We went on a road trip last Friday. Wuan had to clear her annual leave. So we decided to do some travelling up north. First stop was Ipoh where we spent the night. A trip to this former tin mining city is never complete without a hearty lunch at Restoran Wong Koh Kee. This popular restaurant is tucked along the narrow Lorong Panglima at Ipoh old town where Chinese tin tycoons used to house their mistresses. I have put up an entry about Restoran Wong Koh Kee last year. I love the food there so much that I feel it warrants another entry in this blog.
Sam wong tan – steamed fresh chicken eggs, salted duck eggs and century eggs.
We went with Wuan’s parents, Florina and Sam (Wuan’s sister and brother in law). We ordered two of my favourite dishes, which are also the restaurant’s signature dishes, are “ching sam wong tan” and “sai yong choi siu yuk chau ma lai chan”. The other dishes were stir fried bean sprouts with anchovies and “hung siu chu sau man hum choi” (braised marinated pig trotter with salted vegetables).
Stir fried watercress in belacan.
“Ching sam wong tan” literally means steamed three yolk egg. Fresh chicken eggs (kai tan), salted duck eggs (hum tan), century eggs (pei tan) were steamed together with minced pork. Soya sauce was added just before serving. This dish was perfectly done, like always. It had a smooth custard-like texture. The minced pork and chopped pieces of century eggs provided contrast and taste. As a kid, I liked to mash them together with rice. I still do it now.
Stir fried beansprout with anchovies.
“Sai yong choi siu yuk chau ma lai chan” is watercress and roast pork stir fried in belacan (shrimp cake). Belacan gave it a salty and pungent aroma. Only tender watercress stalks were used. Otherwise, it would have been fibrous and chewy. This dish is usually fried with beef slices. We do not eat beef and subsituted it roast pork instead. It tasted just as good.
Braised deep fried pig trotter with salted vegetables.
I do not know how much the final bill came to. It was Florina and Sam’s treat. Thanks, you two! Nevertheless, the price of food here is reasonable. That is the other reason why I like eat here. The menu is quite extensive. But they are written in Chinese. The son of the restaurant’s founder is running the place now. He will usually recommend some of the popular dishes. The next trip to Ipoh will definitely be Restoran Wong Koh Kee again and most probably the same few dishes. It may sound boring but my taste buds are not complaining yet.
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.
Tags: braised pig trotter, Concubine Lane, eating out Ipoh, home-cooked style dishes, Ipoh Old Town, Lorong Panglima, Restoran Wong Koh Kee, steamed eggs, stir-fried bean sprouts, stir-fried watercress, Yee Lai Hong