Tuesday, August 29, 2017

[Malaysia 2017] 2 Days 1 Night In Ipoh!



Photo By: Elin Chow

Early last month, my husband planned another family weekend trip to Ipoh right after our recent trip to Cameron Highlands. Ipoh is a food haven for many food lovers, located about 3 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. You will find food at every street and corner, so we actually have difficulty deciding what to eat in Ipoh. We were spoilt for choice!

Sin Yoon Loong Coffee Shop

After a 3 hours drive, we finally arrived in Ipoh, heading straight to Sin Yoon Loong Coffee Shop for breakfast.

Sin Yoon Loong Coffee Shop is traditional Hainanese coffee shop established since 1937. The coffee shop is well known for their Ipoh white coffee, but they do serve quality hot and cold beverages, toasts and other local delights as well.

We arrived around 10 am and the shop was already packed with locals, who will flock here every morning for their white coffee and toasts.

Half Boiled Eggs

Toast with Kaya


We ordered half boiled eggs with toasts. This is always my favorite kind of breakfast. The Hainanese white bread loaf are sliced thinly, toasted till slightly charred on the surface before spreading a layer of kaya and butter.

Dan Chi

I also ordered Dan Chi to try. Basically, this is just buttered toasts topped with melty egg yolks. Something like Egg Benedict. It was nice, but I still prefer Egg Benedict.


Of course, we have to try out their famous white coffee too. Since I do not drink coffee at all, I could not comment much on the taste. But I think it should not be bad.

Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village

After breakfast, we headed to Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village.


Sandwiched between two famous caves, Sam Poh Tong and Kek Lok Tong in Gunang Rapat, about 20 minutes from Ipoh town, Qing Xin Ling is one of the popular tourist attraction in Ipoh.



Qing Xin Ling means Serene Hill in English. With Limestone hills surrounding a picturesque green lake, I feel as though I was somewhere in China, and indeed, this place has been nicknamed as "Little Guilin" by many.


The entrance fee is RM 10 per person, which is a little pricey. Getting the ticket is a hassle, which requires one to drive to a nearby shop to purchase.



There were lots of bicycles, tricycles and rickshaws provided free for visitors to use. But walking is still the best way to explore the Qing Xin Lin because once you leave the vehicles unattended, anyone can come along and take it for a spin.


Dotted all around the park are traditional wooden building painted in bold colors and a series of 2D and 3D murals that will bring you back to the good olden days. There are a few pavilions where you can sit and take in the view.



Qing Xin Ling is truly a hidden gem in Ipoh that not many people know about. I mean WOW. This was certainly the one of the most beautiful lake I have ever seen so far in my life. I did not expect that I will find such beautiful place in Malaysia!



A 3 metres high God of Prosperity standing majestically under a wishing tree dotted with red ribbon strips, each marked with a wish, a dream or prayer from visitors. To make a wish, one has to throw a ribbon knotted with a coin onto the tree.



We paid RM 3 for a ribbon and wrote our names on it before tossing it as high as we could, wishing for prosperity and happiness. Behind the wishing tree, there is a food court, where stalls offer various favorite local eats. But none of the stalls were opened on the day we visited.


All around the Qing Xin Ling, you will find various photo booths and props, offering plenty of unique photo opportunities with items dating back to the 70s. Do not forget to bring along your camera or else, you might regret.



My favorite will be the Justice Bao's booth with a fake guillotine, a device used for carrying out executions.




There are not much activities to do except relaxing and taking photo. The minute you arrive at Qing Xin Ling, you will get a feeling of peaceful tranquility. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy being surrounded by nature. 



Making our way around the lake, we arrived at low-roofed limestone enclave that houses a mini museum, showcasing an impressive antique collections, including vintage automobiles.



We made our way up to the back of the hill, which leads to narrow path lined with small wooden stalls with thatched roofs. Here you will find a wonderful collection of antiques that will bring back memories of your childhood.


Overall experience at Qing Xin Ling was a little messy and confusing, but nevertheless, fun and interesting. I suggest allocating at least 2 hours for your visit in order to fully explore the place.

Choong Kee Big Tree Yong Tau Foo 

Leaving Qing Xin Ling Leisure & Cultural Village, we headed to Choong Kee Big Tree Yong Tau Foo located in Pasir Panji for lunch.


Choong Kee Big Tree Yong Tau Foo used to operate underneath a gigantic tree, hence its name. It has shifted to a covered food court next to the tree, so you do not have to worry about the sun or rain. The food court is spacious with plenty of seating. Other than Choong Kee Big Tree Yong Tau Foo, there are several other stalls offering a variety of hawker fare at an affordable price.



