Help the Small Businesses: Stone Pot Kitchen

SeeFoon gets a brain tune-up 

Finding fresh pig’s brain is almost a rare occurrence these days. Most of the younger folk are squeamish about it and it’s only oldies like myself and some of my friends who appreciate its taste and texture which is like soft Tofu when cooked. 

Pig’s brain

So when I found out Stone Pot Kitchen had brains on the menu, I went with alacrity to eat a delicacy whose taste memory has been relegated to the recesses of my mind. RM18 (order at least a day in advance). 

I grew up with the Chinese belief that eating organ meat helps the particular organ in one’s body and therefore Pig’s brains are highly prized. So I did some research: 

According to Medical News Today brain meat contains omega 3 fatty acids and nutrients. The latter include phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine, which are good for the nervous system. The antioxidants obtained by eating brain meat are also helpful in protecting the human brain and spinal cord from damage.

Organ meats are sometimes referred to as “super foods” because they are dense sources of vitamins and nutrients, including: vitamin B, iron, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. 

And there are organ meats galore on Stone Pot Kitchen’s menu. Items like Duck Tongue (very hard to come by); Duck’s blood; Duck intestines; Chicken kidneys; chicken testicles (rare!!); pig’s tripe—altogether 9 items of offal on the menu, not to mention a very unusual item, Yoke Ngan Gun or pork fillet tendon. 

As its name implies, Stone Pot Kitchen serves all its soups in large stone pots imported from China, which boils fast and keeps its warmth well and very evenly. They are touted to bring out the flavours of the various ingredients.

Aside from the stone pots, the main attraction of this restaurant is its soup base: Pure coconut water. Huge piles of young coconuts in the back testify to the freshness and purity of this “soup” base. 

Studies show that  coconut water acts as a digestive. It helps in quick digestion and prevents bloating after meals. Regular consumption of coconut water also helps in maintaining the electrolyte balance in your body and thus, keeps your blood pressure under control. It is also brimming with potassium and magnesium, acting as a natural sports drink. It is a brilliant idea to use it as a soup base.

There are 13 soup bases to choose from, 6 of which use coconut water. The rest are made with chicken stock. Our group had the Chicken with coconut water base (RM49). Herbs are added to the raw chicken in the stone pot, then followed by the coconut water. This is then brought to a rolling boil, and once it can be turned down to slowly simmer, it is time to eat the chicken pieces first before adding in other ingredients.

The soup can be topped-up regularly as it cooks down, and if the coconut water becomes concentrated and may become too sweet, ask for the chicken soup top-up which is what I did. 

The usual ingredients are available including Iberico pork, Wagyu beef slices and seafood, though these must be pre-ordered before your visit as Stone Pot Kitchen only serves them fresh. 

On the daily menu, on the other hand, the list is endless with many health-giving dried mushrooms (12 types). The most interesting part of this is their homegrown mushrooms with a good range of different types to choose from. These are grown in the shop and range in colour from woodsy to yellow and pink. Presently blooming are their Oyster mushrooms, with the common Abalone mushroom being the cheapest (RM12), followed by the yellow variety at RM20 and the rarer and more delicate pink variety at RM22. 

Common abalone mushroom (RM12)
Pleurotus citrinopileatus (RM20)
Pleurotus djamor (RM22)

Vegetables are also abundantly (25 items) on offer, ranging from RM5-RM7 with the most expensive being Asparagus at RM10 and Crystalline iceplant at RM12.

Handmade meatballs

The handmade meatballs were tasty at RM12 for 8 pieces. But my favourite was the Handmade Pork paste which came on a plate topped with a raw egg. Water chestnuts, wood ear fungus and scallion livened up the delicious meat mixture with crunch. RM12 and a must have.

Handmade pork paste

More prepared pastes, this time the minced prawn, came in delicate bamboo holders which you then scoop into the broth, spoon by spoon. RM15 for two bamboo ladles-full. 

The handmade dumplings were large and flavourful at RM10 for 6 pieces, and by this time after adding in the mixture of vegetables we were stuffed to the gills.

Handmade dumplings

I must also commend them on their sauces on offer. A homemade chilli sauce is served for every person but there is also a combination which you can mix yourself. 3 small tubs of minced chillies; chopped kencur or Sah Geong (sand ginger), an aromatic ginger belonging to the Galangal family; and a full tub of Calamansi or Limau Kasturi are provided for you to make a sauce to your taste with the soya sauce. I loved the inclusion of the kencur which is not sufficiently appreciated here and not used as often as the other gingers. There is also a sweet and sour mustard sauce for those looking for less heat. 

