Yes, I managed to conquered the state of Perak last weekend. Okay well, just the towns next to the North-South Highway to be exact. Few of the from Jalan Imbi Chapel were going to Batu Gajah Gospel Hall to help out for their Youth Fellowship and the Sunday School. While they left Kuala Lumpur in the morning, me and Kevin decided to go slightly later at 10am.
After inevitable delays due to oversleeping, last minute stuff, traffic congestions, we finally left KL at about 11:30am. Below is the route of our whole Perak road trip:
Instead of driving straight to Batu Gajah to meet up with the rest, we went all the way up to Ipoh to have our lunch. About 2 1/2 hours, and 20 kilometres away from an absolutely empty petrol tank (we stopped at Slim River as we ain’t have enough gas to last till Tapah, we finally exited at Ipoh Selatan and straight into the city’s notorious traffic jam!
Oh before that, we met a road idiot on the highway. A woman driver driving painstakingly slow on the fast lane, and refused to give way for me to overtake her. And when she pulled alongside my car, this is what we saw:
* can you see what was the driver doing? no wonder so slow la *
I then suddenly thought of Jason the Ipoh Lang, so I immediately called him up and ask for advise and information on how to get to the Kedai Makanan Nam Heong in the old town centre, ASAP! And true enough, he taught me how to avoid the main jam by using smaller roads, and into smaller traffic jams. Kekeke…so after braving through the jam for about 20 minutes, we reached the city centre.
Before making our way to Kedai Makanan Nam Heong, we stopped by at the famous Restoran Aun Kheng Lim to buy their much-acclaimed Salted Chicken (RM16.00). Surprisingly, getting a parking was a breeze. Got a spot right next to the shop but of course I jad to pay RM0.30 for 30 minutes.
The first sight that greeted me was a elderly woman sitting at the sidewalk, folding countless boxes for the salted chicken. Family devotion, or exploitation of cheap labor?
Some of my friends warned me that I might have to call and pre-order or get there earlier to avoid disappointment, but when I got there, I was the only customer. In less than 3 minutes, I was out of the shop with a box of fantastic salted chicken.
Quickly drove to the other side of Sungai Kinta as we were running late, and thank God we managed to find a parking easily again.
There are four restaurants on both side of the street known as Jalan Bandar Timah. On the right, you have the Restoran Sin Yoon Loong, famous for their white coffee, and the lesser known Restoran Sun Yuan Foong. And on the other side, you have Kafe Mo Mo and my favourite Kedai Makanan Nam Heong.
Kedai Makanan Nam Heong has become my favourite kopitiam in this part of Ipoh because of the variety types of food at offer here, rather than just white coffee and some light snacks.
The restaurant was still packed even though it was about 2:30pm when we got there. So we did have to wait for about 5 minutes before getting a table. And without having to think, we ordered two glasses of Iced White Coffee (RM1.80). Well I am not a true coffee aficionados but I really like the white coffee here. It was smooth, aromatic and perfect for a hot afternoon in this warm country.
Actually the very reason I came to this Nam Heong is to have a bowl or two of the super yummy Kuey Teow Soup (Ipoh Hor Fun) here. First tasted it when I was here last year, and it has been my benchmark for Ipoh Hor Fun ever since. But to my horror, the stall owner told me it was sold out!
Feeling extremely disappointed, and reluctantly accepting the reality, both me and Kevin ordered the Penang Char Koay Teow (how ironic, eating Penang food in Ipoh) instead. Yet another disappointment as the Char Koay Teow tasted pretty mediocre. I am sure I can find better CKT even in Kuala Lumpur.
But just like many of my eating experiences recently, I managed to find a saving grace. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Nam Heong Dim Sum stall, a recently discovered gem in Ipoh, at least to me lah.
As I didn’t want to eat too much before going to Batu Gajah later, I ordered a basket of Siew Mai (RM.260), a Chicken Su or Kai Sou in Cantonese (RM1.30), and an Egg Tart (RM1.30) as well. The Siew Mai looked good, and much to my relief tasted pretty good too. It was of decent size, with some caviar fish roes nicely sprinkled on top.
Meanwhile the egg tart tasted quite ordinary, and not as good as Tong Kee’s in KL. But the real find of the day has got to be the Chicken Su (Kai Sou) or Chinese chicken pie. It looks pretty common, not unlike those Chinese pastry you can get at any dim sum places. But one bite into it, you know you have something special in your hand (or mouth to be exact). The outside is so perfectly crispy, not too crispy to make it crumbles easily. The filling inside is similar to Char Siew Bao (roasted pork bun). It is simply delicious trust me.
In fact, we love it so much we even bought 10 (buy 10 get 2 free) more to Batu Gajah for our friends, and of course for ourselves as well lah. The 12 Chicken Su‘s were packed nicely into two nicely designed boxes.
Also had a short conversation with the friendly lady boss of this dim sum stall. She told me many people come here daily to tah pau (take away) their chicken pies and egg tarts. They are open from 8am in the morning till 4pm, but the chicken pies might run out earlier.
We left Ipoh very happily indeed after the satisfying lunch (not because of the CKT for sure). Definitely worth the extra drive and going through the congestions. And after getting directions from the dim sum stall employees and from policemen that we stopped half way, we were on our way to the little lovely town of Batu Gajah. Stay tuned folks!
Kedai Makanan Nam Heong
Address: Jalan Bandar Timah,
30000 Ipoh, Perak.
Telephone: 016-505 2768
* click to enlarge map *