Penang Banana Leaf Char Koay Teow In Ipoh

Wuan had been telling me about how delicious the hawker food is at Restoran New Hollywood in Canning Garden. We passed it many times too on our way to Ipoh Old Town for lunch but have never stopped there for meals. This typical Chinese kopitiam is located along Jalan Lee Kwee Foh. It was only on last Tuesday that we finally dropped in for breakfast. Since we had a lunch appointment with her parents later, Wuan and I decided to share a plate of char koay teow. The signboard above the stall says Penang Banana Leaf Char Koay Teow.

Penang Banana Leaf Char Koay Teow, Restoran New Hollywood, Canning Garden, Ipoh
Penang Banana Leaf Char Koay Teow.
Restoran New Hollywood, Canning Garden, Ipoh.
GPS: N04 36.131 E101 06.564

Wuan paid RM3.30 when our order arrived. It came with vinegared chilli sauce by the side and had the usual ingredients of bean sprouts, cockles and prawns but no chives or sliced lap cheong (Chinese waxed sausage). I am a “mai hum mai koo chai” (no cockles no chives) char koay teow lover. It did not matter to me whether it had chives or not but I would have preferred a few slices of lap cheong to vary the taste. Wuan on the other hand loves si hum in her char koay teow which she happily picked off from the plate. Contrary to the stall’s sign, there was no banana leaf lining the plate. I felt cheated.

My disappointment immediately disappeared when I chewed into my first mouthful. It tasted good although a little on the salty side. The aroma was what I would expect from a good plate of char koay teow. There was no raw smell from the bean sprouts, evidence that it was stir-fried in a well-heated wok. The lumps of egg that stuck to the koay teow made it taste even better.

I did not find any bak eu pok (crispy pork lard) as I picked through the dish. I asked Wuan. It was only then that she told me the food in the kopitiam is pork free. No wonder there were no lap cheong slices as well. This shows that one can cook a good plate of char koay teow without pork lard. It is more important that the sauces are correctly blended and the koay teow stir-fried in a well-heated wok.

I could not get used to having vinegared chilli sauce with my char koay teow. Good thing that it was poured onto the side and not the top. I did not stir it in. That aside, I will definitely drop by again to savour another plate of this halal char koay teow and the other hawker fare in the kopitiam that I have yet to try.

Restoran Wong Koh Kee – Delicious Home-Cooked Style Dishes In Ipoh

Restoran Wong Koh Kee, Lorong Panglima, Ipoh
Restoran Wong Koh Kee, Lorong Panglima, Ipoh.
GPS: N4 35.778 E101 04.684
Photo by Wuan.

The first taste of Ipoh food that I remembered to this day is at a restaurant tucked in an nondescript lane in the Old Town called Lorong Panglima. Restoran Wong Koh Kee may look like any other Chinese restaurants but this is where the similarities end. The dishes that they proffer are commonly served in Chinese households but they are delicious. The lunch time queues outside the shop is testament to that.

Restoran Wong Koh Kee sam wong tan - steamed chicken egg, century egg and salted duck egg
Steamed eggs.

Lorong Panglima is also known in Cantonese as “Yee Lai Hong” meaning Concubine Lane. This unsavoury name came about a long time ago when Ipoh was a boom town awashed with rich towkays who made their fortune from tin mining industry. These rich men would then keep a mistress or two and put them up at the two rows of houses in this infamous place.

Restoran Wong Koh Kee sai yong choi chau siu yuk - stir-fried watercress with roasted pork
Stir-fried watercress with roasted pork in belacan.

I still remember vividly the three dishes that Wuan ordered at the restaurant for Peter, Mum and me at Wong Koh Kee many years ago. They were nga choy chau hum yee (stir-fried bean sprouts with anchovies), sai yong choy chau ngau yuk (stir-fried watercress with beef slices in belacan) and sam wong tan (steamed chicken egg, century egg and salted egg). Since then, whenever Wuan and I were in Ipoh, we would make it a point to drop by for lunch.

Restoran Wong Koh Kee yau cheong chee sau - braised pig trotter in preserved soya bean gravy
Braised pig trotter in preserved soya bean gravy.

Our trip to Penang via Ipoh last Sunday was no different. We had lunch with Wuan’s parents at the restaurant. The first dish we ordered was sam wong tan. It was nicely steamed and smooth in the mouth. As I no longer eat beef, the second dish we ordered was sai yong choy chau siu yuk (stir-fried watercress with roasted pork in belacan) instead. The watercress was tender. We had yau cheong chee sau (braised pig trotter in preserved soya bean gravy) for the third dish. The pork was tender and the gravy delicious. The bill came to RM29, rice and Chinese tea included – a very reasonable price for a hearty meal for four. Restoran Wong Koh Kee is the place to go in Ipoh Old Town for some delicious home-cooked style dishes. Highly recommended.