I will definitely be back for more especially now that their mushrooms are blooming. This is definitely a first for a restaurant in Ipoh. Fresh off the “mother” (whatever is the name of the medium on which they grow), these mushrooms have to be better than the store bought variety and I want to taste them. The mushrooms were not blooming when I was there last.

 

Address:
8 Jalan Seenivasagam, 30450 Ipoh, Perak

Business hours:
11am-11pm, opens daily
Takeaways available

For inquiries and reservations:
017-3280782 | 012-4678999

SeeFoon wonders if Hou Mei would taste as sweet

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

The above quote from Shakespeare had me wondering firstly, if the food at Hou Mei (good taste in Cantonese) would taste as good if it was named differently and secondly, if the food served would live up to its name.

I was not disappointed. The formula here at this simple steamboat restaurant would taste as good no matter what you call it and also, the food served here certainly lives up to its name.

As readers of my column are aware, I am physically averse to MSG and any excess bloats me up and my legs look like elephant trunks the next morning. Steamboat restaurants are notorious for their copious use of MSG particularly in their soups and in some of the sauces. I went to Hou Mei expecting to have the same reaction after the meal but to my delight, the next morning, my ankles and legs remained normal.

The reason I was wary about my MSG reaction was because the broths were so extremely tasty, which raised my suspicions immediately and the next morning, my only regret was not to have had another bowl of the broth.

Hou Mei Wo offers you a choice of three types of broth, the Special Pork Bone Soup – RM12.90, the Salted Vegetable (Harm Choy) soup – RM15.90 or the Tom Yum Soup – RM15.90. I chose to mix both the Salted Vegetable with the Tom Yum which came in one pot but in separate compartments.


The Salted Vegetable broth came with a huge pork knuckle bone which we removed as it took up way too much space in the pot. The stock was umami and actually ready to be slurped up on its own with some of the salted mustard greens but patience prevailed as we waited for the plates of food to arrive.

I ordered only the ‘homemade’ dishes plus a mixture of regular vegetables like Tong Ho (edible chrysanthemum leaf) – RM5.90 and Choy Sum (Chinese flowering cabbage) – RM4.90 and our group of four proceeded to cook the rest of the food in our broth of choice.

They offer a super value steamboat for RM78.80 which is enough for 4 people but I went a la carte and picked and peeked through all the offerings. All the usual platters are there, fish balls, fish slices, fish noodles, fish rolls, crab sticks, meat balls but as I wanted to sample their homemade specials I chose a sampling of their homemade meat pastes. The squid paste at RM12.90Prawn Paste at RM13.90 and their Fresh paste which is a combination of fish and pork paste at RM12.90 all fluffed up when put into the broth. Served in small black melamine ‘shovels’ the presentation was eye-catching and the taste appealing.


The Hou Mei Pork Paste came with a raw egg on top and we were told to mix the meat with the egg and put them into the broth in dollops. Yummilicious at RM8.90. We chose the fried handmade dumplings (they also have them plain) which were crispy on the outside with a tasty filling – RM8.90.

We then ordered the four meat platter consisting of chicken, New Zealand lamb, pork belly and Australia striploin slices. Served with a raw egg into which we’re admonished to dip our meat, the platter was just right for the four of us – RM23.90.

What caps the meal at Hou Mei are their sauces. Laid out at the entrance to the restaurant, diners make their own selection, mix and stir, or take back five separate plates like I did and dip to your heart’s content. Usually steamboat places disappoint me when it comes to the sauces…usually straight off the supermarket shelf and not very exciting, at Hou Mei, the sauces were exciting. A sambal belacan sauce with palpable dried prawn bits was gutsy and gets your taste buds salivating. A Thai-style ‘nam chim’ sauce with hints of limau kasturi (local small limes) and coriander (yeem sai) was titillating and their regular chilli sauce (also homemade) was tangy with hints of lime and of course, there is the de rigueur soya sauce and cut chillies.

 

Hou Mei Wo Steamboat (opposite Festival Walk)
11 Jalan Medan Ipoh 1, Bandar Baru Medan, Ipoh.
Tel: 605 545 4191
Menglembu Branch
81 Lengkuk Desa Rishah 1, Desa Rishah, Ipoh.
Tel: 605 281 3380
Business Hours: Mon-Sun 5pm-12 midnight.