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.

 

Best Kai Si Hor Fun in Ipoh @ Yinzo Kopi

Yinzo Kopi also have some new dishes on the menu like the traditional Hakka “Lei Cha” and traditional Hakka Tofu made by their own chef and one of the best Kai Si Hor Fun (Chicken Soup Noodle) in town!

Arguably the Best KSHF in Ipoh

In the 16 Jul 2019 issue, IE308, I wrote about Yinzo Kopi that newly-refurbished cafe right in the heart of old town. At the time, I thought some of their offerings were brilliant and some hit and miss. However, William Oh, manager and partner, takes feedback very well and I am happy to report that all my comments on previous occasions on some of the items have all been taken to heart and the dishes modified.

They also have some new dishes on the menu like the traditional Hakka “Lei Cha” and traditional Hakka Tofu made by their own chef!

Available every Tuesdays, Fridays and on every 1st and 15th day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar, each serving is priced at “Lei Cha” RM13.80; Hakka Tofu RM3.80 (2 pcs); set of both RM16.80. Great for sharing or if a big eater, hog it all for yourself. The portions are BIG, the herbal tea soup umami and fragrant and the mix of ingredients freshly prepared.

And they have expanded their dim sum menu with new additions like Dried Prawn Pastry (3 pcs RM4.80) and a yummilicious Polo Pau, fragrant, pillow-soft and enveloping a big slab of butter. This had me asking for more and my dear readers know that I don’t have a sweet tooth! RM3.80.

Also Osmanthus Jelly, RM4.80, is available on Saturdays and Longan Soya Bean Curd, RM4.80, available on Sundays.

Best Kai Si Hor Fun in Ipoh

But I’m saving the biggest surprise for last. From now on, I will only go there for their Kai Si Hor Fun (KSHF), Ipoh’s iconic dish of rice noodles in soup. Depending on individual taste buds of course, for my palate, their KSHF is now edging out the front runners Moon de Moon and Pulau Sembilan. Here you sit in air-conditioned comfort and leisurely sip their home blend of local white coffee, pick at a dim sum or two and wait for the KSHF to arrive (which is pretty quickly), as you eat the noodles and slurp the broth. This latter is the magic to their KSHF. Simmered for a minimum of six hours, the broth is out of this world umami with no MSG, RM8.80.

And no waiting for tables or queuing up (although parking is rather difficult around there, take a Grab).

If still hankering for more, check out the Mizo Pork Rice. Well marinated pork slices, tender and well-coated with Mizo, served with white rice and mustard, RM13.80.

So William Oh, keep up the quality and don’t let Ipohites down! People will start complaining to me if you do.

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