Choong Kee offers a selection of fried Yong Tau Foo, priced about RM 0.95 each. That was really cheap! Basically, you have to pick your Yong Tau Foo pieces you want from the various trays and choose your choice of noodles. There are plain noodles soup, Assam Laksa and curry noodles.

Some of the trays were already empty when we arrived, but they were being refilled quickly. All the Yong Tau Foo are prepared fresh everyday and fried right on the spot to ensure they remain crunchy and are served piping hot.



Service is fast and you will be spoilt for choice. But the taste is nothing impressive. I still prefer the usual Yong Tau Foo soup that you will find everywhere than the fried ones. But they do taste great with their specially made chill sauce. 

Asam Laksa
My husband and mother-in-law ordered Asam Laksa too. According to them, the Asam Laksa was really tasty. I could not comment much  because I did not taste this.

Watermelon Juice

Ming Yue Confectionery

After lunch, we walked to Ming Yue Confectionery to buy some chinese pastries.


Ming Yue Confectionery is located within walking distance from Choong Kee Big Tree Yong Tau Foo. The shop is a household name in Ipoh, well known for its range of traditional chinese pastries.



All pastries are baked fresh daily, so you can ensure its freshness and quality. 

Salted Egg Yolk Pastry & Kaya Puff


I especially love their mini sized Salted Egg Yolk Pastry. This delicious pastry is filled with lotus paste filling and salted egg yolk. It is not too sweet and the crust is very crisp and fragrant.

Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites
Official Website: Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites

We checked in a standard room at Kinta Riverfront Hotel & Suites, a 4-star hotel located centrally within Ipoh's commercial Hub, directly opposite Kinta River. The hotel offers 410 hotel rooms and suites, ranging from stylish standard rooms to luxurious presidential suite in order to cater different needs and budgets.


Parking is free for all hotel guests. There are ample of parking spaces at the hotel, so for those who drive, you do not need to worry about where to park your car.


The door opens to a small entryway leading directly into the sleeping area, and to the left, the bathroom. Modernly furnished, our standard room features a king sized bed with 32 inch flat screen TV with Astro satellite channels, as well as free WiFi.



Featuring ceiling to floor windows, the room offers a panoramic view of the city.


The room is equipped with a large built in wardrobe offering plenty of storage space. Inside the wardrobe, you will find a mini safe box and ironing facilities.


Basic coffee and tea making facilities are provided in the room, as well as complimentary two bottles mineral water.


The room also comes with a large working desk - great for those who have some work to catch.


Basic toiletries such as cotton buds, shower cap, body lotion and disposable toothbrush and toothpaste are provided in the bathroom. Soap and shampoo are provided as well.

Tuck Kee Restaurant 

After settling down, we decided to visit the famous Tuck Kee Restaurant for dinner.


Established since 1963, Tuck Kee has been operating for more than 50 years. Tuck Kee is famous for their fried noodle dishes, and claims to serve the best Wan Tan Hor (wet fried noodles) in Ipoh.


The restaurant is located at Jalan Yau Tet Shin, along the same row with the famous Lou Wong Bean Sprouts Chicken. There is another restaurant named Sun Tuck Kee (or New Tuck Kee) located just a door away from Tuck Kee serving similar choice of dish. We chose to visit Tuck Kee instead of Sun Tuck Kee because it is the original and authentic one.

There are many shops and eateries located around the area and parking spaces are very limited. We have drive around the area twice or thrice before finding a parking space there. As a result, many people usually park their cars along the road, often causing traffic congestion.


Due to its long history, the restaurant is very popular among the local residents. We reached the restaurant at around 6.30 pm and was surprised to see that it was already packed with people. Finding a seat is not easy, but luckily a family was nearly done when we arrived so we do not have to wait too long to be seated.

Baby Octopus in Soy Sauce


The baby octopus are blanched, drizzled in fried garlic oil and garnished with spring onions. It is served with a specially made chili sauce. This is one of the highly recommended dishes at Tuck Kee. The baby octopus were very tender and full of flavour. A definite must order!

Bean Sprouts

Ipoh is famous for its bean sprouts. Unlike the normal bean sprouts that you will find in KL, Ipoh's bean sprouts are thicker, juicer and much more crunchy. They are a delight to eat!

