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.
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.
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.
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.