third days of the Chinese New Year (Chor 1-3)
Delivery available through Foodpanda and GrabFood