Yu Kong Hor


Yu Kong Hor means Moonlight River in English. This is basically golden brown fried rice noodles topped with a raw egg. The noodles resembles a shimmering river while the egg represent the full moon shining upon the river. You will have mix the egg and fried noodles fast while it is still hot. The heat will cook the egg and make the noodles silky smooth.

I am a huge fan of Yu Kong Hor. Yu Kong Hor is Tuck Kee's signature dish. The texture is very tender and smooth, but unfortunately, it was not as delicious as we expected. We have tasted much more better ones in Kuala Lumpur, so we were not very impressed. Even so, it was still good and definitely worth a try.

Braised Yee Mee


The braised Yee Mee noodles was nicely cooked and full of flavors. It was delicious, but not particularly impressive.

Tong Sui Kai

After dinner, we went to Tong Sui Kai for dessert.



Tong Sui Kai means dessert street in English. This is one of the most happening eating places after sunset in Ipoh. The entire street comes alive from 5.00 pm till way past midnight.


The street is lined with over 50 street food stalls, offering a great variety of street food options. Most of the stalls sell desserts, hence the name. Prices are cheap, thus it is a great spot to gather for late night supper.


We decided to eat at stall 27 and 28 due to the recommendations 

Ais Kacang

We ordered Ais Kacang. This is basically just shaved ice with red bean, sweet corn, grass jelly and topped with a scope of vanilla ice cream.

Boiled Cockles

Boiled cockles are my husband's favorite, but I hate it. We actually regretted eating too much for dinner. There were so many delicious food at Tong Sui Kai that we would like to try. But unfortunately, we were too full to try any of them.

The Concubine Lane



We checked out of the hotel the next morning and headed to the Concubine Lane, better known as Yi Lai Hong in Cantonese or  Lorong Panglima in Malay. Established in 1908, the narrow lane is filled with colonial-style terraced buildings.


The Concubine Lane used to be a residential area where many rich chinese magnate and British officers kept their concubines and mistresses in the townhouses. Other than that, it is also infamous for its opium dens, gambling shops and prostitution. However, the area is abandoned after the British left in 1957.


Over the years, the government has been putting in efforts to restore the area, transforming it into a tourist hotspot. All the buildings have been repaired the cleaned, with a few selected ones been preserved in their rustic state.

The lane is packed with visitors during the weekends and public holidays. You might want to visit on a weekday if you want to avoid the crowds. Lining both side of the narrow lanes are little stalls selling various snacks and souvenirs. Walking through the stretch of old buildings brings back memories of old Ipoh.

Ding Feng Tau Fu Fa



While strolling down the lane, we decided to visit Ding Feng Tau Fu Fa to have beancurd pudding. The shop is very small with very limited seats.

I ordered original beancurd pudding with ginger syrup. The beancurd pudding is silky smooth and melts easily in your mouth. But unfortunately, it was too sweet for my liking. Other than beancurd pudding, I also ordered soy milk, which was a little diluted. But luckily, it was not sweet. I added the soy milk into the bowl of beancurd pudding. They are perfect match.

Kong Heng Coffee Shop

Leaving the Concubine Lane, we headed to Kong Heng Coffee Shop, located opposite the road of Concubine Lane, beside Thean Chun Restoran for lunch.

The coffee shop is popular among locals and can be very busy and crowded during lunch time. It is not easy to get a table, so be prepared to stand and wait for a while to get seated.

Duck Egg Char Kway Teow

We decided to try out their Char Kway Teow. Char Kway Teow is stir-fried rice noodles, which is a national favorite in Malaysia and Singapore. You can choose to have it cooked with chicken egg and duck egg. We chose duck egg because we have never eaten Char Kway Teow with duck egg before.

The rice noodles were smooth and well-cooked. The bean sprouts were plump while the cockles were large and juicy. The duck egg adds richness and creaminess to the noodles.

Popiah


We also ordered Popiah, a type of spring roll filled with shredded vegetables and meat. The skin is thin with generous filling and served with a specially made chili sauce.

Bean Sprouts


Besides beansprouts, Ipoh is also famous for their chicken rice.  So we decided to order some chicken and bean sprouts to try. But unfortunately, the taste of the chicken was nothing spectacular.

Curry Chee Cheong Fun


Curry Chee Cheong Fun, or steamed rice noodle rolls, is a favorite breakfast dish for Malaysians and Singaporeans. But I did not like this one because the rice noodle rolls are paired with pig skin slices and drenched in curry broth.

After lunch, we set off for home. With its old charming buildings and authentic local street food, Ipoh is a great weekend getaway destination for anyone who love food and nature. It is a city that is not just about good food, but also rich cultural heritage and history.

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